BOOST YOUR DIET AND LEARN HOW TO INCLUDE FLAXSEEDS
Flax seeds are tiny oil seeds that originated in the Middle East, where they have been consumed for over 6000 years. The Romans called this seed Linum usitatissimum, which means “very useful” and were probably aware of its health properties. Today linseeds have gained popularity as a health food due to their high content of plant compounds, like omega-3 fats, manganese, vitamin B1, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and selenium.
Omega 3 fats have powerful anti-inflammatory properties that promote health. The high fiber content in flax seeds may relieve constipation and positively affect your gut microbiome. Research suggests that flax seeds may be helpful for some people diagnosed with heart and blood vessel diseases. Apart from this, flax seeds may also help blood sugar management in people with type-2 diabetes. Studies also show that due to the phytochemical lignans found in flax seeds, eating these seeds may help decrease cancer growth and lower the risk of several types of cancer.
With their mild, nutty flavor and crispy, crunchy consistency, flax seeds are an all-around ingredient that can enhance the taste and texture of almost any recipe. They are also very inexpensive, hence great to use even for people on a tight budget.
Note: If you have a medical condition, or if taking medication, talk to your healthcare practitioner before adding them to your diet.
Now let’s explore the many ways to savor the health attributes of this potent seed.
1.Add them to smoothies. Put a couple of tablespoons of flax seeds in your blender and pulse for 10 seconds, then add all other ingredients. You can also buy ground flaxseeds and keep them in the freezer for longer freshness.
2.Add to granolas. Two tablespoons of flax seeds contain 4 grams of fiber. So, boost your fiber intake by mixing two to four tablespoons of flax seeds into your granola. Try this homemade granola instead of the store-bought: 110 grams of almonds, four tablespoons of peanut butter, one tablespoon of cinnamon, 150 grams of oats, two tablespoons of maple syrup, and three tablespoons of flax seeds. Bake everything for 12 – 15 minutes.
3.Sprinkle on food. The easiest way to add flax seeds to your daily diet is to sprinkle them on any yogurt or oatmeal, giving you a healthy start to your morning.
4.Use them as egg replacement. Flax seeds create a viscous liquid that mimics an egg. So, if you are out of eggs, mix one tablespoon of ground flax seeds and two tablespoons of water. Let the mixture rest while you gather the rest of your recipe ingredients.
5.Add to salad dressing. Swirl ground flax seeds into your favorite salad dressing to make sure you get tons of good minerals like phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, zinc, selenium, copper, and iron. Try this delicious salad dressing recipe:
-One cup of water
-½ cup of lemon juice
-Two cloves of garlic
-Salt and pepper to taste
-One teaspoon of granulated onion
-¼ cup of fresh basil
-¼ cup of finely ground flax seeds
Mix everything except flax seeds in a blender until smooth. Then add flax seeds and blend thoroughly.
6.Use as binder in burgers. Adding flax seeds to a vegetarian burger recipe is a great way to bind the ingredients together. Use ¼ cup of ground flax seeds instead of breadcrumbs, and a bonus here is that flax seeds are gluten-free!
7.Add to soups. Swap out part of the butter or cream for two tablespoons of ground flax seeds in a creamy soup. That will create a velvety and nutty finish in soups. Add a dash of whole flax seeds on top for a crunchy finisher for the finishing touch.
8.Add to pancakes. Make delicious flax seed, gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free pancakes by mixing ¼ cup of flax seeds, one ¼ cup of gluten-free flour, two teaspoons of baking powder, 1 cup of almond milk, one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and two tablespoons of maple syrup.
As you can see, there are many ways to incorporate these wonderful seeds to our diet and grinding them will help get the maximum amount of nutrients out of each teaspoon. Two to three tablespoons daily are sufficient and usually well tolerated by the majority of people but ensure to drink enough water to avoid possible side effects like bloating and discomfort.
Goyal, A. Sharma, V. Upadhyay, N. et al. (2014). Flax and flaxseed oil: an ancient medicine & modern functional food. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 51(9), pp.1633-53. doi: 10.1007/s13197-013-1247-9. Epub 2014 Jan 10. PMID: 25190822; PMCID: PMC4152533.
Kristensen, M. Jensen, M.G, Aarestrup, J. et al. (2012). Flaxseed dietary fibers lower cholesterol and increase fecal fat excretion, but magnitude of effect depend on food type. Nutrition and Metabolism, 9, 8. https://doi.org/10.1186/1743-7075-9-8
Parikh, M. Maddaford, T.G. Austria, J.A. et al. (2019). Dietary Flaxseed as a Strategy for Improving Human Health. Nutrients, 11(5), pp.1171. doi: 10.3390/nu11051171. PMID: 31130604; PMCID: PMC6567199.
Parikh, M. Netticadan, T. Pierce, G.N. (2018). Flaxseed: its bioactive components and their cardiovascular benefits. American Journal of Physiology. Heart and Circulatory Physiology, 314(2), pp.H146-H159. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00400.2017. Epub 2017 Nov 3. PMID: 29101172.
Parikh, M. Pierce, G.N. (2019). Dietary flaxseed: what we know and don’t know about its effects on cardiovascular disease. Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, 97(2), pp.75-81. doi: 10.1139/cjpp-2018-0547. Epub 2018 Dec 18. PMID: 30562057.
Rhee, Y. Brunt, A. (2011). Flaxseed supplementation improved insulin resistance in obese glucose intolerant people: a randomized crossover design. Nutrition Journal, 10:44. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-10-44. PMID: 21554710; PMCID: PMC3112403.
Thompson, L. Chen, J. Li, T. et al. (2005). Dietary Flaxseed Alters Tumor Biological Markers in Postmenopausal Breast Cancer. Clinical Cancer Research, 11 (10), pp.3828–3835. https://doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-04-2326