When we realized that my chronic pain was somewhat tied to my diet, the first thing we did was to make the needed changes in our diet. Not only did we start eating much better, but I also made a point of adding things that we had never had before to our diets. Flaxseed was one of those things. It is a healthy fat that comes from flax fiber crops and provides not only healthy fat, but protein, fiber and more. They’re extremely versatile too. You can use them in smoothies, salads or simply munch on them as a snack like I often do. They are eaten like sunflower seeds and have a rich, buttery sort of flavor.
For a lot of people, flaxseed and chia seeds seem to be relegated to the “crunchy” category and I don’t mean how they feel in your mouth. While they’ve just started to regain their popularity in the last few years, the flax plant and its seeds go back to Ancient Egypt. Fibers made flax were considered to be of the highest quality and often worn by Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs. In Ancient Rome, the seeds were considered a snack like we often use them for. Needless to say? If our ancient ancestors realized their value? We should as well.
Why Your Diet Should Include Flaxseed
The great thing about flaxseed is that it really isn’t expensive at all. I personally buy Bob’s Red Mill Flaxseed. It’s budget (Six Dollar Family) friendly and the quality can’t be beat. I add around 1 tablespoon to salads, smoothies or anything else I can sneak it into without my family noticing too much. You know how kids and husbands can be sometimes. If it’s healthy? They want nothing to do with it. It has so many health benefits that I just have to sneak them in!
- They help provide your body with essential nutrients: Your body needs certain nutrients to survive and more often than not, these nutrients aren’t found in most diets around the world. Flaxseed provides Omega-3s essential for brain growth and development; fiber essential for digestive health; protein essential for healthy muscles; vitamin B is essential for energy and immune health; iron essential for blood production; potassium essential for proper heart health; and other various nutrients such as manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium.
- They help with weight loss: Because these tiny little seeds are packed full of essential nutrients, healthy fat and fiber, you feel full longer after consuming it. This prevents overeating and consuming unhealthy alternatives. It also helps your body to slow down the absorption of carbs turning into sugar, which can store in your fat cells. Instead of storing more carbs than your body needs, you are able to use the carbs to provide your body with the energy it needs to function.
- Flaxseed lowers cholesterol: Because of the amount of fiber they contain, your digestive system is able to trap fat and bad cholesterol so it doesn’t get absorbed. Digestive health is the key to absorbing what your body needs and getting rid of what it doesn’t need.
- They are often seen as a better alternative: Because flaxseed is gluten free, it is a great alternative for those suffering from Celiac disease or other allergies. With high Omega 3 nutrients, flaxseed can also be used as an alternative to fish or sea food.
- Flaxseed protects against cancer: Cancer is wreaking havoc on millions of people, but because of its high omega 3 fatty acids, it has been shown to help inhibit tumor growth. It has also been found effective to help prevent colon cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer.
- They can be added (or hidden) easily: Because flaxseed is essentially flavorless (aside from that mild buttery flavor), it can be added to a multitude of recipes. Flaxseed can be added to baking recipes instead of flour or wheat. Sprinkle it on sandwiches, in smoothies, on soups, on salads, or egg dishes to add more nutritional value to your meal.
- Flaxseed fights depression and anxiety: Many people don’t know that their mood can be triggered by the nutrients they absorb or don’t absorb. Flaxseed is full of Omega 3s and vitamin Bs that both increase mood and raise serotonin levels. Serotonin levels directly relate to anxiety and depression. Adding flax to your diet, combined with nuts like whole cashews has actually be shown to provide the same amount of anti-depressant properties that Prozac does.
- Flaxseed helps regulate blood sugar: Whether you have low blood sugar or high blood sugar, the magnesium in flaxseed aids in regulated blood sugar and helping moderate insulin. The fiber helps to slow down the absorption of carbs into sugar which helps prevent blood sugar swings. As I said in my post, “How I’m treating chronic pain and Diabetes naturally,” when I needed to regulate mine, flax was the first diet change we made.
Flaxseed is a great way to get all your nutrients into one meal. Instead of spending countless hours trying to conjure up just the right ingredients for each meal, start adding flaxseed to your food, drinks, and recipes. Adding flaxseed will make a happier, healthier you as well as help prevent common ailments from coming your way.