Katherine - posted on 12/17/2010 ( 3 moms have responded )
Some call it one of the most powerful plant foods on the planet. There’s some evidence it can help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. That’s quite a tall order for a tiny seed that’s been around for centuries: flaxseed.
Flaxseed was cultivated in Babylon as early as 3000 BC, according to the Flax Council of Canada. By the 8th century, King Charlemagne believed so strongly in the health benefits of flaxseed that he passed laws requiring his subjects to consume it. Fast-forward 13 centuries, and some experts would say we have preliminary research to back up what Charlemagne suspected all those years ago.
These days, flaxseed is found in all kinds of foods, from crackers to frozen waffles to oatmeal. In the first 11 months of 2006, 75 new products were launched that listed flax or flaxseed as an ingredient. Not only has consumer demand for flaxseed gone up, agricultural use has also increased -- to feed all those chickens laying eggs that are higher in omega-3 fatty acids.
Although flaxseed contains all sorts of healthy components, it owes its healthy reputation primarily to three ingredients:
* Omega-3 essential fatty acids, "good" fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s.
* Lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. Flaxseed contains 75- 800 times more lignans than other plant foods
* Fiber. Flaxseed contains both the soluble and insoluble types.
How do you eat it?
Ground up, in everything from yogurt to pasta.