Hands down, one of the most effective ways to promote better overall health is by adding heart healthy omega-3-rich flax to your meals – flaxseeds, flax meal, or flaxseed oil.
The benefits of flaxseed are nothing short of extraordinary. Flaxseeds are a rich source of the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid. Besides having an extremely high omega-3 content, flaxseed is also rich in dietary fiber and lignans. The soluble fiber aids in reducing carbohydrate absorption, stabilizing blood sugar levels, inhibiting cholesterol absorption, and lowering blood cholesterol levels.
Lignans – which are concentrated 800 times more in whole flaxseed than in other plants – are recognized for their cancer-fighting benefits, antiviral properties, and helping to alleviate menopause symptoms. Also, a mounting number of scientific studies show the omega-3 power found in flaxseed may even help improve symptoms of arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, liver disorders, mental function and depression, eczema, psoriasis, acne, and dry skin – and this isn’t even a complete list of its health benefits.
For now, let’s talk about the benefits of flaxseed for heart health. Flaxseed and flaxseed oil has been used and extensively studied to reduce cholesterol. Some studies have proven that alpha-linolenic acid benefits people with heart disease. Early research suggests that flaxseed helps to lower high blood pressure, and taken daily, it can reduce total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL – bad) cholesterol levels, while raising high-density lipoprotein (HDL – good) cholesterol.
As well, several studies suggest that hi-lignan flaxseed reduces the extent of atherosclerosis (a disease in which plaque builds up inside arteries). This plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the bloodstream. Over time, without proper care, plaque hardens and narrows the arteries which limits the flow of oxygen-rich blood to vital organs and other parts of the body. As you can imagine, atherosclerosis can lead to serious problems, including heart attack, stroke, or even death.
The lignan complex found in flaxseeds may, therefore, be beneficial in preventing atherosclerosis, and reducing risk factors for coronary artery disease and stroke.
I am such a firm believer in the power of flax, I made it a part of the UNI KEY Health product offering. You can find Omega Nutrition Organic Flax Oil and Hi-Lignan Flax Oil at UNI KEY Health. It is an essential component of my Fat Flush programs, so I wanted to be sure to make it readily available for my readers.
Hop on the Flax Track with These Tips
- Using a small coffee grinder, blender, or food processor, grind flaxseed to the consistency of finely ground coffee. Although ground flaxseed can be stored for a short time in the refrigerator, you will get the most nutritional benefit by grinding the seeds as needed.
- Store whole flaxseed at room temperature for up to a year. Store ground flaxseed in your refrigerator for up to ninety days.
- Flax spread is a flavorful butter that everyone will love. Smear it on steamed veggies, or on anything you would put butter on. Simply cube grass fed butter or ghee and toss it in a saucepan over low heat until it lightly melts. Then pour the melted butter into a small storage container. Add 4 ounces of flax oil and stir until blended. Cover the mixture with the container lid and store in the refrigerator until it solidifies.
- Delicious and nutritious flaxseed tea helps cleanse toxins from the kidneys and combat intestinal irritations (such as colitis) or mucous membrane inflammations. Steep one teaspoon of flaxseeds in 10 ounces of boiling water for 20 minutes. Strain and enjoy with your breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
- Blend one part flax oil with one part Lakanto Maple Syrup for a flavorful topping over fruit, yogurt, grass-fed cottage cheese or Smitty’s Flaxcakes with Fresh Blueberries.
- Flax meal can be home-toasted in the oven at 250 F. Heating above 300 F damages the oil and changes it into the unhealthy trans form. Spread flax meal on a baking sheet, place in the oven at 225 F to 250 F, and bake until crispy (about 15 to 20 minutes).
- Drizzle flax oil over veggies and season to taste.
- For baking, use flax in place of fat. Substitute three tablespoons ground flaxseed for 1 tablespoon cooking oil or butter. Note: Your baked goods will brown more quickly with flax, so either shorten baking time or lower oven temperature by 25 degrees.
- Use flax instead of eggs. Blend one tablespoon ground flax with three tablespoons water and let stand for a couple of minutes, then use in place of one egg.
Making flaxseed a regular daily food choice will not only benefit your heart, but it will serve your entire body well. All Fat Flushers know the value of one of my favorite healthy fats. Even Hippocrates himself used flaxseed as one of his original medicines. So what’s not to love?