I’m always surprised by the fact how scientists and researchers always find up with some new super food that aids weight loss and suddenly everyone is talking and buying this food. Flax seeds and flaxseed oil is certainly one of those foods that got a lot of nutritionists attention these past years. Truth is that every meal plan I created this past year for clients that had a goal to lose weight had flax seeds on it. The health benefits are just enormous and it’s no surprise that flax seeds ended up on Top 100 Healthiest food list by WHfoods.
What makes flax seeds so unique and beneficial?
For one thing it’s the best plant source of omega 3 fatty acids, flax seed contains 6 times more omega 3 than the next highest known plant sources like walnuts. Research suggest that imbalance between omega 3 and 6 intake can be a cause of health problems, typical American diet is a good example of unbalanced ratios between fats and it’s not surprise that there’s so many people with weight problems. Most of flax seed omega 3 comes in form of alpha-Linolenic acid (ALA) which then in our bodies can covert to omega 3 EPA/DHA if needed.
Regular intake of omega 3 essential fatty acids promotes fat oxidation and regulates the amount of fat that our bodies store to use later for energy. Every type of fat has different metabolism, problem with meals containing a lot of unhealthy fat like trans-fat and saturated fat is that those are very hard for body to break down and use for energy so they get stored much easily. This is one of the most common ways that stubborn fat is created which is very hard to get rid of, the more age this type of fat has it becomes very difficult to use for energy. I’ve personally noticed this when I was dieting to low body fat levels for the first time, some areas burned off fat quickly while it took weeks to get fat away from stubborn areas like hamstrings and lower abs.
Another massive benefit that you get from flax seeds is fiber which ensures that our digestion system operates at maximum. We want our body to function healthy to give us optimal performance in our workouts. I know a lot of people confuse diets and healthy eating, this is most probably because every diet they ever tried made them feel weak, crave more food and made them give up very quickly. Eating healthy is just the opposite, once you change your meal plan to contain more healthy foods like flax seeds and flax seed oil you get more energy, improved mood, better focus, more strength and you feel better in general which reflects on your interactions with other people and makes tasks in life enjoyable and fulfilling.
I could go on all day about the benefits but as far as weight loss goes the most important ones are omega 3 and fiber, there are a lot of other passive elements in flax seeds like vitamins and minerals or anti-oxidants but they relate more to over well-being than fat loss.
5 ways to use flax seeds and flaxseed oil in your diet plan
- Add flax seeds to your morning breakfast – One of my favorite things to do is add a tablespoon of flax seeds to my oat meal. This will ensure enough fiber for the entire day and it’s also a well-known fact that adding omega 3 to your breakfast promotes fat mobilization throughout the day. You might also want to add 2-3 pills of fish oil so that body has all 3 forms of omega 3 (ALA, EPA, DHA) at the disposal.
- With your cottage cheese before bed – It became a habit in my meal plan to add all sort of seeds to my cottage cheese before bed time. Cheese is a great source of casein slow digesting protein and with all the added fat and fiber from flax seed I’m ensuring that my body get a steady stream of nutrients so I can fully recover and grow while sleeping. You can also add a tablespoon of flax seed oil to further slowdown the digestion process.
- Adding flax seeds to bread, pizzas, pancakes or muffins – This will make lower down the insulin response and blood sugar levels from these high glycemic index foods which will eventually help you lose weight by making you feel full for longer and giving your body a chance to use the energy for a longer period of time. This is certainly a way to make non-whole foods better and healthier.
- Mixing ground flax seeds with protein powder – Trick that will make your low calorie meal replacement shake even better. If you are a busy person who uses protein powders as quick meals I strongly recommend you try this, it will make you feel full a lot longer and this kind of solves all the protein powder problems like lack of vitamins, minerals and all other stuff that solid food provides.
- Adding ground flax seeds or some flax seed oil to salads and sauces – If you are like me and like to experiment a lot with food and finding new taste while still eating healthy then this is something you’ll love. Just be careful to add flax seed oil only after you done cooking or exposing the food to high temperatures, this might cause the oil to oxidize, lose all its properties and even become toxic. So be careful!
How to store flax seeds and flaxseed oil properly?
Only downside to these foods is that the fat content is highly unsaturated which makes that it’s easy to oxidize and turn bad with exposure to high temperatures. This is the case especially with flax seed oil while raw flax seeds can endure temperatures up to 300C which makes them a good choice for cooking and baking. Ground flax seeds have shorter shelf life and should be stored in a refrigerator. I personally like to buy all my flax seeds in raw whole form and grind them when needed, this ensures me that the top quality nutrition properties are present.
Flaxseed oil is more sensitive than flax seeds so it’s best to be stored in a dry cool place like the refrigerator. It usually comes in dark bottles and once opened it should be used in the next 3 weeks.
Flax seeds and flaxseed oil is one of those foods that is rising in popularity and the public is currently in the process of getting to know all the benefits. I encourage all of you to add these super foods to their meal plans as soon as possible and start enjoying all the good things listed in the article above. All these little things add up, become habits and in the end make your weight loss goal must easier to attain and maintain.
I wish you good luck with your fitness and diet goals, see you next time :)