It Takes a Village: Ingredient Profiles

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Three Reasons to Eat Flax Seeds

Used as a food source around the world for almost 6,000 years, flax seeds have an incredible history as one of the world’s first cultivated superfoods. It is thought that these nutritious seeds were cultivated in Babylon as early as 3000 B.C. King Charlemagne passed laws requiring his subjects to consume flax seeds because he believed so strongly in their health benefits.

Thirteen centuries later, consumer demand continues to grow. The Flax Council estimates close to 300 flax-based products were launched in the U.S. and Canada in 2010 alone. Three essential ingredients found in flax seeds help contribute to their powerhouse health benefits: Omega 3s, lignans and fiber.

  1.     Omega 3s (specifically alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA): Omega 3 fatty acids like ALA provide the essential fatty acids our bodies need to function and deliver health benefits. ALA fats provide fats and B Vitamins that reduce dryness and flakiness in skin and hair, as well as improving symptoms of acne, rosacea and eczema. They prevent the hardening of arteries and even potentially inhibit tumor incidence and growth. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Cancer Research discovered that consuming flax seed may even decrease the risk of breast cancer.
  2.     Lignans: Lignans are unique polyphenols that provide us with antioxidants. These polyphenols support the growth of probiotics in the digestive system and reduce atherosclerotic plaque buildup by up to 75 percent. Lignans also block the release of certain pro-inflammatory agents that accompany illnesses like Parkinson’s and Asthma. Like Omega 3s, lignans have also proven effective in inhibiting tumor incidence and growth. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that the lignans in flaxseeds may reduce the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer.
  3.     Fiber: Flax seeds are most well-known for their high fiber content. The contain soluble and insoluble fiber which can support colon detoxification and fat loss. Similarly, flax seeds have high levels of mucilage gum content, a gel forming fiber that is water soluble and benefits the intestinal tract.

Indeed, these special seeds are more powerful than they look! Health food producers use flax seeds to naturally replace gluten-containing grains and provide substantial health benefits in return. With these three hugely nutritional attributes, it’s no wonder flax seeds have braved the ages and succeeded as one of the first superfoods.

One important point to note about flaxseed is that the outer shell is difficult to digest. Unless the shells has been cracked open the seeds will pass straight through the digestive system, yielding little of their nutritional value to the body. Grinding the seeds into flax meal is the best way to maximize the nutritional yield the seeds can offer.

To read more about where we get our flax meal, see our supplier profile blog here.

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