The facts on flax

Written by amy on January 11th, 2012

   Adding some to flax to your diet can be a great way to boost your omega-3 fatty acid intake.  Why is boosting your omega-3 fatty acid intake a good idea?  Omega-3 fatty acids fall into the category of “good” fats and a diet high in omega-3s has been linked to a lower risk for heart disease and possibly cancer. Flax can be used in the diet in either seed, meal, or oil form; the use and benefits will vary slightly depending on form chosen.

Seed:  When eaten as intact seeds, flaxseed largely pass through the GI tract undigested and serves more as a source of dietary fiber than omega-3s.  This is a different benefit to flaxseed but a benefit nonetheless.  Adding seeds to baked goods, oatmeal, or cooked vegetables are easy ways to incorporate them into your diet.

Meal:  When the seeds are ground into a meal, some of the fiber content is lost but this processing allows for the omega-3s to be available for absorption. Thus, flax in this form provides some fiber and some omega-3 benefits.   Flaxseed meal can be used as an egg replacement in baked goods.  To replace one whole egg,  mix 1 Tbsp meal with 3 Tbsp warm water.  Allow the mixture to sit for ten minutes to thicken slightly before use in the recipe.

Oil: In this form, all of the fiber has been removed and the oil is primarily a source of fatty acids.  Never cook with flaxseed oil; add the oil after foods have been heated or in cold dishes, such salad dressings.  Flaxseed oil can also be added to smoothies.

 

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