Heard about the benefits of Flax seeds? I bet you have…. And now, you are thinking of possible ways of introducing it to your daily diet. Right??
For those who do not know about this marvel: Flax is a plant that 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 the 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 flaxseed 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 the structure of the brain, improve memory, moods & concentration
- Contains lignan which makes it a natural laxative. It also lubricates & absorbs toxins.
- Rich in phytoestrogens (the plant form of the female reproductive hormone, estrogen) thus might help menopausal women in relieving the symptoms
Knowing the widespread benefits of flaxseeds, it becomes logical to find ways of incorporating them into our diet. Flaxseeds can be consumed raw or roasted to enhance their nutty flavour. They should ideally be ground before consumption for better absorption. As grinding decreases the shelf life, care must be taken to properly store (store in a cool place in an airtight container) and consume within few days. Try the following ways to add flaxseeds to your daily diet.
- If you can bear the slightly bitter flavour 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 a little bit of flax powder are raita, milkshakes, 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 a recipe to use flaxseeds: flaxseed parantha (have stuffed roti instead if you are trying to watch your weight). 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 and use this as stuffing for the paranthas. Team it up with curd.
Do try the recipe; and post your feedback in comments.
Add flaxseeds to your diet slowly. Start with 1 teaspoon and gradually increase it to 2 tablespoons a day. Do not forget to drink a good amount of water along with it. Enjoy good health.
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