What are flaxseeds?
Sometimes called flax or linseed, flaxseed is a nutrient-rich seed that has become extremely popular over the last decade due to its potential health and weight loss benefits.
Flaxseed comes in brown or golden (yellow) varieties, and can be eaten whole or ground. Ground flaxseeds are easier for your body to digest and absorb. Since your body cannot break down the outer shell of the flaxseed, we recommend grinding whole flaxseeds with a coffee grinder and eating them ground — sprinkled on your yogurt or oatmeal, or mixed in the recipes below.
Healthy foods to eat with flaxseeds
Flaxseeds pair well with yogurt and oatmeal, make a great addition to smoothies and salads, and can be incorporated into your favorite baked goods or recipes calling for breadcrumbs. Check out the 25 recipes below to get started.
Two tablespoons (14 grams or 0.5 oz.) of flaxseeds contains about 74 calories, 6 grams of fat, 4 grams of carbohydrate, 3.8 grams of dietary fiber, and 2.6 grams of protein.
Flaxseeds contain tons of health benefits and are an excellent source of:
Flaxseeds are a source of plant-based protein. The amino acids in flax are important building blocks of protein and play an important role in protein synthesis in our bodies.
Two tablespoons of flaxseeds contains 2.6 grams of protein.
2. Dietary Fiber
Flaxseeds are a great source of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber slows digestion, keeping us feeling full longer, and helping us maintain stable blood sugar levels. Soluble fiber can also interfere with the absorption of dietary cholesterol, helping manage our LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol levels.
Insoluble fiber isn’t digested by the body, and therefore helps food pass through your digestive system and prevent constipation.
Two tablespoons of flaxseeds contains 3.8 grams of dietary fiber.
Flaxseeds are packed with healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids. Since our bodies cannot produce omega-3s, they are considered an essential fatty acid, meaning we need to get this healthy fat from the foods that we eat. Omegas-3s are an important component of our cells, and play several critical roles in the body, including acting as an energy source and reducing inflammation.
Flaxseeds are packed with antioxidants, which help break down free radicals in our bodies that lead to disease. Specifically, flaxseeds contain lignan, an antioxidant that is associated with a reduced risk of cancer, specifically prostate cancer and breast cancer.
5. Vitamins & Minerals
Flaxseeds are a great source of essential vitamins and minerals, particularly thiamine (B1), copper, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Two tablespoons of flaxseeds contains 19%, 19%, 15%, 13%, and 13%, of the recommended dietary intakes of thiamine (B1), copper, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus, respectively.
What are the health benefits of flaxseeds?
Because of their nutritional profile, incorporating flaxseeds into your diet can help you reap the benefits associated with their key nutrients.
As a part of a healthy diet, flaxseeds may be associated with:
- Reduced hunger
- Weight loss
- Weight maintenance
- Improved digestion
- Lower blood pressure
- Improved blood sugar
- Lower LDL cholesterol
- Increase HDL cholesterol
- Reduced inflammation
- Reduced risk of heart disease
Flaxseeds for weight loss
A systematic review and meta-analysis of 45 randomized controlled trials showed that flaxseed supplementation could significantly reduce body weight, BMI, and waist circumference compared to a placebo. Some studies show improvements in factors that are associated with weight and health outcomes, including inflammatory markers, triglycerides, fasting blood sugar, blood pressure, and more.
Overall, studies have shown mixed outcomes, meaning that eating flaxseeds will not guarantee weight loss. However, due to the healthy fat, high protein, and high fiber content of flaxseeds, incorporating flax into your meal plan, along with other healthy eating and exercise habits, can be an effective strategy in helping you achieve your weight loss goals.
While there is no “set” amount of flax to eat to achieve your weight loss goals, one serving (or 2 tablespoons) of flaxseed provides you with up to 10% of your daily protein requirements and 5% of your daily dietary fiber requirements, with less than 75 calories.
What are flaxseeds used for?
Flaxseeds are super versatile. There are countless ways that you can swap them, mix them, or use them to reap their health benefits every day.
- The main event: By themselves, whole or ground flaxseeds can be used as one of the main ingredients in recipes such bread or crackers.
- Swaps: Replace an egg in any baking recipe with 1 tbsp. ground flax mixed with 3 tbsp. Water. Make sure to let the water / flax mixture sit for at least 15 minutes first to set.
- Toppings: Sprinkle flax on oatmeal, yogurt, and smoothies/smoothie bowls for even more benefit.
- Mix ins: Mix ground flaxseeds in smoothies, muffins, breads/loaves, applesauce, and more to add a boost of nutrition to your food. You can also add it to your favorite breading mixture.
These flaxseed-based recipes are a great place to help you achieve your weight loss and health goals. Start with one recipe each day, and you’ll be reaping the benefits in no time!
Flaxseed oatmeal, smoothies, and yogurt bowls
Adding flaxseed to oatmeal, smoothies, and yogurt bowls is a great way to add of protein, fiber, and texture to your dish. Get started with one of these easy recipes.
- Low-carb flax meal breakfast pudding
- Flaxseed and blueberry oatmeal
- High-protein strawberry flax smoothie
- Chia & flax seed breakfast bowl
- Apple pie overnight oats
- Low carb yogurt parfait with strawberries, flax, and chia seeds
Flaxseed breads, tortillas, muffins, and loaf recipes
Enjoy a nutritious and delicious spin on carb-y classics with these delicious recipes.
- Life-changing bread
- Chia and flax seed tortillas
- Flourless fudgy brownies
- Flax, carrot, apple muffins
- Healthy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
- Flaxseed meal pancakes
- Honey flax banana bread
- Gluten-free vegan breakfast cookies
Flaxseed snack recipes
Snacks are a great way to sneak in a little extra flax in your diet. Try these nutritious snacks on for size.
- No-bake energy bites
- Honey almond flax granola
- Easy crunch flaxseed crackers
- Flaxseed apricot bars
- Power biscotti
Other flaxseed recipes
These high-protein, fiber-packed recipes are a great start to reap the benefits of flaxseeds.