Flax seeds are one of the many available plant based foods for excellent vegan nutrition but one that is not often utilized enough. But that is about to change. Let’s explore flax seed and its oils for optimal vegan health and make sure it becomes a staple element of nutrition.
What is Flax and Flaxseed Oil?
Flaxseed oil comes from the seeds of a beautiful low growing plant from colder climates, especially mountainous regions, covered with the most stunning bright, sky blue flowers. Just imagine a snow capped mountain peak flocked beneath with a sea of blue. That is flax.
The seeds produced are about 40% oil by weight. Of this oil, 55% of it is omega-3 fatty acid. Now that is an impressive number for vegan health!
Is Flaxseed Oil the Same as Linseed Oil?
There is some confusion between these two. Flax oil is also called linseed oil and though they are often used interchangeably there is an important difference. Flaxseed is used to describe flax when used for human consumption and linseed to describe when it has been processed for industrial purposes. The keyword there is “processed”…and that means steer clear.
Importance of Omega-3
As mentioned, 55% of the fats in flax oil are Omega-3. These are the essential fatty acids that are ingested in foods and used by the body for health. They are an important component of almost all cell membranes therefore, sufficient amounts of these fatty acids are necessary.
Flaxseed Oil Benefits
Another benefit of flax is that it acts as a natural laxative by keeping everything moving properly by way of its high fiber content.
It is beneficial in reducing high cholesterol.
The risk of heart disease is also lower in individuals who take flaxseed oil as well.
It reduces high blood pressure.
Flaxseed oil helps prevent dry eyes.
It reduces the risk of cancer.
Aids in the growth of healthy hair and nails.
Promotes healthy skin.
Reduces menopause symptoms.
Improves body fat loss.
Improves arthritic conditions.
Flaxseed even slows down the rate your body absorbs oral medications or other nutrients if taken at the same time thereby improving the assimilation of the nutrients.
Simply, flaxseed and flax oil, improve overall vegan health!
Buying Flaxseed Oil
As with most things for a healthy vegan lifestyle, not all flax is created equally. Flax oil is easily destroyed by heat, light and oxygen. Thereby, it demands special packaging…namely in dark, green glass bottles that are kept cold through refrigeration.
It’s also important to know the source of the flaxseed oil because some plants grown today are not what they appear to be. There are lot of genetically engineered plants grown outside of their natural habitat and those are not optimal selections for vegan health.
As to dosage, for optimal health, take about 1 tablespoon per day. That can be taken straight up or used in a meal recipe such as this one below.
Mixed Grain Salad with Blueberries, Macademia Nuts & Lemon
1 cup whole oats soaked
1 cup quinoa, soaked
1/2 cup millet, soaked
3 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 large lemons, zest and juice
3 dates, chopped
1 cup coconut cream
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups raw macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
2 cups blueberries
Mix the oats, quinoa, and millet in a fine mesh strainer and rinse for about a minute under running water. Set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the soaked and rinsed grains and cook until they become lightly fragrant. Pour in 4 1/2 cups water and stir in 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, the ginger, and the zest of 1 lemon.
Bring to boil, cover, turn down the heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes, then remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Remove the ginger. Now spread the grains on a large baking sheet and allow to cool before spooning them into a large bowl. Then stir in the zest of the second lemon.
In a medium bowl whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons coconut oil with the juice of both lemons until well blended. Whisk in the dates, coconut cream and nutmeg. Pour this into the grains and stir until well coated. Stir in the macadamia nuts and blueberries.
Refrigerate overnight to blend the flavors and then enjoy for an awesome, healthy vegan breakfast!
Flax seed and flaxseed oil are important elements in vegan health. Be sure they are included and be assured they will attribute to optimal health
Carl Mason-Liebenberg, http://www.carlmason-liebenberg.com, is a Wellness and Weight Loss Specialist, Author, Fitness Coach, and a Leader in Creating a Lifestyle of Wellness. His passion is for those who suffer from poor nutrition, related illnesses, addictions and overweight conditions. He has recently launched an online program, 360XBT to help you reach your weight loss, fitness and health goals.
- Published: 26 March 2014
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