Up until two years ago I had not heard of flaxseed, but the benefits of flax seed as a health food have been known for centuries. Did you know that back in the eight century, King Charlemagne thought flax was so essential to health that he wrote a series of laws requiring his subjects to consume a certain amount each year.
Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil are one of the best sources of omega-3, also called Alpha-linolenic acid or ALA, on the planet. What is so great about Omega-3 fatty acid’s? Well, for starters a diet rich in Omega 3 can protect against Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis, lower triglycerides while increasing HDL (good cholesterol) and lower blood pressure. Also, ALA is considered essential because our bodies cannot produce it, it must be obtained from the diet.
As good as that sounds, the benefits of flaxseeds are not just limited to the Omega-3’s, they also contain lignans which protect against hormone-sensitive cancers, such as breast, uterine and prostate.
Men: want to keep your full head of hair?
Then have at least three tablespoons of flaxseed a day, because a Duke University study showed that men who consumed that quantity of flaxseed daily had a decrease in production of DHT, which is reponsible for hair loss and benign prostate hyperplasia (the condition that makes men over forty have to go to the bathroom a lot at night.)
Flaxseeds are not just good for men, but they are good for women too. One study showed that flaxseed was as effective as hormone replacement therapy in reducing menopausal symptoms. Wow.
I like eating the flaxseeds vs. just the flaxseed oil because you get all the benefits of the oil plus the fiber. I actually buy the flaxseed meal made by Trader Joes and Spectrum. It is important to eat the flaxseed meal or grind your own flaxseeds because the whole seeds cannot be digested, so you don’t get the benefits.
I sneak flaxseed in my smoothies, yogurt and even my meatloaf. My favorite recipe for sneaking in flaxseed for my family is my spaghetti and meatballs. My Father-In-Law is a first generation Italian whose mother cooked him fresh pasta with “gravy” (as Italian’s call it) every day. He is very picky about his sauce and pasta dishes, but he absolutely raved about my spaghetti with meatballs on Christmas Eve. He had no clue that I had snuck in flaxseeds, wheat germ and oat bran in my dish. So, lesson is…..if my Father-In-Law can’t taste the flaxseed neither will you or your family!
This is my secret recipe, but I’ll share with my fellow bloggers!
- 1 pound ground turkey or lean ground beef
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
- 3 Tbsp oat bran
- 1 Tbsp wheat germ
- 1 egg white
- salt, pepper, oregano and additional seasonings
- Pre-heat the oven to 350.
- Combine all ingredients and form into balls
- Bake for 25 minutes
I like to combine my meatballs with my favorite pasta sauce (or make my own) and combine in the slow-cooker on low all day. After work I can then quickly boil the pasta and have dinner ready in minutes because the sauce and meatballs are all ready and waiting for us!
Have you ever had flaxseed? Do you take a supplement? Please share!