Flax seed oil. Ground flaxseed. Is there a right way to flax?
Flaxseeds have been around in Asian and European cooking for centuries. These days, every health store around the world prominently features flaxseeds. But everyone seems to have an opinion of how to incorporate it into our diet/life.
There is flaxseed oil, it works well as the base for homemade dressings or simply can be taking as a medicine by the spoon. Then there is ground flaxseed that often gets used as a vegan substitute for eggs in baked goods.
So what is better? Well, technically ground flaxseed is lower in calories and contains more fiber. While 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains 38 calories and 1.9 grams of fiber, the equivalent in flaxseed oil would be a whopping 120 calories with negligible fiber.
Flaxseed oil however provides a greater quantity of the much sought-after omega-3 fatty acids we hear about all the time in the news as critical to our daily diet intake. One tablespoon of flaxseed oil contains 7.3 grams of ALA which dominates over ground flaxseed with incorporates only 1.6 grams.
The debate goes further as we compare their mineral content especially when looking at magnesium and copper. Here, ground flaxseeds trump.
Additionally, they also triumph because of their lignan component – this regulates estrogen levels in our bodies and also potentially serves as a strong antioxidant preventing cellular damage to the body.
So what option is better? Honestly, if you can incorporate both into your daily routine, it’s probably ideal. For vegans and vegetarians, it probably is more important to have the flaxseed oil, as our diets tend to be less rich in omega-3. Still, there’s no harm in going with either route.
Be mindful of the fact that flaxseeds must be consumed in limit and we shouldn’t overindulge for its nutritional value. Variety is the right spice of life and while this debate is about one form of flax versus another – neither version is a substitute for a balanced, healthy diet filled with variety.
Amit Vaidya is the best-selling author of the memoir Holy Cancer and the upcoming Food Is Medicine cookbook series. He is the in-house health & wellness expert for Kapiva Ayurveda, advocating for the empowerment of all individuals to be in the driver’s seat of their own lives. He chronicles his life on Instagram under the handle @live4todayamit.
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