Benefits of Flax Seed
Flax seed has gained a lot of populatrity lately because it is an alternative source of omega-3 fatty acids (alpha linolenic acid – ALA), especially for those who do not care for fish. Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). During digestion, the body converts the ALA to EPA. Why do omega-3 fatty acids matter? Omega-3’s have anti-inflammatory benefits which helps to preven inflammation in the arteries (atherosclerosis), the joints (osteoarthritis), and the lungs (asthma). Omega-3’s may also help to improve insulin resistance, reduce cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, and reduce the risk of cancer. In addition, flax seed contains fiber, which also helps with the same things listed above, a little iron, and a tiny bit of calcium. Remember that is important to consume flax seed in a ground form. Store ground flax seed in the freezer.
Nutrition Facts for Flax Seed: Serving Size = 2 tbsp ; 60 kcals, 4.5g fat, 4g of carbohydrate, 4g of fiber, 3g protein, 4% DV for iron, 2% DV for Calcium, 4% DV Vitamin E, 13% DV folic acid
Benefits of Wheat Germ
I consider wheat germ the healthy additive of choice before flax seed became popular. Growing up I remember my mom always put wheat germ into our pancakes. Wheat germ has a nutrient profile similar to flax seed. It contains fiber and 20% of your daily need of folic acid. The other nutrients found in these specs of power are magnesium, thiamin, phosphorus, and zinc.
The biggest difference between the two is that flax seed is able to contribute the omega 3 fatty acids. In my opinion, this makes it superior to wheat germ. A heart healthy diet aims to increase the amount of omega 3 fatty acids and this in one easy way to do just that.
Nutrition Facts for Wheat Germ: Serving Size = 2 tbsp ; 50 kcals, 1g fat, 6g of carbohydrate, 2g of fiber, 4g protein, 4% DV for iron, 15% DV for Thiamin, 20% DV Vitamin E, 20% DV folic acid
How to Use It
Flax seed is easy to include in your diet. Add it to any baked good for a virtually invisible health boost. It is also great sprinkled over dry or hot cereal, yogurt, and in smoothies. You can buy it ground (“flax meal”) or in the seed form. Run seeds through a cheap coffee grinder to make your own meal.