I love it when my foods are my supplements – because I love to eat! I also believe that foods are our best medicines. So when it comes to a food that is also a medicinal herb and nutritional supplement all rolled into one pretty little package, flax seeds are the queen! They're rich in fiber and high in good quality fats, which most of us are not getting enough of, and they're low in calories,. According to the USDA, 2 Tbsp. of ground flax seed, which is the daily “dose,” weighs 14 grams, has 75 calories, 5.9 grams of total fat, and 3.8 grams of total dietary fiber – making them super healthful – especially for women. Which is why I recommend that most of us take include 1-2 TBS of fresh ground flaxseeds into our daily diet. Want to know how them might help you? Read on…
The Health Benefits of Flax Seeds
Here’s what flax seeds can do for you:
They Give You Smooth Moves
Here’s the thing, girls, when you “Take out your garbage” every day – that is, you have a good BM at least once daily (= easy to evacuate, fully formed, at least 6” long) you not only feel lighter, but you are clearing out a bunch of environmental toxic waste, as well as excess estrogen that might be hanging out in your system wreaking havoc here and there. Flax taken daily will help you to have smooth bowel movements. If you take them in capsules or some other way that’s not in a smoothie, make sure to drink at least 8 oz. of water per 2 TBS ground flax – otherwise they’ll add to the clog, not the cleaning out!
They Support Hormone Balance
Healthy daily elimination gets rid of excess estrogen – both from the environment, and also the toxic breakdown products we create getting rid of our own natural estrogens and those we get from birth control pills. When we effectively eliminate excess and toxic estrogens, we experience fewer women’s health problems including PMS, fibroids, problems with endometriosis, frequent and heavy periods, and cyclic breast pain and lumps.
They Satisfy Your Appetite (and Help You Lose Weight)
Flax seeds can help you to keep your appetite in check when you’re trying to stay slim or lose weight. Research suggests that taking flaxseed 2 hours before a meal increases your sense of fullness, making you less likely to overeat!
They Promote Heart Health
Flax seeds prevent both diabetes and high cholesterol! Scientific studies reliably show that flax seeds taken regularly can prevent and even reverse diabetes, and in women prior to menopause, can also lower unhealthy forms of cholesterol.Make Your Skin Glow: Our skin is our biggest detox organ. When we’re not eliminating well, especially those extra hormones, this manifests in our skin. Keeping our bowels moving daily takes the burden off the skin to do that extra detox, and also helps eliminate those excess hormones that contribute to acne. Also, keeping your appetite in check can help you to avoid sugar binging, and sugar also contributes to acne. So clear skin can be a collateral benefit of daily flax use.
How to Use Flax Seeds
Flax seeds are super easy to use. Simply add 1-2 Tbsp. to a daily smoothie, toss onto a green salad, or add into your favorite coconut (or other) yogurt.
Whole flax seeds contain both the healthy fiber and fats you need – but to be absorbed, they have to be ground into a meal or powder. I recommend buying 100% organic whole flax seeds and grinding them yourself. You can grind a week’s worth at a time and store them in the fridge. Put 1 cup of whole flax seeds into your blender, food processor, or Vitamix, and pulse until fully ground. Store in a clean dry glass container with a tight fitting lid (a mason jar works well!) in the fridge because once ground, they quickly go rancid if not kept cool. The whole flaxseeds, prior to being ground, can be stored at room temperature (i.e. in your pantry or cabinets). If you buy already ground flax seeds, keep those refrigerated. But really, it is SOOOO easy to grind your own.
Here’s one of my favorite flax seed recipes to get you started!
Power Moves Smoothie
- 1 ripe fresh or frozen banana (frozen = yummy milkshake consistency for your smoothie)
- ½ cup frozen organic strawberries
- 1 cup unsweetened almond or casher milk (ideally, homemade if you can)
- 1 Tbsp. almond butter
- 1 level Tbsp. freshly ground flax seeds
To prepare: Toss into the blender and whiz on high speed until smooth. Enjoy. Makes about 12 oz.
Optional: To transform this into an afternoon “pick-me-up” shake that will curb your afternoon appetite, add 1 Tbsp. cacao powder. It's a delicious coffee alternative, will satisfy a sugar craving and it's filled with goodness for your and your hormones and gut!
Are The Phytoestrogens Safe?
A lot of women ask me whether flax seeds are safe because they are rich in what are called “phytoestrogens” – estrogen-like compounds produced by plants. Phytoestrogens are found in most plants and are especially abundant in green leafy vegetables (yes, that includes your kale!) and legumes and beans (that means in your hummus, too!). Because phytoestrogens competitively block more toxic forms of estrogens from binding to our cells, they are actually highly protective against cancer. There is evidence to show that most of us, even with a history of estrogen receptor positive cancers, actually benefit from getting these phytoestrogens from plants. However, if you have personally had an estrogen receptor positive cancer, please discuss using flax seeds with your doctor before making them part of your daily lifestyle.