By: Nikki Nies
So flaxseed went through it’s fair share of hot item advertising and it’s proven to not only be a hot ticket item, but it’s worth among health professionals. My mentor, Nicole Hallissey, RD recommends it to a lot of clients and she uses it frequently herself. I’ve honestly never used it myself, but from a health professional standpoint, I was interested to see what the benefits and history of flaxseed are.
To start, let me explain the backstory of flaxseed. This seed derives from Babylonian times as far back as 3000 B.C.
In the 8th century, King Charlemagne believed so strongly in the health benefits of flaxseed that he passed laws requiring his subjects to consume it
The two most common types of flaxseed are golden and brown flax. The difference between the two kinds of flaxs is in one aspect of the composition, however, it’s hard to track it down exactly.
- Found in many sources of food—everything from smoothies, ice cream, bread, muffins, cereal, waffles and/or oatmeal
- Feed all those chickens that are laying eggs with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids
- Source of energy producing vitamin B1
- Contains free radical scavenging manganese
- Great source of vitamin E, which is a lipid soluable antioxidant
- Rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, like oleic acid
- Source of magnesium, phosphorus and copper
- Healthy components:
- Lignans: contain estrogen and antoxidants; can reduce inflammation;
- Fiber: insoluable and soluable
- Omega 3 fatty acids: promotes heart healthy; every 1 tablespoon contains 1.8 g of omega 3 fatty acids; considered good fatsGealthy components
- Can reduce risk of cancer and heart disease
- Great “mucilage” content: can provide special support to the intestinal tract
- Helps delay digestive emptying
- Steady passage of foods throughout intestines
- High antioxident content
- Versatile “condiment”—can be sprinkled on, added in and/or thrown in
So add this great food to your grocery list and be on the look out for it when you’re at your local supermarket. However, those that are pregnant, breastfeeding and/or have kidney problems should refrain from consuming flaxseed as research studies are concurrently inconclusive on the impact on these populations. Also, some have complained of flatulence and bloating in regards to consumption. Consuming 1-2 tablespoons daily is highly recommended.
Using the website listed below, there’s some great tips on what to be on the look out in regards to flaxseed and the difference between what’s provided in varying mediums.
Fun fact: Globally, flax seed is commonly referred as “linseed” because of its common occurrence in sails, bowstrings and body armor.