• Mandy Raff

The Good Seed


Pretty much any female who’s come into contact with me in the past couple of years has probably heard me go on about flax seeds. They’re one of my favourite discoveries. Others may worship chia seeds, goji berries and a range of other superfoods (none of which I have a problem with, by the way) but my personal number one is flax seed!


I first came across the benefits of flax seeds while researching natural ways to deal with menopausal symptoms. There’s a history of breast cancer in my family, so I didn’t want to go down the HRT route. Flax seeds contain lignans, which help balance hormone levels and can relieve symptoms such as hot flushes, making them a true and safer alternative to artificial hormones. How fantastic is that?


But flax seeds do so much more than help with hormone balance girls! They are a great source of –​

  • omega 3

  • protein

  • minerals and vitamins

  • antioxidants

  • natural fibre

Consuming flax seeds has been shown to protect against cancer and heart disease, lower cholesterol, control blood sugar and improve digestive health. As a source of good oils, it’s great for hair, skin and nails. It can even help with dry eyes.


Let’s be clear, I’m not a health professional, so my advice is based on personal research and experience. I’ve definitely had great results from adding flax seed into my nutritional regime (that’s me trying to avoid the word ‘diet’ lol). I’ve experienced first-hand improvements to my hormonal health and general well-being. I also believe the positive effects flax seeds have on hormonal balance are not limited to women of menopausal age, and the effects in general are of course not limited to women!


So how do we get this goodness into our bodies? The best way is to grind the whole seeds (preferably organic) into flax seed meal and add this into shakes or sprinkle it on cereal or porridge. Now here’s the thing, flax seed meal is not particularly tasty – not nasty at all, but it’s not going to add a fabulous flavour to anything. Don’t let this put you off. Just blend it in with something else that does have flavour.


Ground flax seeds can also be used as an egg alternative in baking/cooking. If you let the flax seed meal sit in some water for a while, it absorbs the water and swells into a glutinous consistency. I make pancakes using flax seeds and if I leave the batter to sit, it continues to thicken as the flax seed meal absorbs moisture. I’m not a cooking expert either, but if you don’t eat eggs, flax seed meal might be worth investigating further as an egg substitute with extra health benefits!


I grind flax seeds as I need them, or store freshly ground flax seed meal in the freezer short term. I prefer to add it to my daily smoothie – recipe below – and try to consume around 2 - 3 tablespoons of flax seed meal a day.


Mandy’s Daily Smoothie


1 – 2 bananas (depending on size)

1 kiwi fruit (could use apple or other fruit of choice)

½ cup of blueberries (I use frozen ones)

½ cup almond milk

2 tablespoons ground flax seeds

1 handful of baby spinach

1 heaped tablespoon of pea protein powder (optional – I don’t always add this

Add a little water if the consistency is too thick (personal preference)

Blend or whizz!


This makes a very generous amount. For those of you thinking it seems like a lot of fruit and are worried about the sugar content, I increased my daily fruit intake substantially about 5 months ago and it has made no difference at all to my weight. But that’s a whole other conversation!


I’d love to hear from others who consume flax seeds and have seen the results as I have. Also, please share any recipes you might have! For those who’ve been inspired and would like to give flax seeds a go, I hope they help you ‘find beautiful’.


Mandy


#womenshealth #nutrition #healthyliving #menopause