Flaxseed. That cute little tiny seed that you see in health food stores, on blog posts as Vegan egg substitute, and on Instagram smoothie pictures. Flaxseed, Flax meal, Golden Flax. What exactly is flax, and why is it all the rage?
The Latin name for flax is Linum Usitatissimum, which means “most useful”. It is a food and fiber crop with a beautiful five petal pale blue flower. The fruit of the crop is a dry capsule which contains the seeds.
Used for centuries for medicinal reasons, as a nutritional supplement, and even as a textile (linen!). Dating back as far as 30,000 years; flax fibers that were spun, dyed, and knotted were found in a cave in (present day) Republic of Georgia.
In ancient Egypt, flax was cultivated extensively. Fun Fact! Flax was considered a symbol of purity, therefore Egyptian priests wore only linen. Temple walls were covered in flax flower paintings and mummies were entombed in linen.
Flaxseeds occur in two basic colors : brown and golden. Most types of these two varieties carry similar nutritional value and equal members of omega-3 fatty acid. Flax meal is simply ground flaxseed.
Flaxseed contains 27 anti-cancer compounds including fiber, pectin, vitamin E, magnesium, and sitosterol. It is an excellent source of lignans which, when converted in the gut to phytosterols, deactivate potent estrogens and testosterones that contribute to cancer growth.
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, flax has a soothing, anti-inflammatory effect. (Bauman, 2017)
1 tablespoon of flax contains:
Protein: 1.3 grams
Carbs: 2 grams
Fiber: 1.9 grams
Total fat: 3 grams
Saturated fat: 0.3 grams
Monounsaturated fat: 0.5 grams
Polyunsaturated fat: 2.0 grams
•Flax benefits the heart, arteries, skin, hair & brain function.
•It’s great for the gut (especially constipation)
•If grinding, use immediately!
•Never heat flax oil
•Always refrigerate (whole, ground, & oil)
I have always been a fan of flaxseed, but it wasn’t until I learned about just what type of benefits 1 TBSP of this miracle seed contains that I came obsessed. I now put it in everything; my smoothies, my salads, egg scramble (to go along with my actual eggs), soups..you name it, you can use it!
What’s your favorite way to incorporate flax into your diet? If it’s not yet a daily staple in your house, hopefully I have now convinced you to think otherwise!