By Christine Dailey
You've probably heard of these seeds as a healthy smoothie add on – but why are they all the rage? Flaxseed, or flax, is commonly used to improve digestive health and to get things moving. However, there are many benefits to these little seeds, which can be easily added to snacks and meals.
Flaxseeds are high in fiber, providing five grams per tablespoon. Given that most Americans don’t get enough fiber in their diet, flax is a perfect solution. They’re also rich in heart-healthy Omega 3 fatty acids, another health essential Americans fall short on. Fiber plays an important role in digestion and your bowels, while Omega-3s are essential to our body’s anti-inflammatory system.
According to Registered Dietician Shelby Keys, flaxseeds may also help lower total blood cholesterol and, therefore, reduce risk of heart disease as the fiber binds the cholesterol and removes it. Lastly, flax can also reduce the risk of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men. Flax contains lignans, which alter the way your body metabolizes estrogens into safer forms, thus reducing these cancer risks.
How do you eat flax?
It’s easy to incorporate flaxseed into your diet: You can buy it in bulk (either ground or whole) in many grocery and health food stores. You can also use flaxseed oil. Whichever form it’s in, it can be add into smoothies, yogurt or oatmeal in the morning, or you can blend it into your favorite cookie or muffin recipes. Dieticians recommend one to two tablespoons of flaxseed per day, but you should gradually add it to your diet to let your body adjust.
Already incorporating flaxseed in your diet? Comment below and share your favorite recipes.