How Much Flax to Eat
Why it's good to include flax into your daily diet
Dietary guidelines have been made for both ALA and dietary fibre. To meet these recommendations, include the following flax products in your diet.
Flaxseed oil: 2 to 3 grams of flaxseed oil, which is equivalent to 2 to 3 softgels (1000mg), or approximately 2 mL (1/2 tsp.) of oil daily provides enough ALA to meet dietary needs.
Whole or milled flaxseed: Approximately 15 to 25 mL (1 – 2 tbsp.) of milled flaxseed (~ 15 -30g) provide adequate supplementation of ALA and fibre.
Brown and Yellow Flaxseed
Brown and yellow flaxseed contain the same nutritional benefits in terms of ALA, lignan, protein and dietary fibre content. It is a matter of personal choice which seed is consumed.
Adding Flax to Your Diet
Flax adds a pleasant, nutty taste to foods. You can buy flax by the scoop, vacuum pack, bottle or capsule, or find it in some favourite foods. Here are some ways to use flax.
Whole flax seeds add colour and crunch to foods. You can sprinkle flax seeds on top of home baking or mix them into dough. However, to obtain benefit from flax, you should first grind flax seeds because whole seeds will pass through your system undigested.
Grinding whole seeds breaks their tough outer skin, creating a light-coloured powder. Milled flax is sold in a vacuum package, or you can prepare it yourself in a coffee grinder. You can sprinkle milled flax on cereal, or add it to doughs, batters, casseroles and other cooked foods.
Flax oil is sold in bottles. The oil is extracted from whole flax seeds, using a cold-press process especially developed for plant oils. Pour flax oil on fresh salads. Flax oil provides ALA, but no fibre or lignans.
Flax oil is sealed in gel capsules and sold as a dietary supplement. You should follow manufacturers’ dosages.
Omega-3 enriched eggs
Omega-3 enriched eggs contain extra omega-3 fatty acids from flax fed to hens. You can use omega-3 eggs wherever you would use regular eggs – there’s no taste difference, only nutrition enrichment. If eaten on a regular basis, omega-3-enriched eggs make a substantial
contribution to your need for omega-3 fatty acids. The caloric value and protein content of omega-3 enriched eggs are similar to that of regular eggs.
Omega-3 enriched foods
Flax is an ideal, functional food ingredient. It is added to many products on today’s grocery shelves because of the omega-3 fats, lignans and fibre found in the seed, which all help deliver a health boost beyond what might be expected from the food’s original nutrient content.
Flax is found in a variety of foods, including snack bars, pancakes, cereals, muffins and trail mix, in addition to omega-3 enriched pastas, breads, and dairy products such as yogurt and milk.
Whole flax seed. You can store whole flax seed, which is clean, dry and of good quality, at room temperature for up to a year.
Milled flax seed. To keep flax fresh, you should grind it as you need it. You can keep milled flax refrigerated in an airtight, opaque container for up to 30 days.
Note: Because there are wide variations in kitchen temperatures and situations, the above guidelines limit storage times; however, people often keep milled flax for much longer periods. Let your nose be your guide: If the flax develops an off-odour, discard it.
Flax Substitutions for Special Diets
Flax can replace fat or eggs in a recipe.
Fat Substitution Instructions: Use a 3:1 ratio when substituting flax for oil in a recipe. For
example, 3 tablespoons of milled flax can replace 1 tablespoon
of butter, margarine, shortening or vegetable oil.
3 tablespoons milled flax = 1 tablespoon butter, margarine, shortening or vegetable oil
Egg Substitution Instructions: For every egg being replaced, mix 1 tablespoon milled flax with
3 tablespoons water in a small bowl and let sit for one or two minutes. The mixture will become gel-like. Add to your recipe as you would an egg.
1 tablespoon milled flax + 3 tablespoons water = 1 egg
Superior oil quality and higher oil content have long been major features of Canadian flax seed, attributed to Canada’s climate. These qualities have contributed largely to Canada’s current position as the world’s leader in flax production and quality.
For more information
Flax Council of Canada Announces Submission of Health Claim Petition – April 23, 2012