The Big Secret of a Small Seed: 4 Ways to Use Flax Seeds Deliciously for Iron Health

Flaxseed is a superfood for a penny. Each seed contains a treasure trove of useful microelements.

There have been so many superfoods of all stripes and flavors lately that you begin to doubt their effectiveness – they all promise instant health improvement without much effort, but have many pitfalls. Then you should look towards flax seeds.

Brown seeds store a whole treasure trove of nutrients under their hard shell. You just need to know how to get the most out of flaxseeds. Besides, they may not be as harmless as they seem at first glance.

Glavred will tell you why you should eat flaxseeds, how to do it with the greatest benefit, and when to stop eating the superfood.

What are the benefits of flaxseed?

5 reasons to consume 10 g (a tablespoon) of flaxseed daily.

  1. Flaxseed is a record holder among plant-based products for the content of fatty acids – Omega-3 and alpha-linolenic (ALA), which strengthen the heart muscles and are used in the prevention of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. A teaspoon (2.5 g) of ground flax contains up to 700 mg of healthy fatty acids.
  2. Regular consumption of flax seeds reduces the level of “bad” cholesterol in the body – ALA-acid and fiber, which are abundant in superfoods, cleanse blood vessels from deposits and prevent the formation of fatty plaques.
  3. Unpleasant sensations and breast pain during PMS, which many women experience, can be reduced by regular consumption of flaxseeds – usually, the result becomes noticeable after 2 months of daily consumption of 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds.
  4. Flaxseed is often prescribed for gastritis and peptic ulcers due to its high astringency.
  5. The fifth reason has not yet been fully studied, but it already shows a positive result: lignans (antioxidants rich in flaxseed) increased the level of protection of mice that regularly consumed it from radiation, unlike their relatives who were not fed the superfood. For obvious reasons, such experiments are rarely conducted, and never on humans. Nevertheless, the result is fascinating. There are 800 times more lignans in flax seeds than in any other product. This does not mean that eating a superfood will give you immunity to radiation and make you superhuman, but flax can be a useful prevention tool.

Flax seeds – how to take them?

Despite the fact that flaxseed has long earned the fame of a superfood, it is still approached with great caution – inconspicuous seeds look tough and do not inspire confidence.

But don’t be fooled by the appearance of the seeds. If taken properly and regularly, they can be of good service. To do this, you should follow two main rules:

  1. It is best to eat crushed roasted seeds. This way they are better digested. In addition, some scientists suggest that raw or unripe seeds do more harm than good.
  2. Flax seeds should be eaten with plenty of water or any other liquid. Due to the strong astringent properties of flaxseed, its tandem with a small amount of liquid can lead to abdominal discomfort, bloating, or even constipation.

Of course, flax can be taken by simply eating it with a spoon from a bag (you can buy ready-made powder or grind the seeds yourself in a coffee grinder). Or you can introduce a food supplement into your daily diet to maximize the flavor and benefits. For example:

  1. Prepare a nutritious cocktail: use 1-2 teaspoons of ground flaxseed for 200 ml of warm water. Mix thoroughly and let it brew for 7-10 minutes under the lid. For taste, you can add any sweetener you like or do without it.
  2. Add ground seeds to your morning meal – oatmeal, any other cereal, or flakes. You can also mix them into yogurt (thick or drinking) or other fermented dairy products that you prefer.
  3. Ground flaxseed can be used as an additive in the dough for homemade bread or in minced meat before cooking cutlets, meatballs, etc. The nutrients contained in the seeds are not afraid of heat treatment.
  4. Prepare flaxseed jelly. No need to cook anything! For 2 cups of boiling water – 3-5 teaspoons of ground flax. Mix thoroughly and leave for 8 hours (you can leave it overnight and enjoy the result in the morning). When the jelly is ready, strain it from the remaining seeds (an optional procedure) and take half a glass twice a day half an hour before meals.

Flax seeds: contraindications

Flax is tempting in its ease of use and abundance of nutrients. However, it is undesirable for certain categories of people:

  • Women during pregnancy and breastfeeding – it is not yet known for certain how flax seeds, or rather the phytoestrogens contained in them, affect the fetus and milk
  • For people who regularly suffer from constipation and bloating – flax can worsen the intestinal obstruction
  • Only after consulting a doctor is it recommended to use flaxseeds for those who have problems with blood clotting. The same category includes people who regularly use blood thinners.
  • Flaxseed lowers blood sugar levels, so diabetics should be careful about including it in their diet.
  • Hypotensive patients should also be more careful about eating flax seeds because of their ability to lower blood pressure.

The side effects of excessive consumption of a superfood with the unassuming name “flaxseed” are poorly understood. Scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture claim that an overdose of flaxseed is possible only in cases where the seeds in one form or another make up more than 12% of the total daily human diet. In this case, the side effects will resemble a common stomach upset (nausea, diarrhea, bloating, and flatulence), and they should be treated symptomatically.

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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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