If you are out of eggs, you can mix flax meal with water to create an egg substitute to use in baking, saving you from having to run out to the store. Flax meal, or ground flaxseeds, is easier for your body to digest than whole flaxseeds, so you get more of the health and nutrition benefits from the omega-3 fats, fiber and other nutrients found in flax.
Adding flax meal to your diet may help you avoid heart disease; this is due at least in part to the healthy omega-3 fats that flax contains. Regularly eating flax meal might help lower your cholesterol, your triglycerides and your blood pressure while reducing inflammation and making blood clots less likely, according to an article published in the "Canadian Journal of Cardiology" in November 2010.
You may also be able to limit your cancer risk by eating more flax meal. While most of the research on flax and cancer has been done using animals, flax may help limit your cancer risk as well as the size and number of tumors you get, according to an article published in the "Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences" in January 2012. However, the American Cancer Society notes that study results are conflicting in people, so more research is needed to figure out whether flax really helps prevent or treat cancer and how much you need to eat for the potential benefits.
If you have diabetes, flax contains a substance called lignan, which might help you better control your blood sugar levels by limiting large blood sugar spikes after you eat, although it doesn't seem to help lower your fasting blood sugar levels, according to the article in the "Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences." Try sprinkling flax onto your yogurt or into your cereal or adding it to smoothies or baked goods to help fit more flax into your diet.
Just 1 tablespoon of ground flax provides your recommended omega-3 fats for the day. Don't eat large amounts of flax at once, and drink water when you eat foods that contain flax meal, since it can have a laxative effect. Check with your doctor before adding flax meal to your diet if you take blood thinners, diabetes medications or birth control pills, since flax could interact with these and make them either more or less effective.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Flaxseed
- MayoClinic.com: Ground Flaxseed: Better Than Whole?
- MedlinePlus: Flaxseed
- American Cancer Society: Flaxseed
- Canadian Journal of Cardiology: The Cardiovascular Effects of Flaxseed and its Omega-3 Fatty Acid, Alpha-linolenic Acid
- Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences: Flax Seed: A Potential Medicinal Food
Based in Massachusetts, Jessica Bruso has been writing since 2008. She holds a master of science degree in food policy and applied nutrition and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, both from Tufts University.