The Benefits of Eating Flaxseed: Flaxseed might be a great addition to your diet, as they are high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats, and can reduce your appetite by making you feel full sooner. Here’s the skinny on the benefits of eating flaxseed:
Ground Flaxseed Reduces Your Appetite
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Michael Pollan
Has anyone ever defined healthy eating better in 7 words? Well, flaxseeds fit nicely into that strategy; add a tablespoon to a meal or smoothie, and the healthy fats in them will help you feel full faster, making you less likely to eat too much.
Flaxseed is High In Fiber
I’m still scarred from the fiber-craze of my youth, and I still associate fiber with cereals and snacks that would be better off fed to farm animals. Also, my grandmother suffered through drinking prune juice every day, which wasn’t sexy either.
Sexy or not, it’s an important part of any healthy diet, and most people don’t eat enough. In fact, the average adult is only eating less than half of the recommended amount. According to the Institute of Medicine, women need 25 grams of fiber per day, and men need 38 grams.
If you’re not eating enough foods high in fiber like beans and vegetables, consider adding a tablespoon of flaxseeds to foods that could use a little crunch, or ground flaxseed to a smoothie.
How much fiber is in Flaxseeds? Just a tablespoon of whole flaxseeds has 3 grams of soluble fiber, while ground flaxseed has about 2 g.
Flaxseed is High In Healthy Fat
“Healthy fat” and “good cholesterol” always sound like oxymorons to me, (like “pretty ugly” or “jumbo shrimp) but your body needs them, and flaxseeds are high in both including Omega-3 fatty acids. Consuming them help decrease your appetite and raise your level of good HDL cholesterol as well as lowering your risk of heart disease.
*Note: For better absorption of fatty acids, consider ground flaxseed.
Flaxseed Boosts Your Immune System
Speaking of fatty acids, they are essential in strengthening your immune system, helping white blood cells in your body to fight off disease. Flaxseed is one of the richest plant sources available for Omega 3 fatty acids, and alpha linolenic acid (ALA) which regulates your cholesterol levels.
Flaxseeds: High In Protein
Protein helps build and repair muscle, and is crucial to healthy bone development and maintenance. Eating enough protein is important at any age, and if you gave up red meat (great idea!) be sure to get your protein from other sources including flaxseed!
So, how much protein is in flaxseeds? 1 tbsp of ground flaxseed has 1.3 g of protein, while whole flaxseed has about 1.9 g.
Consider Adding Flaxseed to Your Kids’ Diet
All of the benefits above apply to kids as well as adults. Our 9 year old son wouldn’t stop eating, and it took several helpings at meals until he was full. We now add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed to his breakfast to help reduce his voracious appetite, plus all of the other benefits of flaxseed.
It’s easy to add a tablespoon of flaxseed to a fruit smoothie, or many other great recipes that you can find online like muffins and pancakes.
Flaxseed: A Healthy Addition to Your Diet or Weight Loss Strategy
Just about every article on weight loss should include the disclaimer that there is no “magic bullet” supplement or super-food for achieving and maintaining a healthy body. The idea is, of course, that weight loss occurs when you eat a healthy diet and burn more calories than you consume.