What’s the superfood that people on a low-carb diet know all about? Flax seed! After all, these little seeds are low in carbs and contain plenty of fiber to keep you full.
Flax seed are a great storage food and have a shelf life of at least 1-2 years if kept in a cool, dry place out of sunlight. Once flax seed is ground, its shelf life shortens and it should be refrigerated.
Although the popularity of flax seed has increased recently, they’re nothing new.
In fact, they were cultivated as early as 3000 BC in Babylon. And King Charlemagne passed laws in the 8th century requiring his subjects to consume flax seed. Now, 13 centuries later, science has finally caught up with what Charlemagne suspected.
Flax Seed Protects Against Disease
If you aren’t eating ground flax seed, now is the time to start. New studies show that flax seed may protect against diseases such as:
One in three American adults has high blood pressure, according to the National Institutes of Health, and high blood pressure is a contributing factor in heart disease and stroke. But one study (in the journal Hypertension) showed that consuming at least one ounce of ground flax seed a day may lower your blood pressure.
The study included 110 people who were assigned to one of two groups: a flax seed group or a comparison group. People in the flax seed group ate food that contained 30 grams – about one ounce — of milled flax seed every day for six months. Those in the comparison group were given similar foods but no flax seed.
After six months of eating ground flax seed, people who initially had high systolic blood pressure saw it drop by 15 mm Hg. And their diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) also fell by 7 mm Hg. Blood pressure did not change among people with hypertension in the comparison group.
Flax seed has lignans which may help prevent cancer. According to a recent study published in 2013, a diet rich in flax seed decreased the risk of primary breast cancer by 18 percent and lowered mortality among breast cancer patients by 32 percent.
But flax prevents more than breast cancer. Another study published in the journal Urology showed that men who eat flax may have a lower risk of getting prostate cancer. In this study, rats that ate flax seed had lower tumor biomarkers than those who weren’t given flax seed. In other words, eating flax seed can help stop the growth of tumors.
Flax seed is a low-glycemic food that can stabilize blood sugar and control cravings. After we eat, our body produces insulin to help keep blood sugar levels under control. When you eat a candy bar or white bread, your blood sugar will spike quickly and soon crash.
But after you eat flax seed, your blood sugar levels will rise slowly and then remain stable for a longer period of time. This makes it an ideal food for diabetics.
Adding flax seed to your diet is easy and also very economical. After all, it only costs less than $5 for a pound. And it’s a powerful step to take to help stabilize blood sugars, which will help to fight or prevent diabetes.
Think of flax seed as armor for your brain! The B vitamins — such as folate that is found in flax seed — are essential to the chemical messengers in your brain that allow neurons (brain cells) to communicate with each other. According to a study in Australia, a diet high in vitamin B6 and folate improved mental function.
And flax seed also contains manganese, a trace mineral that helps synthesize fatty acids critical to healthy brain function. Studies show it also helps form the powerful antioxidants inside your cells, where it protects against oxidative damage. Additionally, magnesium helps support brain metabolism. Another study found that magnesium helps the elderly improve their cognitive function. Two tablespoons of flax seed contains more than 30 percent of your recommended daily intake (RDI) for manganese and more than 17 percent of your RDI for magnesium.
If you buy whole flax seeds, make sure you grind them up before eating them to get all the nutritional benefits. A coffee grinder works great for grinding. And keep flax seed in the refrigerator to prevent it from turning rancid and to extend shelf life. Add to yogurt, baked goods and hot cereal daily. Your body will thank you!
Do you eat flax seeds? If so, have you seen any improvements in your health? Write your response in the section below: