Considered as one of the most potent organic superfood, flaxseed is currently present in just about any baked products sold in the market today. Providing an assortment of top-quality nutrition and health benefit thus making it a true wonder food.
Some of the earliest archeological findings of this organic superfood are found in Europe and the Middle East dating back 6000 years BC. Remnants of flax were found in Stone Age dwellings in Switzerland. It was an essential crop in Neolithic Europe with evidence of the seeds being found in lake dwellings, peat and grave sites. Ancient Egyptians cultivated flax to produce oil and linen (from plant fibers), and the Greeks use the seeds to make lamp oil.
Flaxseed, also known as linseed in some part of the world, is a powerhouse of micronutrients. It is packed with vitamin C, B1, B3, B5 and B6 as well as essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium. It is also very low in sodium and cholesterol.
The most amazing features about this organic superfood is that it houses three powerful nutrients that gives flaxseed outstanding health benefits at its disposal.
First is omega-3 fatty acid with is Alpha-linolic acid (ALA) that protects the blood vessels from inflammatory damages. ALA also has the ability to remain stable even in 300F oven temperature for three hours. This is what makes flax great in making healthy baked goods… like pancakes! And did you know that flaxseed is the highest source of omega-3 fatty acids among 127 of the world’s healthiest foods? Not bad for a small seed.
The second is a fiber-like compound called lignin which is a major class of phytoestrogens. Unlike most plant foods, flaxseed is an organic superfood that contain a good amount of lignans which are unique polyphenols. They can provide an antioxidant quality to help mop away free radicals inside the body and at the same time act as phytoestrogens. Flaxseed is by far the ultimate source of anti-carcinogenic lignans in human diet, containing 7 times more than sesame seeds.
The third is a water soluble and a gel forming fiber called mucilage that enhances the absorption of nutrients in the small intestine. Mucilage slows down the emptying process of digested food from the stomach. This gel-like substance also helps in lowering glucose and cholesterol levels. Galactoxylans and arabinoxylans are two mucilaginous gums found in flaxseeds.
Do Flaxseed has a dark side? Well, just like with any other food and drinks, over consumption of flax may result to stomach pain, flatulence, constipation, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. As for pregnant women, it's best to avoid flax due to its content of estrogen-like properties that my affect pregnancy outcome.
Flexseed fun fact: Did you know that Charlemagne was so impressed by the health benefits of flax that he passed a law requiring all subjects to include it in their diet?
That’s all I can say about flax for now… there’s more to be discovered I’m sure.
Stay fit. Eat clean and green organic superfood.
Photo by: Healthista