October 6, 2020
Flax is a plant that produces both seeds and oil that are useful in disease prevention and the promotion of healing. Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil both contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which converts to omega-3 fatty acids in the body. Flax is also full of fiber, making it an effective laxative.
Why are omega-3 fatty acids important?
Omega-3 fatty acids help to keep the brain, nervous system, and membranes functioning normally. These essential fats must be obtained through food sources and provide a number of benefits to our bodies, such as:
What about the fiber in flax?
Flaxseed contains soluble fiber, like that found in oat bran, and is an effective laxative. Flaxseed is also made up of lignans, which are polyphenols found in plants. Functioning as an antioxidant, lignans may help destroy harmful reactive substances in the body. Lignans are also important because the body converts them to substances that may inhibit tumor growth.
How much flaxseed is recommended?
Who should NOT consume flaxseed?
Where can you buy flax and how do you store it?
Flaxseed and flaxseed oil can be found in most grocery and health food stores. Often found in the health food or organic aisle of a supermarket, flaxseed is available as whole seeds, ground seeds, and oil. In addition, flax meal and flax flour, which both contain ground flaxseed, are available in some locations. Whole flaxseeds pass through intestines undigested, so if flax is purchased in this form, be sure to grind the seeds before consuming or using them in a recipe in order to receive the full health benefits. Since flaxseed oil does not contain fiber or lignans, using the ground flaxseed will prove more beneficial.
Often packaged in small vacuum-sealed bags, whole flaxseeds will generally last 10-12 months, while ground flax will last only about 4 months. While it is not necessary to refrigerate or freeze flaxseed, some people choose to do so. Flaxseed oil, on the other hand, should be kept in the refrigerator and should be purchased in opaque bottles.
Tips for including flaxseed in your diet