Flax seeds are an ancient crop cultivated for thousands of years. Their popularity has been renewed with the widespread interest in healthy foods over the past few decades. Most brown flax seeds are grown in Canada, the world leader in flax production. The golden variety is mainly grown in the U.S., especially in North Dakota.
Flax seeds contain an important nutrient: an omega-3 fatty acid, also called alpha-linolenic acid or ALA. A tablespoon of either type of flax contains approximately 50 calories and slightly more than 2 grams of beneficial protein. Brown flax seeds provides 2.5 grams of ALA per tablespoon, while golden flax seeds contain 2.1 grams. A tablespoon of either type of flax provides your entire daily recommended ALA intake, according to the Institute of Medicine. These fatty acids are associated with a reduced risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
Moreover, golden and brown flax seeds are rich in fiber, especially soluble fiber, which have been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels in diabetics and lower LDL cholesterol levels, in addition to preventing constipation. Flax seeds of any color provide the best dietary source of lignans, a compound that protects against some cancers, especially breast and colon cancer, by blocking the formation of tumors. Brown and golden flax seeds both contain approximately 3 grams of fiber, and contribute a considerable amount toward the 38 and 26 grams recommended daily for men and women.
Brown flax seeds is usually easier to find than golden flax seeds. The brown flax seeds can be found at almost any grocery stores, while you are more likely to find golden flax seeds in a health food store. Brown flax seeds are sold ground or whole, while golden flax seeds are usually only available whole.
Because of their color difference, golden flax seeds are easier to sneak into recipes. If your children are not willing to include flax in their diet, you can easily add golden flax seeds, whole or ground, to bread, muffins, cakes, cookies, granola bars, breakfast cereals and oatmeal without them knowing. The golden color is undetectable in these foods. However, brown flax seeds are more difficult to hide and may cause more problems with picky eaters.