Sunday, February 26, 2017

Why I Eat Flax Seeds

Eating habits and food preferences are obviously personal. Moreover, in Ayurveda, whether a food is healthy is determined by a person's body type.  Flax seeds in Ayurveda have a light and hot quality as a fiber, making them a good choice for vata and kapha but not as good for pitta.

Nutritionally flax seeds are a source of fat, carbohydrate and protein, specifically 42 percent fat, 29 percent carbohydrates and 18 percent protein.  They are rated as a super-food because they are a superb source of  fiber, omega-3 fats and lignans.  Plus there are other compounds in flax seed like polyphenols, which pack the benefit of being a potent antioxidant and fight inflammation. This translates to improved digestion, lowering the risk of diseases and slowing down the aging process.

As a woman in perimenopause, the flax seeds give me fiber to keep me regular.  This means there is less of a chance of toxins building up in my body.  More importantly to ease my transition, the lignans in flax seed help to get rid of the bad estrogens (estradiol) that are associated with breast cancer risk, hot flashes, mood swings, bloating and weight gain, and these same lignans help to make the good estrogen (estrone types) that actually prevent these uncomfortable conditions. Men can also be high in the bad estrogen from certain environmental sources.  Please do not think flax seeds are a gender based food :).  I also like the high healthy fat content of flax seeds because it makes me feel full longer and nourishes my hormones and tissues.

Flax seeds can be hard to digest so take them in divided doses and be sure to drink plenty of liquid which helps to digest fiber.  Buy flax seeds in small quantities because they can get rancid very quickly.  Store the flax seeds in the fridge or freezer to maintain shelf life.  Remember flax seeds must be ground to get the most nutritional value. Flax seeds can be purchased ground but grinding them yourself will give them a higher nutritional profile.

While I may like flax seeds, they may not be a favorite for someone else. But like I told my children when they were little, try it a few times before making a final judgment.

Stay healthy & well,

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