The benefits of eating whole flaxseeds
Whole flaxseeds are the complete package, being naturally rich in:
- Omega 3 (as ALA*)
- Dietary fibre (soluble and insoluble)
- Protein and lignans
Use whole flaxseeds to add texture and crunch to muesli, breads, biscuits and muffins. Add ground seeds to soups and casseroles just before serving.
Note: Whole flaxseeds should be crushed for maximum nutritional benefit (try a coffee grinder). Ground seeds can be stored in a closed, opaque container in the fridge.
*Alpha-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid that the body cannot produce.
What’s so good about flaxseed oil?
- Flaxseed oil is nature’s richest source of Omega 3 (55-60% as ALA) and is therefore much sought-after as a dietary supplement - particularly in Western style diets, which are deficient in this essential fatty acid.
- Our bodies cannot produce essential fatty acids (EFA’s), so we must obtain them from food sources. Flaxseed oil contains both Omega 6 and Omega 3 EFA’s.
- Every human cell uses EFA’s and cannot exist without them. Research and clinical experience demonstrate that Omega 3 can have beneficial results in many illnesses and conditions - heart disease, cancers, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, premenstrual syndrome, allergies, inflammatory tissue conditions, water retention and skin conditions.
- The human body converts the alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in flaxseed oil to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) as required. These are the same EFA’s that are present in fish oil, and the conversion is similar to that which fish make when they eat algae. This conversion can be enhanced by reducing consumption of fats high in Omega 6 (eg Safflower and Sunflower oils).
- All Stoney Creek Flaxseed Oils are cold-pressed at temperatures less than 40°C, not subject to deodorisation or any additional refining, and contain only 9% saturated fats - compared to up to 30% in most fish oils.
- Flaxseed oil can be added to many, many foods - such as rice, vegetables, pasta, salads, cereals, soups, yoghurt, tofu, milk/soy drinks and fruit smoothies. But do not cook with Flaxseed Oil!
Note: When taking flaxseed oil, consumption of other fats (especially Omega 6 fats) should be moderated, so that total fat intake is not increased.
So what’s the story with fish oil?
Fish oil contains two Omega 3 EFA’s - eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) -that are considered essential for human health. However:
- Not all fish contain beneficial amounts of these EFA’s (oily fish such as salmon and tuna are generally preferred species for consumption, but whiting and shark are comparatively low in Omega 3)
- Fish oil is highly polyunsaturated and can become rancid quickly
- Fish oil has high levels of saturated fats (17-30%)
- Fish oil is not suitable for vegetarians
- Fishy aftertaste and rancidity can be clouded in the murky world of encapsulation
- Questions still remain regarding the sustainability of fish harvesting
And why should I eat flaxseed meal and flour?
During the seed crushing process, broken seed solids are presented as fat-reduced flaxseed meal. A further stage of the milling process produces a finer, more uniformly-textured flax flour.
Note: As flaxseed meal and flour are genuine high-fibre products (up to 47%), their consumption must always be accompanied by adequate fluids.
- Flaxseed meal and flour are extremely rich in protein, soluble & insoluble dietary fibre, and lignans (which the body may convert into beneficial phyto-oestrogens). Both products retain an oil content of up to 10%.
- Flaxseed meal can be added to almost any food – eg sprinkled over breakfast cereal, natural yoghurt and fruit, mixed in fruit smoothies. It provides a nutty-tasting, nutritious alternative to bran or psyllium products.
- Flaxseed meal and flour are ideal additions to your home-baked fruit loaves, health bars, cakes and bread.
- Both products are gluten-free.
Flax council of canada fact sheets
- OMEGA-3 FATS IN FLAX AND FISH ARE SIMILAR IN MANY WAYS
- FLAX – A SMART CHOICE
- FOOD SOURCES OF ALPHA-LINOLENIC ACID
- FLAX LIGNANS HAVE ANTICANCER EFFECTS IN BREAST TISSUE
- METABOLISM OF ALPHA-LINOLENIC ACID
- FLAX HELPS PREVENT HEART ATTACKS AND STROKES
- FLAX AND THE LOW-CARBOHYDRATE DIET
- FLAX FAVOURABLY AFFECTS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
- OMEGA-3 FATS ARE ESSENTIAL FOR INFANTS
- FLAXSEED AND CANCER
(courtesy of Flax Council of Canada)