Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Truth about Flaxseed

Flaxseed has recently gotten a lot of buzz and has made it on to a lot of power food lists. This hasn't come without controversy as recently I've found many people bad mouthing the flax. So come with me on a journey to figure out what could be wrong with this little seed.

How are these little guys causing so much controversy?

Let's look at the macro nutrient breakdown:
22% Carbs
66% Fats
12% Protein

So we have a plant based source of protein, some fats, which about half of is omega 3 fatty acids, and carbs coming almost entirely from fiber. It also packs a hefty dose of zinc and magnesium which most of the athletic population is deficient in.

To me that's pretty darn good and addresses the needs of a lot of people. Most people eat too little protein and not that flax is going to make or break you in that department, but every little bit helps. A ton of fiber which makes you feel full, is linked to weight loss, and something that the average person doesn't get enough of. A plant based source of omega-3 fatty acids, what could be better?

All this great stuff, so where is the controversy.

Well "they" have been saying that flax is useless because the body can't convert omega-3's effectively into EPA/DHA. The turnover is probably a single digit percentage. So is this cause to write off the flaxseed as useless? Heck no! Flaxseed provides a whole host of benefits and just because it's not a replacement for a fish oil (which you better be taking to get your EPA/DHA directly), doesn't mean it's not worthy of a spot in your daily feed. I'd say based on this information flax oil (the stuff Barry Bonds tried to make us believe was the source of his hugeness) shouldn't make the priority supplement list, but certainly keep the seed on the menu. The poor little guy maybe got a little too much hype but this food still packs a healthy punch.

Just make sure you grind your flaxseed as the whole seed won't really allow for good absorption of the nutrients.
Grind your flax like Kim grinds her man

After you are done grinding, sprinkle a couple tablespoons in a bowl of oatmeal, or in a protein shake because this little guy deserves to be on those power food lists and is here to stay. Make sure you refrigerate any left over ground flax or just grind what you are going to use because it goes rancid pretty fast in the open air. Follow those simple rules and you'll reap all the benefits the flaxseed has to offer.

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