The facts on flax

You may have seen flax or flax seed at your health food store or supermarket or perhaps have a health-minded friend who is always talking about their consumption of the super food. Doctors and nutritionists are always raving about flax seed and many may even encourage you to incorporate it into your diet because of all of their many health benefits.

At just about 55 calories per tablespoon, it is incredible how much nutrition is packed into such a low-cal serving. Full of protein, heart-healthy fats, and energy-boosting carbs, flaxseeds are nature's miracle. You can enjoy them as part of nearly any dish, as "flaxseed has a delicate, nutty flavor that does not overpower," according to Shape.

As per Authority Nutrition, "Flaxseeds (Linum usitatissimum), also known as common flax or linseeds, are small oilseeds that originated in the Middle East thousands of years ago. They are very easy to incorporate into the diet. Grinding them is the best way to make the most of their health benefits."

If you've been curious what all the hubbub over this little seed is all about, here are 3 great reasons to start feeding on flax.

1. Chock full of omega-3s

By now, you have definitely heard all about the body benefits of consuming omega-3 fatty acids. As per WebMD, "Omega-3 essential fatty acids are 'good' fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s." Authority Nutrition notes, "Omega-3 fatty acids are essential. They may have benefits for various aspects of heart health, including blood platelet function, inflammation and blood pressure."

The type of omega-3 flaxseed contains is called ALA. According to Dr. Axe, "ALA is considered a healthy fat and should be included in a balanced diet." Authority Nutrition adds, "Several studies have linked ALA with a lower risk of stroke, heart attacks and chronic kidney disease. These studies observed a 73% lower risk of sudden death as well, when compared to those with lower ALA intake."

2. Fiber-rich

A healthy diet is one that is fiber-rich. As per WebMD, "Flaxseed contains both the soluble and insoluble types." Dr. Axe notes that fiber can improve digestive health. "The fiber found in flaxseeds provides food for friendly bacteria in your colon that can help cleanse waste from your system."

Authority Nutrition adds, "The content of insoluble fiber in flaxseeds adds bulk to the digestive waste, acting as a laxative and relieving constipation. It has also been proposed that the soluble fiber binds to water in the digestive tract. This causes it to swell and increase the bulk of the stool, therefore preventing diarrhea."

The high-fiber content can aid in weight loss too. Dr. Axe tells us, "Since flax is full of healthy fiber, it will help you feel satisfied longer so you will eat fewer calories overall which may lead to weight loss."

3. Menopausal relief

For women who experience the negative effects of menopause, like miserable hot flashes, flaxseed is nature's cure. According to WebMD, "One study of menopausal women reported that 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed mixed into cereal, juice, or yogurt twice a day cut their hot flashes in half. The intensity of their hot flashes also dropped by 57%."

Along with hot flash relief, Dr. Axe adds, "The lignans in the flax have been shown to have benefits for menopausal women. It can be used as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy because lignans do have estrogenic properties." Flax can also reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis.

Do you want to start reaping the benefits of flaxseed? Check out some delicious ways to add flax to your food with some delicious recipes from Shape.

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