Fiber, Antioxidants and Omega-3 Fatty Acids, All in One Little Seed
Ground flax seeds contain nutrients and fiber good for anyone who worries about developing heart disease or cancer, and also for those concerned about intestinal health.
There are several types of nutrients that flax seeds contain. Those who promote their use also claim several other benefits that have not necessarily been proven by science. The best way to get these nutrients is to grind them before they are added to food.
Nutritional Benefits of Flax Seed
These are just some of the proven dietary benefits from eating flax seeds:
Heart Healthy:There are 1.6 grams of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acid in just one tablespoon of ground flax seed, according to Katherine Zeratsky, nutritionist with the Mayo Clinic. Omega-3 fatty acids lowers LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol, and may also help lower blood pressure and blood triglyceride levels.
Digestive Health: The high fiber content in ground flax seed or flax seed meal relieves constipation and is good for overall digestive health. Research indicates flax seed may also help those who suffer from diabetes and Crohn’s disease or colitis. Participants in a study conducted by the University of Toronto had 28% lower blood sugar levels an hour after they ate compared to a test group who ate regular bread. The oil contained in flax seed is thought to have a healing effect on inflamed intestinal lining.
Antioxidants: Flax seeds contain an antioxidant called lignan, a type of phytoestrogen that helps the body fight diseases such as cancer. Antioxidants are found in several foods such as berries and nuts. Flax seed is an easy way to add these healthy substances to the diet.
Other Benefits of Flax Seed
Those who promote flax seed claim it gives those who eat it more energy and induces a calming mood. It may also help regulate the level of blood sugar and help reduce inflammation caused by arthritis and similar conditions. There is also purported to be a benefit to the immune system and the body’s metabolism.
Ways to Use Flax Seed
Flax seed can be found in many prepared baked goods, cereals and other products. However, the nutritional benefits are negligible if the seeds are not ground. The human digestive system is unable to break down whole flax seeds, which pass through undigested.
Grinding them is the way to release the many nutritional benefits so they can be absorbed by the body. Once ground, the resulting flax seed meal can be added to many baked goods and other foods to provide added nutrition.
Flax Seed, One of Nature’s Super Foods
Because of all these benefits, flax seed should be in almost everyone’s diet, instead of being relegated to the health food stores. It is so easy to add to such a wide variety of food, making it a recommended staple for everyone’s pantry.