The moment I turned vegetarian, protein sources were all anyone could talk about. Eggs, nuts, whey… Really, they should have been pointing me towards flaxseeds!
When you go from eating meat to calling it quits, there are a number of nutrients you have to consider, including protein, but also b vitamins, and omega fatty acids. Plant-based complete proteins are something I did a lot of research into in the beginning, and they’ve served me well – in fact, I’ve never noticed a difference in the speed of my nail growth or hair growth, and my body clearly hasn’t wasted away! But when it comes to the other nutrients, I wasn’t really quite sure about what I was missing. Flaxseeds, or flaxseed oil, essentially covers all of the areas that I missed.
I’m sure you’ve seen people consuming cod liver oil daily – well, flaxseed oil contains three times the amount of omegas 3 and 6. Which is really quite amazing, considering it’s a wholly plant-based food! On top of that, it contains no cholesterol, compared to cod liver oil where one tablespoon has 26% of your recommended daily allowance.
And the reason why omegas 3 and 6 are important in your diet is that they are essential for a healthy body – they aid the creation and maintenance of brain and nerve cells, and they cannot be created by the body itself. You have to eat them to get their essential benefits!
As well as being a great omega 3 and 6 source, flaxseed is also a high in polyunsaturated fats, which are suggested to prevent heart disease, as well as protect against diabetes, and alzheimers. It also has many polyphenols, a.k.a. antioxidants, as well as a good dose of vitamin b1, copper, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, and selenium.
I’ve luckily now picked up a better routine when it comes to flaxseed, and I include it where I can – I put flaxseed meal in my overnight oats, and organic flaxseed oil* in anything that will absorb it, whether it be smoothies, porridge, or even cakes. You can also eat it neat, with a spoonful or two a day covering over your body’s needs, although it does have a rather bitter taste (no-one said this health thing was easy!).