Kate Cornell was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in June of 2005. Since then, she has controlled diabetes through dietary changes, exercise, and, more recently, metformin. She shares her experiences and lessons learned here and on her blog, kates-sweet-success.blogspot.com, which was named as one of the top diabetes blogs for 2015 by Healthline.com.

Flax is being touted as a healthy ingredient that we should be eating in order to maintain a healthy heart. As a reminder, heart health is important to us since heart disease is one of the major complications we can develop if we don’t control our condition.

So what is flax, and why and how should we eat it? Hope Warshaw is a registered dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator, and she does a wonderful job of explaining flax and how to use it in our diet in this Washington Post article. Here are a few highlights.

The good stuff in flax

Flax contains omega-3 fatty acids and quite a bit of fiber. One-quarter cup of flax seeds contain 7.6 grams of fiber. That equates to nearly two grams per tablespoon. Omega-3s and fiber help rid your body of LDL (also known as the “bad” cholesterol).

“Flax has been associated with other health benefits, such as reducing chronic inflammation, decreasing hot flashes and ovarian cysts in women, reducing the risk of some cancers, such as breast cancer, and treating heart disease,” says Warshaw. There hasn’t been enough research done to recommend flax for these health issues, but it can’t hurt.

How to get your flax

Flax can be purchased in many forms: flax meal, whole seeds, oil, and capsules. Whole seeds shouldn’t be consumed in large quantities without lots of water, or intestinal blockage may occur. Grind them into meal for the best results.

There is no dietary recommendation for daily flax seed intake, but one tablespoon per day should be sufficient.

Sprinkle it on your cereal or salads, top your yogurt with it, sprinkle it on some berries, or add it to your homemade muffins, breads, or pancakes.

No matter how you use it, flax is an easy way to add omega-3 fatty acid and fiber to your diet.

To learn more on this topic:

Dietary Fats: Do You Know Which Types to Choose?
Diabetic Dieting: An Easier Approach to Eating Well
Healthy Diabetic Eating Tips from a CDE