Get Friendly with Flax

What is a superfood, really? Sprung from the same minds that brought us “all-natural” and “eco-friendly,” it’s not a term so much backed by science, but by feelings. As most of us are looking to buy foods to keep us and our families healthy, it makes sense we would seek out the most nutritional bang for our buck. But let’s look past the marketing and dive deeper into humble flaxseed, a time-tested health food beloved through many generations and cultures.

What’s in it?
Often touted as a nutritional savior, flaxseed contains omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, two nutrients we are famous for neglecting in our diets.

Why is it Good?
Omega-3 fatty acids are the good fats—people often think of fish as another great source. They help lower your cholesterol, reduce inflammation, and potentially reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Fiber is all about that digestive tract. Those desperate for some constipation relief often turn to more potent sources of fiber, and flaxseed does that and more—also keeping you feeling full for longer.

Where Do I Start?
Flaxseed can be a little finicky, but it’s worth it. Grind or crush it to reap the most of its nutritional rewards, or purchase it already ground as flaxseed meal. The very small downside? After flaxseed is ground it should be refrigerated in an airtight, non-transparent container so it doesn’t oxidize or spoil.

Where Do I Use it?
Everywhere! No, seriously.

  • Sprinkle some on a morning oatmeal, smoothie, or yogurt.
  • Drop a teaspoonful in a salad or rice bowl.
  • Bake it into your muffins, cookies, and other treats.

There are no specific recommendations for flaxseed intake yet, but one to two tablespoons a day is considered a healthy amount.

While there’s nothing new about favoring flaxseed—ancient civilizations around the globe both ate and spun flaxseed into textiles, using it for everything from rope to clothing—its longevity in human diets might say a little something about its place in our diets. In moderation, of course.

Add a Little Flax to Your Diet

Spectrum Essentials Cold Milled Organic Ground Premium Flax Seed, $10.99 available at CVS.
Natures Path Flax Plus Mulitbran Flakes, $4.99, available at Whole Foods Market.
Bob’s Red Mill Whole Golden Flaxseed $2.99 available at Thrive Market.
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