Flaxseed may look unimpressive at a first glance, but these small seeds are a great opportunity for added nutrition in your diet. Full of fiber and heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, flax can provide you with several health benefits. Research shows that eating flaxseeds regularly can improve digestion and decrease your risk of developing certain chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
Flaxseed can be purchased as flour, oil, or in seed form and can be found at your local health food store. If you buy the seeds themselves, be sure to grind them at home so your body can absorb the nutrients easily. You can grind them in your coffee grinder or in a food processor. Be sure to store your flaxseeds in a cool, dry place.
Flaxseed can easily be incorporated into the diet using the seeds and oil. Flaxseed oil is commonly used in salads, and the crushed seeds are used in yogurts, cereals, salads, soups, and more! The general recommendation for adults is 1-2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed or 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil daily.
When incorporated into your favorite foods, the daily requirement is easy to meet! Consuming flaxseed has no side effects when following the recommended daily amount. It is safe for pregnant women, but be sure to get medical clearance from your health care provider before taking any nutrition supplements. The same is true for anyone with a medical condition and who are taking medications.
Here are 6 ways to incorporate flaxseed into your daily meal plan:
- Add a few tablespoons of flaxseed to smoothies made with fresh fruit.
- Sprinkle flaxseed over cereal or mix in with yogurt or cottage cheese for breakfast.
- Add flaxseed to salads, fish, meat, or chicken dishes.
- Add flaxseed when baking cookies or your favorite cake for an added nutritional boost.
- Add flaxseed to muffins, breads, brownie and cupcake mixes.
- Add flaxseed to tomato sauce, gravies, and sauces.
Ground flaxseed has a nutty flavor and can add nice crunch to your food. Adding a sprinkle or drizzle of flaxseed to your everyday meals is a great way to get essential fatty acids and fiber. These essential fatty acids have been shown to reduce inflammation, reduce cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease. Fiber can also reduce cholesterol levels and help regulate blood sugar.
So go ahead and try some flaxseed and reap the benefits of this healthful seed today!
Bonnie R. Giller is a Registered and Certified Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. She helps chronic dieters, emotional eaters, and people with medical conditions like diabetes, break the spell that diets have over them and reclaim WholeBody Trust™ so they can live their life to the fullest.