The Health Benefits of Flax Seed…
When you add a tablespoon of flaxseed to a smoothie, you’ll get between two and three grams of unsaturated fat, depending on whether you use whole or ground flaxseed. In particular, flaxseed contains alpha-linolenic acid, which is a type of unsaturated omega-3 fatty acid. Adding these types of fat to your diet can help you lower your cholesterol level and reduce your risk of heart disease. One tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains 1.6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, which, according to MayoClinic.com, is all you need for the entire day.
Flaxseed is a good source of protein with one to two grams per tablespoon. The same tablespoon of flaxseed supplies small amounts of potassium for a healthy heart and well-functioning muscles, as well as iron and zinc to boost your immunity. You also get trace amounts of thiamin, riboflavin and niacin, B vitamins that help your body turn food into energy. A tablespoon of flaxseed contains a tiny dose of folate, a B vitamin that helps reduce the risk of birth defects.
Adding flaxseed to a smoothie can help ward off certain illnesses and diseases. A 2004 article published in the “Nutrition Journal” reports that eating flaxseed, along with plenty of fruits and vegetables, can help reduce your risk of cancer. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes more specifically that the lignans in flaxseed might lower your risk of prostate, breast and colon cancers. A 2011 article published in the “Health Studies Journal” notes that the fiber in flaxseed can help control weight by satisfying your hunger and reducing your appetite. A tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains 1.9 grams of fiber, and the same amount of whole flaxseed has 2.8 grams.
Eating Flaxseed in Smoothies
While you can eat whole flaxseeds, they don’t digest as well as ground flaxseed. If you don’t digest the tiny seeds, you won’t reap the nutritional and health benefits they offer. Most supermarkets and health food stores sell ground flaxseed, but if you buy them whole, grind them in a coffee grinder before adding to your smoothie. Add the flaxseed before you blend you the smoothie so it is well-incorporated into the entire drink. Start with a teaspoon or so until you get used to the new texture and subtle flavor, and work your way up to a tablespoon.