The healthiest food in the world is probably one you’ve never heard of or know nothing about–flax seeds. Flax seeds are, in my opinion, the most nutrient-dense food that exists…they’re unbelievable. They also may be the ultimate guardian of your heart, even more so than salmon and other fish. But wait, they’re little seeds–how could they possibly be THAT healthy? Well they are.
Here are 8 ways flax seeds can significantly enhance your health, improve your looks, and add years to your life.
1. High omega-3 fatty acid content & anti-inflammatory benefits.
Flax seeds are absolutely PACKED with heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Regular omega-3 consumption can improve cholesterol levels and significantly reduce inflammation, which plays a major role in the development of asthma, arthritis, cancer, and osteoporosis.
Flax seeds offer more than 1.5 x the omega-3 content of salmon…for nearly 1/3 of the calories. Read that again. And again. And again.
If you dislike fish, but still want the benefits of omega-3s, flax seeds NEED to get into your diet asap.
2. Support superior heart health.
If you’re at risk for heart disease or have high cholesterol, flax seeds are your med-free cureall. Omega-3′s reduce blood clots, which prevents heart attack, coronary heart disease, and stroke. Omega-3′s also play a HUGE role in reducing total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and triglycerides.
Studies have shown that regular flax seed consumption is as effective at reducing cholesterol as statin drugs. That’ll save you a lot of money. Additionally, flaxseeds are extremely rich in fiber. Diets high in fiber lower cholesterol levels, stabilize blood sugar, and have been shown to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
3. Significantly reduce blood pressure.
Flax seeds significantly reduce systolic, diastolic, and total blood pressure. Lower blood pressure = no hypertension
4. Rich in magnesium.
Magnesium helps keep airways relaxed and dilated, which reduces the severity of asthma. Magnesium also lowers blood pressure, promotes relaxation, and decreases risk of heart attack/stroke.
5. Promote colon health.
Flax seeds protect colon cells from toxins and free-radicals, which helps prevent colon cancer.
6. Strengthen bones and joints.
High inflammation is a MAJOR cause of poor bone health, arthritis, cancer, and osteoporosis. One of the primary reasons why inflammation is so common is due to high omega-6 to omega-3 ratios in the American diet.
Typical humans have o6:o3 ratios upwards of 10:1–that’s stupidly high. Consuming alpha-linolenic acid–the omega-3 fatty acid found in flaxseeds–can help bring down the ratio to a safer, anti-inflammatory level–ideally 2:1.
7. Promote improved prostate health.
Flaxseeds have been shown to slow prostate tumor growth.
8. Great for women’s health.
Lignans are a chemical compound found in plants, and one of the major classes of phytoestrogens. Lignans are a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that have shockingly powerful breast cancer reducing effects. One study even reported a 58% reduction in the risk of breast cancer with regular lignan consumption!
How? Phytoestrogen has a chemical structure that’s very similar to estrogen, but doesn’t stimulate breast cells as much as natural estrogen. As a result phytoestrogens don’t cause breast cells to grow, which decreases the overall risk of developing cancer. Lignans also promote regular ovulation, reduce hot flashes, and can help restore hormonal balance during the menstrual cycle (reducing symptoms associated with menstruation). Whoop!
Where can I get flax seeds?
Flax seeds are available at most grocery stores, especially health-focused supermarkets like Whole Foods. One critical thing to note is that flaxseeds must be ground up, much like coffee, before eating. If you don’t grind them than your body won’t be able to digest the seeds and absorb any of the nutritional value. A coffee grinder or food processor works.
Also, do not buy pre-ground flaxseeds…always grind them fresh. Pre-grinding exposes them to oxidation, which creates serious free-radical build-up. Ground flaxseeds are a great addition to yogurt, cottage cheese, oatmeal, salad, and chicken. Get experimental!
Lean It UP is a web community that touches all ends of the fitness spectrum. We regularly publish workout plans, nutritional analysis, product reviews, supplement advice, recipes, and other related content that can help inform and educate on the most effective, practical ways to improve fitness levels, aesthetics, and overall health. We want to help YOU build your own perfect body -- hop on for the ride.