Flax is a good source of protein and healthy fat. Flax seeds are an excellent source of fiber to improve digestive health or relieve constipation. Whole flax seeds can be stored for up to a year and ground when needed. Or you can buy them already ground.
Flax seeds need to be ground to release the soluble fiber and omega-3s for our bodies to absorb. Ground flax (“flax meal”) can be kept in an opaque airtight container for up to 45 days, longer if kept refrigerated. Ground whole flax seeds have been shown to help reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol, a risk factor for heart disease.
Flax seed oil is the purified fat that results from cold-pressing of flax seeds. It contains especially high levels of omega-3 ALA (related to lower risk of heart disease), but not the fiber or lignans (powerful antioxidants) found in ground seeds. Flax seed oil may be used in salad dressings, but not for frying
Adding flax to your diet. One to two tablespoons should be taken daily. When using ground flax, because of its high fiber content, start with one half to one tablespoon per day and work up to higher levels. It is possible to eat too much raw flaxseed. Intake should be limited to ¼ cup per day.
Sprinkle ground flax seed on your cereal, or mix it into yogurt or smoothies.
Substitute three tablespoons of ground flaxseeds for one tablespoon of margarine, butter, or cooking oil in recipes. Baked goods made with flax tend to be denser and brown more rapidly.
Stir flax into thicker soups, such as lentil or bean varieties, or into pasta sauces just before serving.
Mix seeds into your favorite bread dough, or even into burgers, meatloaf, fish, or vegetable patties as a tasty change.
Add whole flaxseeds to cookie dough or muffin mix or sprinkle some on your favorite bread for artisan appeal.
Stir flax seeds into your salad dressing.