The Ketotarian Meal Plan by Dr. Will Coleis a plant-forward lifestyle that uses fat as fuel to provide the body with a more effective and efficient energy source. We like to say that the Ketotarian meal plan is the greener and more sustainable way to benefit from ketosis.
Dr. Will Cole is a major fan of a tiny, nutrient packed food—the flaxseed. You’re likely familiar with flaxseeds but may not be aware of their numerous health benefits. Read on to learn about why you should be including more of these powerhouses in your diet in simple, delicious ways that will have a major impact on your wellbeing. .
1. Flaxseeds are full of plant-based healthy fats
Healthy fats are all the rage these days, and for good reason—eating small servingsof healthy fats is essential for satiety, cognitive function, and more. Flaxseeds have numerous health benefits, and this is probably the most incredible of them all. They contain a high concentration of Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of healthy fat that supports cardiovascular health, cognitive health, immunity, and hormone health. More specifically, flaxseeds contain alpha-linolenic acid, which the body converts to EPA and DHA, the healthy fats that are found in fish oil. As such, flaxseeds are an excellent choice for vegetarians and vegans who are often missing out on essential fatty acids. Spirulina and chlorella are other great options—fatty fish actually attain their Omega-3 fatty acids from algae!
2. Flaxseeds contain numerous essential minerals
We pay a lot of attention to vitamins like vitamin C and D, but minerals are just as important as vitamins—and are more often overlooked. Luckily, flaxseeds contain essential minerals (1) including copper, phosphorus, magnesium, and manganese, which play a role in literally hundreds of biochemical reactions that take place in thebody that regulate important functions such as blood sugar balance and nerve health. If you feel as though your blood sugar could use a bit of stabilizing, flaxseed could be an excellent ally for you. Sprinkle some in your salad or on a bed of steamed vegetables and you’ll likely notice more stabilized blood sugar throughout the day.
3. Flaxseeds are an excellent source of anti-cancer lignans
Lignans are potent phytochemicals that help form the structure of a plant’s cellular walls, but they also have benefits for humans. Flax is particularly high in two lignans: secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG) and matairesinol (2), which are converted into cancer-fighting compounds by the bacteria in the colon. Researchershave been studying lignan concentrations and dietary intake of lignans and their
effect on several different types of tumors and cancer risk for years, conducting randomized controlled trials to test the effect of dietary flaxseed on tumors (3) and the results have been promising. Protect your precious being from cancer with a sprinkling of these incredible seeds!
4. Looking for an energy boost? Flaxseeds contain essential B vitamins
Flaxseeds contain vitamins B1, B3, and B6. This is important because B1 helps convert carbohydrates into usable energy for the body; B2 is essential for red blood cell production; and B6 helps the body make antibodies and hemoglobin, maintain healthy nerve function, and break down proteins—all of which are essential for optimal health. You don’t want to miss out on B vitamins, and flaxseeds are a great way to increase your daily dose of these important vitamins. This is, again, especially worth noting if you are vegan or vegetarian. It’s easy to supplement with B vitamins, but we’re major fans of deriving our nutrients from real, whole foods first. If you’re feeling a bit drained of energy these days, you may be lacking in B vitamins. Incorporate some flaxseeds into your diet for a few days, and you’ll likely notice an increase in energy.
5. Flaxseeds are filled with gut-friendly fiber
Flaxseeds are unique in that they contain both soluble and insoluble fiber—both of which are essential for maintaining a healthy gut. Soluble fiber attracts water in the GI tract, makes you feel full, and is excellent for heart health. Think of soluble fiber as a sponge. Insoluble fiber is the type of fiber that helps foods pass more quickly through the GI tract, keeping your digestion regular. Think of insoluble fiber as a broom that sweeps toxins out of your body. Both kinds of fiber are essential for maintaining a healthy gut—AKA a healthy second brain—so make sure that you’re getting plenty of fiber every day from fruits, vegetables, and seeds like flaxseed. If you’re ready to add more flaxseeds into your diet—and we hope that you are, note that you can buy them ground or whole at most grocery stores. Dr. Will Cole recommends buying them whole and then grinding them at home using a coffee grinder, blender, or food processor, because ground flaxseeds lose nutritional value the longer they are exposed to oxygen. You can also buy flaxseed oil in a bottle or in capsule-form. We recommend that you keep your flaxseeds, sealed tightly, in your refrigerator to preserve their nutritional benefits.
Need some ideas on how to enjoy flaxseeds?
Try them in a smoothie, sprinkle them on a salad or yogurt bowl, on fruit, in baked goods, in salad dressings, or onto a bed of steamed vegetables for a dose of healthyfats and fiber that will enhance the nutritive content of any meal or snack. So, how much should you use? Dr. Will Cole recommends starting with one tablespoon a day. Increase your daily dose to two tablespoons if you’re not experiencing any bloating or other side effects.
Flaxseeds are a low-cost, no-frills way to support your digestive, hormone, and heart health in one simple daily ritual. Don’t sleep on these seeds, they’re easy to find and about as “super” as foods can get!
DR. WILL COLE
Dr. Will Cole, IFMCP, DNM, DC, leading functional medicine expert, consults people around the world via webcam and locally in Pittsburgh. He received his doctorate from Southern California University of Health Sciences and post doctorate education and training in functional medicine and clinical nutrition. He specializes in clinically researching underlying factors of chronic disease and customizing a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. Dr. Cole was named one of the top 50 functional medicine and integrative doctors in the nation and is the best selling author of Ketotarian and The Inflammation Spectrum.
This program is for anyone looking to enjoy the benefits of a ketogenic diet - restored energy, reduced inflammation, enhanced brain function, curbed cravings, weight loss, and balanced blood sugar - while still being plant-based.
The (Mostly) Plant-Based Plan to Burn Fat, Boost Your Energy, Crush Your Cravings, and Calm Inflammation
Healthy food trends -- flaxseeds: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (n.d.). RetrievedAugust 25, 2020, from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000728.htm
Kezimana, P., Dmitriev, A. A., Kudryavtseva, A. V., Romanova, E. V., & Melnikova, N. V. (2018). Secoisolariciresinol Diglucoside of Flaxseed and Its Metabolites: Biosynthesis and Potential for Nutraceuticals. Frontiers in genetics, 9, 641. https://doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2018.00641
Dietary Flaxseed Alters Tumor Biological Markers in Postmenopausal Breast Cancer Lilian U. Thompson, Jian Min Chen, Tong Li, Kathrin Strasser-Weippl and Paul E. GossClin Cancer Res May 15 2005 (11) (10) 3828-3835; DOI: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-04-2326 https://clincancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/11/10/3828.long