Right from the start I'll tell you there is a big myth on the market, related to flaxseeds. The myth is not about its nutritional value though. It's about the way you should be consuming flaxseeds.
Before jumping to the myth, let me talk about their nutritional value.
Flaxseeds are an excellent source of healthy fats. They are unique because they are pretty much the only known to me product with all 3 Omega's; Omega 3, 6 and 9. A lot of people take fish oil for Omega 3, but fish oil is actually inferior to these seeds and I'll explain why.
While, we don't really need too much Omega 6, because our Western diets are full of Omega 6, and we consume more than our body needs. For example, every single vegetable oil, some nuts, corn, soy, peanuts and many others have Omega 6. Omega 9 is produced by our own body and is believed to be enough so there is no need to add more with food or supplements. So, why flaxseeds? Only for Omega 3? Well, Chia seeds have almost 2 times more Omega 3 in them. Then why flaxseed? Not making the value of superfood chia seed less than it is, there is a unique fact about flaxseeds that not many foods have. It has the healthy fat which is called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Flaxseed is one of the most abundant plant-based sources of ALA, and since our bodies do not produce it then flaxseeds become essential in our diet. ALA plays a role in preventing and treating heart diseases, lowering high blood pressure, lowering bad cholesterol, and reversing atherosclerosis. It also treats multiple sclerosis, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), migraine headache, skin cancer, and many other health related issues. These are only the tip of an iceberg when talking about all the benefits we can get from this great seed. Let's pay special attention to our hormonal background. Note, flaxseeds are important for all ages. For ages before 9 years old and after 40 years old it is much more crucial to support your hormones. Hormonal backgrounds develop until we turn 9 years old. Then after age 40 our hormones start working slower and the whole background starts changing fast. We start getting old quickly and it becomes difficult to lose weight. It also brings many sicknesses associated with old age. Why does it happen? Hypothalamus is a small part in our brain, which is responsible for the work of our endocrine system. Omega 3 is responsible for keeping hypothalamus active and healthy. Before age 9 the hormones are not completely formed yet. After age 40 they slow down a lot. It is essential to take Omega 3 on regular basis because this is when hypothalamus needs it more and needs it every day. When you support this part of your brain, you can avoid sicknesses associated with old age, such as dimension, loss of memory, breast cancer in women, prostate cancer in men, bones issues, and others. After 40 years old, I believe that Omega 3, Vitamin D, and all group of Vitamins B are fundamental for our body and essential for everyone. You should not scratch any of them from your diet. You need to take them all. The fact is that flaxseeds have the absolute best available Omega 3, which hypothalamus accepts the best. If you don't have flaxseeds, then you should be eating fish twice a week or take Krill oil. I don't eat fish and know for sure I will not eat it. It's different. So, if you are like me, you can buy vegan Omega 3 capsules or eat seaweed until you can get flaxseeds. Now to the myth about flaxseeds, it is in the way it is suggested to be consumed. If you see a recommendation on a package you buy in a store, it probably says something like, "add to your yogurt or cereal or other favorite food." Not all flaxseed forms (whole seeds, grinded seeds, flaxseed oil) are good for us. Let me share the differences in these forms. Flaxseeds in whole form are difficult for the human digestive system to break down. Very rarely but sometimes I myself eat them whole. It can happen if I am on the run and forgot to prepare seeds in advance. In this case I will make sure I chew every single seed really good, but it is still really the worst way to eat flaxseeds. Eating these seeds whole without chewing well, results in them being useless, and our bodies do not get any of their nutrients. Grinding flaxseeds before eating is key to unlocking their maximum nutrient potential. This form is better than whole, but you need to know that ground flaxseeds are vulnerable to oxidation, which breaks down the beneficial fatty acid ALA. The reason for this is once the flaxseed is ground, it is exposed to light and oxygen. These two elements start the process. If you purchase pre-ground flaxseeds, there is no telling how long and to what degree your flaxseeds have been exposed to the light and oxygen, meaning it’s hard to predict the real fatty acid content of the seeds. In most stores though, the bags with ground flaxseeds have a clear plastic window so consumers can see what's inside. If you see it - DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY. This product is useless and will not help you in any way. For this reason, I would say it's better not to buy pre-ground. Best to buy whole seeds and grind them yourself, but it is still not the best way to go if you want to receive ALL the benefits of these amazing seeds. Aflatoxins and Phytic Acid are a knife into raw vegan's and seeds, nuts lover's soul. Aflatoxin is a mould and a carcinogen. Phytic acid reduces absorption of nutrients from our diet. The best way to consume flaxseeds is to soak raw seeds in water for at least 12 hours. It gets rid of aflatoxins and phytic acid that raw seeds have. Studies shown that phytic acid that is contained in all seeds, beans, grains, and nuts makes such minerals like calcium, zinc, iron, and magnesium get sticky with proteins and starch, and prevent those from absorbing in the body. It is easy to get rid of aflatoxins and phytic acid though by soaking the seeds, beans, and nuts in cold or room temperature water for at least 12 hours. Water itself helps to remove aflatoxins. During soaking the seeds start developing baby sprouts and this is the time when sprouts start producing the phytase enzyme, which is the enzyme that destroys phytic acid. The phytase enzyme also provides seeds with phosphorus that helps all the minerals from flaxseed get absorbed easier by our body. When you done soaking, make sure you rinse the seeds really good, using a colander. Then you grind them in a coffee grinder or in blender, and mix with avocado or your morning porridge, yogurt, toast, or anything else you like. You can eat it by itself too. I prefer mixing it with avocado, because of the benefits of avocado oils, which play particularly good together with flaxseeds. It's also good to take it in the form of oil. In this case you need to remember that once oil is opened and exposed to oxygen and light then it has not more than 1 week before it gets acidic. Once it is acidic it becomes a toxic substance. Therefore, do not buy flaxseed oil in clear bottles as that is ignorance on the part of the maker. If you have to travel and need more convenience, then oil would be the best way to go. I recommend buying smaller bottles, enough for 1 week at a time to keep it fresh and healthy. Make sure it has a plastic air protecting valve inside the lid, and that the bottle is completely dark to prevent light from entering (see the attached pictures). Keep your oil refrigerated to prolong it's life by slowing the acidic development. These steps combined will prolong the life and effectiveness of your oil and you'll get the full impact of the health benefits that are good for all ages.