For those who do not know about this marvel: Flax is a plant which grows in parts of Europe, Asia and Africa and has numerous usages. Also known as linseed or alsi,the plant is used for making fabric, paper, medicines, soap, etc. Seeds of flax plant are now gaining popularity for their health benefits and nutritive value.
The seeds of Flax are a rich source of fiber, essential fatty acids (α-linolenic acid, ω-3, ω-6, these are called essential as our body cannot synthesize them on its own) and other micronutrients. Because of its excellent fatty acid profile and high fiber content it has been touted as an admirable addition to the daily diet. Two kinds of flaxseeds are available, brown and golden (or yellow) flaxseeds; however there is no difference in their nutritive value or health benefits.
- Heart Health: intake of flax seed decreases cholesterol levels, lowers risk for heart attacks, plaque formation, decreases triglyceride levels, and decreases blood pressure.
- Increases bone strength
- Good for skin especially dry and flaky skin
- A good source of DHA, a brain-building nutrient
- Provides essential fatty acids which are essential for structure of brain, improve memory, moods & concentration
- Contains lignan which makes it a natural laxative. It also lubricates & absorbs toxins.
- Rich in phytoestrogens (plant form of female reproductive hormone, estrogen) thus might help menopausal women in relieving the symptoms
Knowing the widespread benefits of flaxseeds it becomes all the more logical to find ways of incorporating it in our diet. Flaxseeds need to be roasted and / or ground before consumption. As grinding decreases the shelf life, care must be taken to properly store (store in cool place in an airtight container) and consume within few days. Try following ways to add flaxseeds to your daily diet.
- If you can bear the slight bitter flavor of flaxseeds, try having them 1 teaspoon once a day post meals
- Add ground flaxseeds to your breakfast cereal to make it crunchy
- Salad dressings and sandwich spreads can be made healthy by adding ground flaxseeds to spreads and dressings
- Other foods in which you may sprinkle little bit of flax powder are raita, milk shakes, smoothies, yoghurts, cakes, cookies, vegetable preparations, etc.
- Flaxseed oil can also be included in the diet but it will not have the added advantage of fiber and protein present in the seeds
At this point I would also like to share my MIL’s recipe of flaxseed parantha. Take roasted ground flaxseeds; add chopped onion, chopped green chilli, lemon juice, salt and stuffed red chilli pickle (approx 1 chilli for 6-8 paranthas). Mix them together and use this as stuffing for the paranthas. Team it up with curd.
Do try the recipe; I am waiting for your feedback.
Add flaxseeds to your diet slowly. Start with 1 teaspoon and gradually increase it to 2 tablespoons a day. Do not forget to drink good amount of water along with. Enjoy good health.
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