Get in those Omega 3 fatty acids! Just like chia seeds, flaxseeds are a good source of Alpha Linolenic Acid. The anti-inflammatory compounds in flaxseeds have been shown to be particularly helpful for irritated skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and dermatitis. Read more about the benefits of Omega 3’s here.
Get a little dose of magnesium. Many people I’ve worked with have diets that are chronically low in this mineral. Magnesium is important for good nerve and muscle health.
Increase your daily fiber intake. Two tablespoons of ground flax meal contains 4 grams of fiber. Read more about the importance of adequate fiber intake here.
Get things moving. Flaxseeds have been shown to relieve constipation in several clinical trials. However keep in mind that adequate hydration is the first step towards a successful bowel movement!
Tips for storing and using flaxseeds:
If you want to digest them, you’ve got to grind them! Eating a flaxseed whole doesn’t do you any good, because it’ll just pass right through you (if you catch my drift). The sturdy hull of a flaxseed is too tough for our digestive tract to break down. Flaxseeds have to be ground into flax meal in a spice grinder in order to be digested. You can buy flax meal already ground, but it’s more expensive and spoils much faster (see below).
Store these guys in the freezer. The Omega 3-rich oil in flaxseeds causes them to spoil pretty quickly. If you store them in the freezer they’ll last for months.
Works well as a culinary binder. Flax meal turns thick and gooey when combined with warm water. This can act as an egg substitute in baked goods or as a general thickener in other recipes. I’ve used flax meal to make cookies, brown sushi rice, meat loaf, and other good eats. It’s also tasty when combined with steel cut oats for breakfast.
There are two popular varieties of flaxseed: brown and golden. Both have very similar nutritional properties, but the brown variety has a slightly more pronounced flavor. Sometimes the golden variety is more expensive. You can find flaxseeds at your local health food or specialty store, sometimes even in the bulk section!