Don’t forget about this health food staple. Even though it produces the gorgeous little flower shown in the picture above, the glamorous days may be over for flax because chia, hemp, and other super seeds have become popular.
So should you eat it? If you are an athlete, the answer is yes. Well actually, if you are walking, talking, eating, and breathing, the answer is yes.
Omega-3 fatty acids found in flax oil convert in the body to hormone-like compounds that dictate literally every biological process including, but not limited to:
- Steroid production
- Immune response
- Regulation of muscle contraction and reflexes
- Construction of healthy cell walls
- Transport of oxygen to cells
- Regulating nerve transmission
- Energy source for the heart muscle
Upwards of 20% of the U.S. population exhibits undetectable blood levels of omega-3’s. Flax is an easy, delicious, economical way to bring up our omega 3 levels.
Flax for Athletes
Athletes may easily fall into this deficiency category due to an increase demand and utilization of nutrients, and a tendency toward fat phobias. Remember that good fats actually act as anti-fats; instead of adding unsightly body fat, they actually stoke the metabolic processes in the body that increase fat loss.
Athletes may also enjoy these benefits:
- Enhanced performance
- Improved stamina and endurance
- Shortened recovery time
- Good source of clean energy
- Reduced soreness
- Increased uptake and utilization of oxygen
Flax seed and oil are as important as other things you might take to support your performance.
Ways to eat flax
- Add the milled seed to cereal, smoothies, yogurt, baked goods, and nut butters.
- Add the oil to salad dressings, smoothies, dips, and drizzle on pasta and steamed rice and veggies. Want a recipe? How about Gluten Free Vegan Banana Muffins, where the flax seed can act as an egg replacement!
The general dose is one tablespoon per 100lbs of body weight. Look for fresh pressed oil and milled seeds. Unrefined, unfiltered, high lignan, and organic, are other important buzz words when it comes to purchasing high quality flax.
Photo credits: fineartamerica.com, thesummitleague.org and eatseed.com