SUPERFOOD SPOTLIGHT: Flaxseed
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: Possibly one of the most super-powered superfoods, flax is a tiny seed that packs quite the punch. From the moment Babylonians began to cultivate flaxseed in 3000 BC, news of its health benefits started to spread and have been touted worldwide. Ancient Egyptians used flaxseeds for both food and medicine, and in the 8th century, King Charlemagne was such an advocate of flaxeed’s powers that he passed laws requiring his subjects to consume it on the regular. The hype was for good reason: with more polyphenol antioxidants than blueberries, more omaga-3 fatty acids than salmon and a unique fiber called “mucilage” found in very few foods, flaxseed boasted one of the most impressive nutritional profiles on the planet. Even in our modern day and age, very few superfoods even come close.
WHY YOU SHOULD TRY IT: High cholesterol? You might want to add flaxseed to your daily routine. Flaxseed decreases the ratio of LDL(bad) to HDL(good) cholesterol in the body, as well as protects our blood vessels from hazardous inflammation. But, as the number one source of omega-3s and an impressively high source of antioxidants and fiber, flaxseed provides a host of full-body benefits that stretch well beyond the cardiovascular system. Since both chronic inflammation and oxidative stress (usually linked to a lack of antioxidants) put the body at major risk of cancer development, flaxseed has proved itself to be a warrior in cancer prevention. In addition, the mucilaginous fibers of flaxseed help keep our digestive tract “regular” and optimize the absorption of nutrients in the intestinal tract. Impressive!
LET’S GET TOGETHER: Flaxseed can be purchased either whole or ground; since it can be quite hard to chew, ground flaxseed (either by hand or store bought – we love Spectrum’s Ground Premium Flaxseed) can ensure maximum nutrient absorption. Sprinkle flaxseed on your oatmeal, add it to your smoothies, or mix it into your baked goods for a major nutrient boost. Flaxseed oil is also a fantastic way to add a nutty flavor to your meals – pick up a bottle of Nature’s Way Flax Oil and drizzle it on top of salad or roasted vegetables the next time you sit down for dinner.