Monthly Food Feature: Flaxseed


 

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Whole Flaxseeds

If you’re looking for a way to add more Omega-3 fatty acids into your diet, consider using flaxseeds and flaxseed oil in more of your dishes.  Flaxseeds are a great source of nutrition and one of the best seeds you can include in your diet.

 

Nutritional Profile

In particular, flaxseeds are beneficial for health because they are:

  • high in omega-3 fatty acids in the form of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid),
  • high in lignans with powerful antioxidant properties, and
  • contain mucilage (water-soluble, gel-forming fiber) that helps to support digestive health.  (Ref 1)

Two tablespoons of ground flaxseed contains about 75 calories and is:

  • An excellent source of omega-3 fats,
  • A very good source of vitamin B1, copper, maganese, and fiber, and
  • A good source of magnesium, phosphorous, and selenium.

Health Benefits

What kind of health benefits do flaxseeds offer?

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Ground Flaxseeds

Because of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, flaxseeds are important for cardiovascular health, potential prevention of certain cancers like breast cancer, prostate, and colon cancer, and for overall digestive health.  In addition, these properties may make flaxseeds ideal for preventing insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, asthma, and many other diseases related to oxidative stress.

The high fiber content of flaxseed may help reduce the ratio of LDL-to-HDL cholesterol, improve blood pressure (primarily for flaxseed oil), and for digestive health may “help to delay gastric emptying and can improve intestinal absorption of nutrients.” (WHFOODS)

Flaxseed Oil

In particular, flaxseed oil may be effective in improving blood pressure, and may be helpful for relieving symptoms of Crohn’s disease and Colitis.

There is a difference between flaxseeds (whole or ground) and its oil.  The oil may be  pressed from flaxseeds and stripped of its particles like lignans or comes in an enriched form, with lignans and other particles added. To get maximum benefit from the oil, use the enriched flaxseed oil.

Flaxseed oil is delicate and can oxidate, so it is not used as a cooking oil.  Instead, add it to foods after cooking them or use in dressings.

Store flaxseed oil in the fridge, especially after opening, and keep away from light.

Easy Recipes

Adding ground flaxseed is a good way to boost the nutritional content of many foods, including baked goods, smoothies, crumb-like coatings, yogurt and oatmeal topping, etc.  Flaxseed oil is a great substitute for olive oil in dressings.

Try the following recipes made with whole flaxseeds and ground flaxseeds, and our original dressing recipe in the Recipe of the Week.

From Whole Foods Market: 

Chocolate Gelt Buttons

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Photo credit: Whole Foods Market

 

Yummy chocolate treats that don’t require baking.  Time saver and delicious.

 

 

 

 

Originally from Dr. William Davis in Wheat Belly and as published in Impact Magazine:

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Flaxseed Wrap
(Makes 1 serving)

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Photo credit: Phojars at food.com

Wraps made with flaxseed and egg are surprisingly tasty. Once you get the hang of it, you can whip up a wrap or two in a few minutes. If you have two pie pans, you can make two wraps at a time and accelerate the process (though they will need to be microwaved one at a time). Flaxseed wraps can be refrigerated and will keep for a few days. Healthy variations are possible by using vegetable juices (such as spinach or carrot) in place of water.

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp. ground flaxseeds
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • Pinch of fine sea salt or celery salt
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted, plus more for greasing the pans
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  1. Mix the ground flaxseeds, baking powder, onion powder, paprika, and salt in a small bowl. Stir in 1 tbsp. coconut oil. Beat in the egg and 1 tbsp. water until blended.
    Grease a microwave-safe glass or plastic pie pan with coconut oil. Pour in the batter and spread evenly over the bottom. Microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes until cooked. Let cool about 5 minutes.
  2. To remove, lift up an edge with a spatula. If it sticks, use a pancake turner to gently loosen from the pan. Flip the wrap over and top with desired ingredients.

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Recipe of the Week: Flaxseed Oil Dressing

 

References:

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About aspireperspirenourish

We are sisters who share a passion for healthy living! Each of us brings different knowledge and skills to this project, some similar experiences and a whole lot of shared passion for mindful, fit and nutritious living. This blog is our way of spreading our knowledge and passion about motivation, fitness and nutrition for everyday living. It is also our forum for finding like-minded people from whom we can learn. To learn more about us, please see our "About" page.
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