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The facts about flax are indisputable

Dr. Steven Heidinger writes about the benefits of flaxseed
Wellness Column by Dr. Steven Heidinger

I was recently blessed with a gift from a patient of mine. It wasn’t flowers, candy or a gift card. It wasn’t even a dozen golf balls. Working in the agriculture industry, this person was kind enough to give me multiple pounds of roasted flaxseed.  

While I have used flax products many times in the past, I had gotten away from using it and this gift reminded me of the important health benefits of something produced in the Land of Living Skies and available in every grocery and health food store.

Flaxseed has been categorized as a “functional food.” Functional foods are foods that have the potential to have positive health effects beyond basic nutrition, may promote optimal health, and have a potential role in disease prevention. With what is known about the positives of flaxseed, it most definitely falls into the functional food category. 

When I think about flaxseed, I immediately think about two things, fibre and Omega-3 oils. Of all the oilseeds, flaxseed has the highest amount of linolenic acid. Linolenic acid has been shown to be beneficial for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease. Flaxseed oil has been claimed as having a role in tumour prevention and prevention of coronary heart disease.

As far as fibre goes, flax is a good source of both soluble and insoluble fibre.The fibre in flaxseed has been shown to have a role in lowering blood glucose.

The functionality of flaxseed is extended into its high protein content, low carbohydrate content, its multiple minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium and calcium, and multiple phytochemicals.

Flax can be a relatively easy product to get into your diet. Many people bake with flax (cookies, muffins, breads, pancakes, etc.). I like to sprinkle mine on salads and put the oil in smoothies. 

I especially like adding a tablespoon of ground flax to yoghurt. Studies are showing that when flax is added to yoghurt, it enhances the probiotic capabilities of the yoghurt.

These are just a few of the facts behind flax. 

Help your yourself and your local Saskatchewan farmer…get the flax.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.