What’s a quiet force that shapes our well-being? Spoiler alert: it’s home to trillions of microorganisms, has its own nervous system, and produces approximately 90% of the body’s serotonin. If you guessed the gut, you’re spot on. Our digestive system plays a major role in everything from nutrient absorption to mental stability. Hello, gut-brain axis. All of that to say, is your diet helping or hindering your digestive health? With ultra-processed foods at our fingertips, it’s easy to tip into the latter. With that in mind, we’re highlighting a versatile seed that can transform your gut (and your poos, for that matter!). In the spirit of better bowel movements, here are 15 flaxseed recipes to boost your health.
Featured image by Michelle Nash.
What are flaxseeds?
Small in size—but colossal in health benefits—flaxseeds are nature’s tiny powerhouses. As their name suggests, these oval-shaped seeds come from the flax plant. Despite recent popularity in the wellness world, flaxseeds aren’t new news. These tiny seeds are centuries-old. An excellent source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and phytochemicals, you can enjoy these nutty-tasting seeds in endless ways. Whole, ground, or cold-pressed in the form of flaxseed oil, you can add flax to various dishes and recipes to enhance their nutritional value.
Ground Flax vs. Whole
If you’ve ever shopped for flaxseeds, you’ve likely come across whole and ground flax. Ultimately, both are nutritious. However, one type takes the cake. Ground flax, baby. When it comes to whole flaxseeds, they’re fairly difficult to crack (even with careful chewing). As such, if flaxseeds pass through your digestive tract unbroken, your body doesn’t receive the full nutritional benefits. That said, the process of grinding—in a blender, coffee grinder, or food processor—breaks up the seed, making it easier for your body to digest. At the end of the day, ground flaxseed provides more nutritional benefits. Want to grind your flaxseeds at home? We have a tutorial for you!
Flaxseed Storing Tips
Properly storing flaxseeds is essential to maintaining their freshness and nutritional value. Light and heat are not their friends! Therefore, it’s best to keep flaxseeds in an airtight container—such as a glass jar—in your fridge. When possible, buy whole flaxseeds (they have a longer shelf life) and grind your flaxseeds at home. Simply grind your flaxseeds as needed, ideally as part of your weekly meal prep. In turn, this prevents the seeds from going rancid.
Flaxseeds For Gut Health: What You Need To Know
When it comes to gut health, flaxseeds pack a punch. Loaded with dietary fiber (almost six grams for two tablespoons!), flaxseeds can help promote regular bowel movements and prevent constipation, keeping your digestive system functioning smoothly. Additionally, their high fiber content acts as a prebiotic, providing nourishment for the bacteria in your gut. Furthermore, flaxseeds contain lignans, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds can also help balance hormones! Enhance digestion, support a diverse microbial community, and foster a healthier gut environment with these tiny but mighty seeds.
15 Flaxseed Recipes for Gut-Friendly Goodness
Not sure how to incorporate flaxseed into your daily diet? We have you covered. From oatmeal and smoothies to salads and energy bites, a dash of flax does the body good. Most of these recipes are gluten-free and vegan, too!
Simply swap the tablespoon of chia seeds for ground flax. Pair with a chilled glass of non-dairy milk and thank us later.
Along with fruit and nuts, top your bowl with a spoonful of flax for added fiber. Your weekday breakfast just got a simple (yet effective) upgrade.
While fall is still months away, these pumpkin muffins always hit the spot. Made without eggs—and with ground flax instead—these are perfect for those with allergies or food preferences. Kids love them as well!
Keeping with a sweet theme, these brownies are to die for. You need them in your life. Yes, need. They’re fudgy and decadent, yet made with wholesome ingredients. Need we say more?
Segueing into smoothies, they’re the perfect vehicle for a tablespoon or two of flax. You can add your seeds, whole, as the blender will grind them up for optimal absorption. If you’re not convinced, know this: it’s Jennifer Garner-approved.
A family favorite! This smoothie is loaded with energizing fruit, antioxidants, and probiotics. Summer never tasted so refreshing.
With a kick from fresh ginger and the natural sweetness of Black Mission figs, you’ll want to add this smoothie to your lunch rotation—stat. It’s creamy, earthy, and bursting with flavor.
Simple yet effective, you probably already have most of these ingredients at home! Add a tablespoon of flax for an extra dose of healthy fats and fiber.
With ingredients like tahini, nutritional yeast, and honey, this pasta salad is a flavor explosion—in the best way possible. Sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons of ground flax on top of your plate, and et voilà, you’ve added a few more grams of fiber to your meal.
In many ways, every salad is an opportunity to add a dash of ground flax on top. And this salad with fruit is no exception. Add a few teaspoons of flax to the ricotta dip—no one will notice!
Without changing the consistency or texture, add one tablespoon of ground flax to this wholesome, unique granola recipe. For an additional boost of fiber, sprinkle another few teaspoons on top of your bowl.
The make-ahead breakfast that’s perfect for busy mornings. Creamy, perfectly spiced, and slightly sweet, you’ll never know it’s loaded with fiber and healthy fats. Add an additional two teaspoons of flax to the recipe.
A match made in heaven, peanut butter and banana are a timeless classic. Amp up the nutrition profile with a dash of flax on top.
Speaking of bananas, if you haven’t tried this banana cashew baked oatmeal, here’s your gentle nudge. Made with nourishing ingredients—like flaxseed, coconut oil, and cashews—a bowl of these baked oats will keep you full all morning.
We may be biased, but this is the most delicious and satisfying midday meal. Fiber-rich grains meet protein and veggies—topped with a lemon-yogurt dressing, it’s everything and more. Drizzle the top with flaxseed oil and you’re good to go.