Q: What is the deal with Flax?
A: Cool fact: Flax seed comes from this really pretty baby blue plant!
So flax is rich in both fiber and lignans, but it’s most well known for having the plant form of omega-3 fatty acids called ALA. After you eat flax, this ALA is converted in your bod to the two other Omega-3s (good stuff!!) found in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, lake trout, or albacore tuna.
Omega 3′s have a gazillion health benefits including:
- Lowering LDL cholesterol and triglycerides (the bad guys you want less of) and raising HDL cholesterol (the good guys you want more of)
- Preventing and controlling high blood pressure
- Reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke, symptoms of hypertension, depression, ADHD
- Improving skin, hair, and nails
- Reducing inflammation for joint pain and rheumatoid problems… among many others.
So should you buy it?
Flax is a great addition to your diet, especially if you can’t or don’t eat fish due to dietary restrictions. But you do have to consume more flax to get the same benefits you would from fish oil.
Something to be wary of: WHOLE flax seeds are undigestible by humans. Many products (Like Kashi Go Lean Crunch! Honey Almond Flax, below) a have flax – but it’s not delivering any of the benefits to your hot bod if it’s not digestible. It has to be ground or in the oil form. And, if you buy it in ground or oil form, it has to be stored in a cool dark place, otherwise it can go rancid quickly which would be a total waste of your moolah.
My advice to you: buy whole seeds and a coffee grinder and grind em yourself as needed. They’ll last longest this way. Then toss a tablespoon into yogurt, oatmeal, pancake/muffin batter, smoothies, etc.
If you’re into the oil (a more concentrated source than the seeds), try drizzling it on a salad in place of olive oil or in fresh fruit smoothies.
There are some cereals, oatmeal and pasta products (like Hodgeson Mills Spirals) with ground/milled flax – so read the labels!