Pantry Staple: Flax Seeds
As the story goes, human beings first started using wild flax, sometimes known as linseed, as a textile. Spun, dyed, and knotted flax fibres were first found in the Dzudzuana Cave dating back over 30, 000 years ago. Meanwhile, in ancient Egyptian temples, paintings of flowering flax and mummies were entombed in linen. Egyptian priests wore linen exclusively, as flax was considered a symbol of purity. Though cotton is more commonly used for clothing than flax, it’s enjoying a second life as a veritable nutrition powerhouse rich in healing capabilities.
Of the super seeds – flax, hemp, and chia – flax is arguably the most widely recognized kid on the block. It comes in two basic varieties: brown and yellow or golden flax. It’s incredibly high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a fatty acid, as well as Vitamin B6 and minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron. A quarter cup packs nearly 8g of insoluble and soluble fibre, which your body requires to remove excess waste and toxins. Flax seed has been shown to lower triglyceride levels, control blood clotting, build cell membranes in the brain, lower blood pressure, and reduce inflammation. Due to its fibre content, it supports good digestion.
The lignans in flax assist the body with metabolizing excess hormones – important as we continually confront issues related to estrogen dominance, such as fibroids and endometriosis — and appear to possess anti-carcinogenic (cancer-fighting) compounds. Some preliminary studies suggest that flax may actually reduce the size of tumours. If you struggle with cardiovascular disease or have a family history of cardiovascular disease, flax is an excellent addition to your diet, as the ALA in flax, a form of omega-3, has been shown to combat CD. Women with low hormones, especially estrogen, can sometimes boost hormone production by increasing their consumption of flax.
It’s easy to reap the benefits of fax, as this seed is delicious in a wide variety of recipes and can be incorporated seamlessly into your everyday diet. Unlike many exotic superfoods, flax seeds are relatively inexpensive and available at both health food stores and supermarkets alike.
Ways to enjoy flax seed:
1. Add a tablespoon of ground flax to your morning smoothie
2. Stir ground flax into a bowl of porridge – oatmeal, buckwheat, millet, and so on
3. Incorporate into baked goods, such as muffins, pancakes, cakes, breads, and crackers
4. Combine ground flax with water to form a flax egg, which may be used as a replacement for regular eggs
5. Sprinkle over salads and soups
6. Use flax oil as a base for vinaigrettes
1. Make sure to consume plenty of water with flax, since seeds are high in fibre.
2. Try to consume or grind your own flax; the nutrients in milled flax are easier for your body to assimilate.
3. Always purchase flax in small amounts and store in the refrigerator to protect the delicate oils.