Flaxseed may be small, but it's one of the most powerful superfoods to add to your diet. You might have heard that flaxseed is "healthy," but do you know all of its exciting health benefits?
Learn more about the many ways flaxseed is beneficial for your body and how you can easily incorporate it into your diet.
Health Benefits of Flaxseed
Flaxseed, often described as a nutritional powerhouse, is a natural way to help support a well-rounded and healthy diet.
High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
One of the most well-known nutritional benefits of flaxseed is its omega-3 fatty acid profile. Flaxseed is high in a specific type of omega-3 fatty acid known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA plays an important role in the functioning of cell membranes throughout the body. However, our bodies do not naturally produce ALA, so it's important to get adequate levels from the food we eat.
Omega-3 fatty acids such as ALA have been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as help inflammatory conditions by lowering an inflammatory marker known as C-Reactive Protein (CRP). Just one tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains 1.6 grams of ALA! This is enough to meet your entire day's dietary allowance based on RDA guidelines. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for alpha-linolenic acid is between 1.1 and 1.6 grams per day.
Consuming flaxseed can help you achieve your daily fiber requirements. Just one tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains 2 grams of fiber. This is about 5%–8% of the recommended daily intake of fiber. The soluble fiber contained in flaxseed can help improve blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol. Meanwhile, the insoluble fiber in flaxseed can promote regular bowel movements and manage constipation.
Flaxseed can also be a helpful tool for individuals seeking to lose weight. Some studies suggest that consuming fiber, such as flaxseed can increase feelings of fullness and slow down the digestion progress. As such, this may help individuals lose weight by managing hunger.
In a meta-analysis of several studies, research suggested that flaxseed supplementation was correlated with lower body weight.
Other Health Benefits of Flaxseed
In addition to these three major health benefits, flaxseed has so much more to offer! For instance, it may also help protect against cancer and lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Furthermore, flaxseed contains dozens of essential nutrients that help your body function optimally, such as zinc, copper, and manganese.
How to Incorporate Flaxseed into Your Meals
Are you ready to start taking advantage of the awesome health benefits of flaxseed but not sure how? Below are a few easy ways to use flaxseed in your everyday meals.
• Drizzle flaxseed oil on a salad instead of standard salad dressing
• Add ground flaxseed meal to your morning smoothie or post-workout drink
• Mix ground flaxseed and fruit into Greek yogurt
• Sprinkle ground flaxseed into oatmeal or cereal
• Make flaxseed muffins or other baked goods
These are just a few of the endless creative ways you can use flaxseed in your diet. A simple Pinterest or Google search for flaxseed recipes lends itself to dozens of ideas to help spark your imagination!
3 Tips to Incorporate Flaxseed Into Your Diet
Perhaps one of the most attractive benefits of mighty flaxseed is how versatile it is. Because flaxseed comes in various forms, such as flaxseed oil and ground flaxseed meal, you can easily add it to your diet in various ways.
1. Use Ground Flaxseed Instead of Whole
When purchasing flaxseed at your local health food or grocery store, look for ground flaxseed. Ground flaxseed is more digestible than whole flaxseed and easier to use in recipes. Of course, if you have a coffee grinder or food processor, you can grind flaxseed yourself, but if you're short on time, already-ground flaxseed is the way to go.
2. Monitor Your Flaxseed Consumption
Incorporating the appropriate amount of flaxseed into your diet will help you take advantage of the health benefits without any side effects. In general, 1–2 tablespoons of flaxseed per day is a good target. Consuming too much flaxseed can lead to digestive upset. If you've never consumed flaxseed before, it may be helpful to slowly and gradually increase your daily intake over time until you reach the optimal amount.
3. Try Adding Flaxseed to Water
Another way to consume flaxseed is simply to add it to water. Start by mixing one teaspoon of flaxseed into a large cup of water (hot or cold). For an extra immune boost and enhanced flavor, add a squeeze of lemon. This flaxseed "drink" ensures you consume your flaxseed daily, even if you don't have a way to incorporate it into a snack or a meal.
Improving Your Health with Flaxseed
Incorporating flaxseed into your meals and snacks is an easy way to help support good health. Consuming flaxseed in some form daily can ensure you get enough fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, two essential components of good health. Additionally, ingesting flaxseed may also support your weight loss journey.
Give these tiny, nutrient-dense seeds a chance to see what you're missing! Also, check out the recipes on Active Fit+ to help you on your health journey.