Why Eating Lots of Flax May Not Meet Your Omega-3 Needs
November 22, 2019
Flax is a fabulous source of omega-3 ALA, but our bodies need vitamin, mineral, and enzyme cofactors to buddy up with it in order to convert it into the most usable forms, EPA and DHA. And a lot of things throw the conversion off-course, including nutrient deficiencies, alcohol, sugar, caffeine, medications/drugs, and of course stress!
So it's very difficult for our bodies to derive enough of these most bioavailable omegas from flax alone.
That's not to say that flax seeds - and other high omega seeds - don't still have their benefits!
I love using flax seeds - whole, stored in the freezer, and ground fresh as I need them in my coffee grinder - as part of my seed cycling routine.
Basically, seed cycling is a practice of eating specific seeds at specific points in your menstrual cycle: 1 Tbsp each flax + pumpkin seeds every day during days 1-14 (the follicular phase, from the start of your period to expected ovulation), then switching to 1 Tbsp each sunflower + sesame seeds during days 15-28 (the luteal phase, from ovulation to the start of your next period).
I also love getting omegas from a variety of sources, with a couple of other favourites including walnuts as another high omega-3 source, and hemp hearts as a perfectly balanced source of both omega-3 and omega-6.
But what about that EPA-DHA conversion? I typically suggest anyone following even a whole-food plant-based diet incorporate an algae-source EPA-DHA supplement. My favourites are NutraVege Omega-3 Plant, which is a great-tasting oil that comes in a variety of flavours and strengths, and Barlean's Vegan Total Omega, which has the benefit of being great-tasting as well as emulsified for better digestion.
Add these seeds and supplements to your next smoothie, chia pudding, or overnight oats for a great anti-inflammatory omega boost!