You’ve heard us say it before, healthy living starts in the kitchen.  Many people find that cooking can be somewhat bland when first starting out, however, that need not be the case!  Through this series, discover how to make cooking fun and healthy. This week we discuss everything you want to know about flaxseed!

Flaxseed 101

In the quest for more dietary fiber, flax has gained popularity. You have likely come across flaxseeds in some form another. Flaxseeds (also known as linseed) are small gold, tan, or brown colored seeds that come from the common flax plant. Compared to other herbs/grains we’ve talked about, flaxseed has gained a lot of notoriety as a health food. Its packaging label will likely highlight health claims such as “high omega-3” and “high fiber.” But do these claims hold their weight?

Where does flax come from? Where can I find it?

Flaxseed is one of the oldest known cultivated crops. It dates back as far as 5000 years and its Latin name, Linum usitatissimum, means “very useful.” Flaxseed was introduced to the US by early colonists, and was used to make paper, fabric, and clothing. Flaxseed was also used to feed livestock due to its health boosting properties.

Today, flaxseed is easily found in almost every major grocery chain. You’ll find it either as whole seed or pre-ground. It used to be thought that once the seeds were ground they needed to be consumed quickly so the oils inside would not go rancid. Research has shown that once ground, flaxseed is shelf-stable at room temperature for up to 10 months without loss of omega-3 or ALA content. Though it is still best to keep it cool and away from light.1

How does flax help my health?

Because of its high omega-3 content, flaxseed is great at tackling inflammation-based conditions.2 Due to its high lignan and fiber content it is great for constipation, can lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease, and possibly even has cancer protective properties.3

What medical conditions/symptoms is flax good for?

Let’s try it out with a delicious and nutritious recipe!

Banana Almond Flaxseed Smoothie

INGREDIENTS

1 medium frozen banana
2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 1/2 tablespoons almond butter
1 tablespoon flaxseed
1 teaspoon honey
1 drop almond extract
4 ice cubes (optional)

PREPARATION

Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Thank you to Cooking Classy for this great recipe!