The good for you food of the week is flax seed. You can find flax in several forms. Look for it in the health food aisle or bulk bins as whole seeds, or ground into a powder. Flax seed oil and flour are also available. You’ll often find the reddish brown seeds although a golden variety is also available. They’re inexpensive, are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, and can be added to just about anything, making flax seed a great bang for your nutritional buck.
Native to the Fertile Crescent, flax is an ancient plant used for both its seed and fibers. Parts of the plant can be used to make paper, dye, fabric like linen, fishing nets, hair gels, and soap. A mere two tablespoons of flax seed will give you nearly one and a half times your daily requirement of omega-3 fatty acids. In the same serving, you’ll also get manganese, folate, dietary fiber, magnesium, copper, protein, phosphorous, and vitamin B6. The omega-3s in flax seed can help lower cholesterol, protect against heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, reduce inflammation, lower and help control blood pressure, protect your bones, and provide beneficial fiber. They can also have a laxative effect, so you may want to integrate them slowly into your diet, and be sure you’re drinking plenty of water.
If you buy whole seeds, it’s best to grind them as they can be hard to digest otherwise. Or just purchase the powder. It’s a good idea to keep your ground flax seed refrigerated in a sealed container to prevent it from going rancid. Whole flax seeds have a much longer shelf life, up to four months. So if you have a grinder, this is a nice option if you want to grind as you go. Flax seed oil is meant to be used on foods that have already been cooked, not during the cooking process.
You can sneak flax into a variety of foods without detection. Sprinkle whole seeds over cooked vegetables or salads for a slightly nutty flavor. Add them to batter for muffins, breads and cookies. Ground flax seed is terrific in a smoothie or blended into yogurt or oatmeal. You can even substitute one tablespoon of ground flax seed mixed with three tablespoons of water for an egg, to be used as a binder, in a recipe.
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Health and fitness expert MizFitOnline explains the benefits of flax seed