Glossary of Foods: Flax Seeds

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These little seeds pack a big health punch! Flax seeds are gaining popularity as a superfood and are likely found in all sorts of your go-to food items, such as whole grain bread and granola. But these seeds aren't a newly cultivated ingredient, just a new trend.

Flax seeds have been around since Mesopotamian times, valued for its oil and fiber. Small and mighty flax seeds are found in a small pod. The seeds resemble sesame seeds and are brown or golden yellow in color. Whole and ground varieties are available and added to many dishes and foods. Flax seeds are also very low in carbohydrates. To get the most out of flax seeds, check out some nutritional benefits that you won't want to miss out on.


The omega-3 fatty acids found in flax seeds is a heart-healthy benefit. Omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties that help to lower the risk of blood pressure, heart disease, strokes and some types of cancers. Omega-3s are a vital nutrient for daily consumption.


Lignans are a type of plant estrogen thought to have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants may help prevent some cancers and postively affect free radical damage in the body. Flax seeds have one of the highest concentrations of lignans among plant foods.


For a healthy digestive system, keeping up your fiber intake is important. Flax seeds have soluble and insoluble fiber for maximum health benefis. Fiber also helps with lowering bad cholesterol.


If you're interested in using flax seeds, ground or whole, find them in the natural foods or baking section at your grocery store. Most groceries will carry flax seeds due to their increasing popularity. The seeds can be added to baked goods, sprinkled on oatmeal, or added to yogurt with fruit and granola. Flax oil may also be called linseed oil. It is a highly perishable product, so if you purchase it, use it quickly. You may find it in the vitamin and supplement aisle or in specialty stores. Flax oil is not for cooking, though, and should only be used with cold foods or foods that have already been cooked.

Flax seeds are small and mighty! They are definitely a new go-to superfood.