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Flaxseeds: Why We Want to Eat Them

Flaxseeds are an excellent source of essential fatty acids, protein, carbohydrates, fiber, the phytochemical lignan, potassium and other nutrients.  That means they’re good for our heart with help in lowering cholesterol and keeps our digestive system running smoothly.  When you buy flax in the oil form, you are missing out on the protein, the lignans, and the dietary fiber, leaving you only with the omega-3 fatty acids.

Whole flaxseeds easily pass through the intestines undigested. In order to get all the nutritional goodness out of flaxseeds, they must be ground first. Use a coffee grinder to grind the seeds into a fine meal then store in an airtight container in the freezer for several months. Refrigerating whole seeds is good for extending their freshness.

Although the Institute of Medicine has not set a recommended daily intake for omega-3 fatty acids, it has established adequate intake amounts of between 1.1 and 1.6 grams a day for adults. One tablespoon of ground flaxseed provides 1.6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids. See the nutritional facts chart below for nutrient values.

flaxseed-recipe

USES

Ground flaxseed can be mixed into soups, casseroles, baked goods, salads, and sauces.  Stir in one tablespoon ground flaxseed into single servings of smoothies, yogurt, cold cereal, and oatmeal. Add a teaspoon to egg-free mayonnaise or mustard when making a sandwich.

Flax “eggs” can be made to look, feel, and act exactly like egg whites. Whisk 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons water until the mixture turns into a thick, white milkshake consistency. Use for dressings, sauces, mayonnaise, or baked goods.

RECIPES

WHERE TO SHOP

  • baking provisions aisle in large-chain grocery stores
  • bulk section in specialty grocery stores
  • reputable online stores

Flaxseeds are relatively inexpensive.  There’s no reason why you can’t add them to your list of common pantry staples.  Give those recipes a try then come back here and let me know what you thought.

 

References
Livestrong.com: Benefits and Uses of Flaxseed
MayoClinic.com: Ground flaxseed: Better than whole?
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition by Julieanna Hever, M.S., R.D., C.P.T
NutritionData.com: Seeds, flaxseed

 



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1 comment to Flaxseeds: Why We Want to Eat Them

  • Jill McKeever

    While researching the uses of flaxseeds, I learned egg producers feed flax to the chickens so the eggs will contain higher amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids. Conventionally raised eggs are unnaturally low in omega-3, due to the hens’ diet of grains and soybeans.

    I’m sticking to substituting eggs with ground flaxseed whenever eggs are called for in a recipe. I’ll skip the cholesterol and go for all the goodness.

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