Did you know that just a few pinches of flaxseed added to your favorite foods can make a huge difference in the quality of your diet?
Flax is the plant from which we get linin, but it also has edible seeds and oil and people have been eating it for thousands of years. It has 3 grams fo fiber per tablespoon and has lots of beneficial nutrients including protein. What’s not to like?
When you start adding more fiber to your diet, lots of good things can start happening, like lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, reducing the risk for heart disease and stroke. The combination of oil and fiber in flaxseed make it an excellent laxative and an effective remedy for sluggish bowels and chronic constipation. Flaxseed contains plant estrogens called lignans. These natural compounds have been found to possess anti-tumor properties and appear to be especially beneficial in reducing the risk of breast and colon cancer. Eating flaxseed is believed to help prevent breast cancer, and now researchers from the University of Toronto found that it also may be useful in the treatment of the disease. As plant estrogens, the lignans in flaxseed can help alleviate some symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, mood swings, joint and muscle pains. That’s a lot of good stuff!
Want more? Flaxseed is a great source of an essential omega-3 fatty acid known as alpha-linolenic acid, which cannot be manufactured by the human body, they must be obtained from the diet.consumption of these beneficial fats has been shown to reduce the risk for heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels and decreasing the clotting potential of the blood. The essential fatty acids in flaxseed have been credited with improving symptoms of dry eyes, psoriasis and eczema. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to possess potent anti-inflammatory properties, making flax a popular remedy for arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. Amazing, isn’t it?
So, are you ready to experiment with Flax? You can buy it at most supermarkets and/or health food stores. Whole flaxseed can be eaten alone or added to other foods, but because the seeds may not be fully digested, other forms may be more beneficial. Ground flaxseed is easier to digest and simple to use. I buy the whole flax seeds and grind them in my coffee maker; it works perfectly. Once ground, you can add a tablespoon or two to hot or cold cereals or to a cup of yogurt. I also add about a quarter-cup of ground flaxseed to recipes, including muffins and breads, as well as meatloaf, chili and casseroles.
Flaxseed oil is best used as an ingredient in cold preparations, such as salad dressings and smoothies. While the oil is a good source of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, it doesn’t have the protein that you find in the seeds.
Want a recipe?
I made these ones up years ago and still enjoy them today.
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup whole-wheat flour
2 cups wheat bran
1 cup oat bran 2 teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Italian seasonings
¼ cup flaxseeds
2 egg whites
1 cup skim milk and 2 tablespoons vinegar Nonstick cooking spray DIRECTIONS:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat 12 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.
In a small bowl, mix together milk and vinegar; set aside. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree and egg whites. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, wheat and oat bran, salt and Italian Seasoning. Stir in milk and vinegar mixture.
Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared cups. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until springy to the touch and lightly browned. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
12 Servings, 109 Calories, 2.6 g Fat, 22.5 g Carbohydrates, 7.6 g Fiber and 6.3 g Protein