Superfood Series A-Z: Flaxseed | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Superfood Series A-Z: Flaxseed

January 26, 2012

Must See Nutrition Videos

Derived from the flax plant, flaxseed can serve as a healthy supplement to any athlete's diet. Small—about the size of a sesame seed—and nutty, the seed can be found in small amounts in many cereals, breads and energy bars. However, by incorporating more into your diet, you can reap athletic benefits.

Flaxseed is an efficient source of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically the type also found in fish oil—alpha-linolenic acid or ALA. A mere tablespoon of flaxseeds provides 100 percent of your daily value in omega-3s and contains plentiful amounts of several other minerals, including manganese and magnesium. The ALA omega-3s are essential for enzyme regulation, cholesterol metabolism and maintenance of cell membranes. In flax oil—where the fats are found in their most natural, isolated form—the omega-3 fatty acids are extremely concentrated. Despite this, flax should not necessarily serve as a substitute for eating fish (or taking fish oil), because fish provides many other nutritional benefits.

Flaxseed can also play a role in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and it has been speculated to help prevent cancer, heart disease and insulin resistance. It contains a great deal of fiber, which promotes digestive function and regularity, and phytochemicals, including lignans (a chemical compound), which act like antioxidants, helping shield your cells from attacks by free radical.

Other benefits relate to muscle repair—vital for athletes. One tablespoon of flaxseed provides the essential amino acids needed for your body to assemble complete proteins. ALAs are also known to reduce inflammation in the body, and they can possibly even boost bone health.

Another benefit: consuming ALAs potentially serves to balance out the omega-6s, fatty acids found in foods such as animal fat and butter, by metabolizing into cardioprotective anti-inflammatories, which can counter the pro-inflammatory effect caused by the omega-6s.

You can buy flaxseed in any grocery. For convenience and digestive purposes, try to purchase it ground, not whole. Your body can absorb more nutrients when it's ground. Sprinkle it on oatmeal or cold cereal, or try it in a smoothie. Start out with half of the recommended serving and work your way up to the full serving of two to three tablespoons.

View more Superfoods that can help boost your game.

Source:  AHfoods.com
Photo:  drhyman.com

Topics: SUPERFOOD
Maddy Lucier
- As an associate editor for STACK, Maddy creates lifestyle, social media, gear and nutrition content for our audience of athletes. She played volleyball and basketball...
Maddy Lucier
- As an associate editor for STACK, Maddy creates lifestyle, social media, gear and nutrition content for our audience of athletes. She played volleyball and basketball...
Must See
Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs
Views: 1,088,316
Patrick Willis' Homegrown Off-Season Workout
Views: 1,218,941
Why NFL Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson Counts His Blessings
Views: 1,955,277

Featured Videos

James Harden Core Circuit Views: 112,056
Path to the Pros 2015: Danny Shelton Views: 152,673
Quest for the Ring: University of Kentucky Views: 543,285
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

The Boston Cannons'

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

The Case for Red Meat

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

10 Athlete-Approved, High-Protein Healthy Cereals

How to Deal With Your Sugar Cravings

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

5 Ways to Fuel Your Early Morning Workout

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

10 Easy Ways to Eat Real Food

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

Why You Need Dietary Fiber

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You