Flaxseeds, also known as linseeds are tiny little seeds that are bursting with nutritional health benefits. You can eat them whole (like the ones pictured) or milled and finely ground. I personally love flaxseed both ways. I find the seeds are great for adding a crunch to salads and yogurt, whilst the milled flaxseed is perfect for adding to smoothies and porridge. The seeds have a slightly nutty, earthy taste and have recently become readily available at most UK supermarkets and all good health stores. So, what’s so great about them?
Health benefits of Flaxseed
Flaxseeds are the richest vegetarian source of Omega 3 fatty acids. Particularly Alpha-Linolenic Acid, an essential fatty acid that isn’t produced by our body so we really need to include it in our diet. The Omega 3 fatty acid group is known for the prevention of heart disease and has anti-inflammatory properties that could benefit diabetes and arthritis. High claims for a small seed.
On to the next benefit, how do I put this? Flaxseeds help you poo. OK, I probably shouldn’t have put it like that! What I’m trying to say is that flaxseeds help to reduce bloating, improve digestion and prevent constipation. They increase the water & bulk content in your, erm, poo to help shift things along nicely. If you’ve ever experienced bloating, a sluggish digestion or constipation then you’ll know how uncomfortable it can feel!
Flaxseeds are a high source of gluten and wheat free fibre. They are a great way of hitting your daily recommended fibre intake, which the average person struggles to hit. Start off with a teaspoon a day & build up to 1-2 tablespoons. Starting with too much too soon can lead to a bit of discomfort, so be patient and start small.
Because of the high fibre content in flaxseeds, you need to make sure you increase your water intake when eating flaxseeds. This just ensures everything flows correctly so is pretty important!
A good way to get the best from the nutrients of flaxseeds is to activate them. To do this, simply soak the seeds in a glass of water overnight, then drain the water away the next day and eat the seeds.
Make sure you never cook flaxseeds as heat makes them unstable!
Do you eat flaxseeds? What is your favourite way to eat them? Are you tempted to include flaxseeds in your diet?