Flaxseeds have been consumed for health purposes for thousands of years before they became popular as a superfood. Flaxseeds aka common flax or linseeds was cultivated as early as 3,000 BC and is purported to help the body fight various diseases.
Today, flaxseed can be found in a lot of dishes from smoothies to cakes to crackers to oatmeal and much more. Flaxseeds have a nutty flavor with a rich, earthy aroma.
Flaxseeds are available in two varieties – brown and golden. The brown variety is the only one I’ve seen so far in Dubai but the golden variety might be available somewhere. The nutritional benefits are the same. Below is a juxtaposition of brown and golden flaxseeds:-
Health Benefits of Flaxseeds
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Flaxseeds contain a significant amount of the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acid ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), a plant-based fatty acid that can only be obtained via the diet as our bodies can’t produce it. This essential fatty acid also helps lower cholesterol levels in the body. If you are a vegetarian or don’t like fish, flaxseeds is a great way to get omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.
Flaxseeds are packed with antioxidants known as lignans. Lignans help reduce free radical damage in the body, which leads to a healthier body, glowing skin and cell regeneration. Lignans also have antiviral and antibacterial properties, which help regulate hormone imbalances in the body.
3. Rich in Dietary Fiber
The high dietary fiber content in flaxseeds promotes a healthy bowel, improves digestive health and regulates blood sugar.
4. High Quality Protein
Flaxseeds contain high-quality plant-based protein and are rich in amino acids. It can be a great alternative for protein if you are a vegetarian. Additionally, flaxseeds are great for gluten-free or vegan cooking and baking.
Ground vs Whole Flaxseeds. Which is Better?
Flaxseeds have to be broken down in order to avail of the health benefits. Though you can consume whole flaxseeds, our bodies cannot access the benefits if consumed in this form.
Fortunately, it doesn’t take that much to convert whole flaxseeds to grounds flaxseeds on your own. All you need is a blender or the mill attachment that comes with your blender. You can also purchase ground flaxseeds.
Are Flaxseeds Good for Weight Loss?
Flaxseeds are full of healthy fats and dietary fiber. As a result, they help your stomach feel full for longer periods of time thus reducing the number of calories you eat every day. Fewer calories every day means weight loss.
The antiviral and antibacterial properties will also help regular hormonal imbalances in the body, which may be making it difficult to lose weight.
This doesn’t mean you can start consuming inordinate amounts of flaxseeds as this can lead to constipation and bowel constriction
How Much Flaxseeds Can You Eat Daily?
A couple of tablespoons of flaxseeds every day is all you need to get the benefits of flaxseeds in your diet.
11 Ways to Add Flaxseeds to Your Diet
1. Daily Smoothie
One of the most popular ways to add flaxseeds into your diet is in a smoothie. You can get a wide variety of daily nutrients in one smoothie. 2 tablespoons are enough. You can also add 2 tablespoons of chia seeds. You can get some great smoothie ideas HERE.
2. Yoghurt or Oatmeal
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds over your yoghurt or oatmeal. You can also add a tablespoon of Manuka honey for more benefits.
Mix ground flaxseeds in for baking items such as muffins, cookies, bread, flatbread, and cakes. The amount you mix in depends on how much you’re baking but a few tablespoons should be more than enough.
4. DIY Granola
If you make your own granola at home, you can add a few tablespoons of ground flaxseeds to the recipe. If you purchase ready-made granola at the store, you can mix the ground flaxseeds in as well.
5. Egg Substitute
Ground flaxseeds can be used as a substitute for eggs in vegetarian and vegan recipes. It won’t taste exactly the same but it still tastes good.
6. Soups and Purees
If you don’t like the taste of flaxseeds, you can hide it in dishes such as soups and purees. Add the flaxseeds into the recipe just before you blend and it will disappear quite nicely into it.
7. Salad Topping
Sprinkle flaxseeds over any salad for some added crunch just before you serve.
8. Meat and Veggie Coating
Mix flaxseeds in with the coating of recipes that require dredging through flour like breaded chicken, chicken parmigiana, etc. You can also use it as a coating for deep frying vegetable fries.
9. Ground Meat
Dishes like meatballs, meatloaf and chicken balls that require binding elements can include 1 – 2 tablespoons of flaxseeds to replace or supplement the breadcrumbs.
10. Sandwich Spread
Mix flaxseeds in with your favorite sandwich spread such as mayonnaise, chipotle sauce, peanut butter, etc.
11. Meal Garnishing
Garnish dishes like pancakes, toast, waffles and grilled and sautéed fruits and veggies with ground flaxseeds before consuming.
For even more excellent flaxseed recipe ideas, have a look at the extensive database on All Recipes.
How to Preserve Flaxseeds?
Whole flaxseeds last for a long time if kept in an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator but ground flaxseeds may become rancid within a short time. Store in an airtight container as soon as possible after grinding and keep in the refrigerator. This will keep oxidization at bay and help the ground flaxseeds last for up to 9 months.
Where to Buy Flaxseeds?
When I began consuming flaxseeds a long time ago, the only place I could find them was at Organic Foods & Cafe but nowadays, you can find flaxseeds at budget prices in every major supermarket.
You can also order it online. Some great brands are Bob’s Red Mill Golden Flaxseeds, Spectrum Essentials Organic Ground Premium Flaxseed and Barlean’s Organic Forti-Flax Premium Ground Flaxseed.
Have you ever tried flaxseeds? Do you have a favourite flaxseed recipe? Share in the comments section.