Flax seeds have been considered one of the super foods, as it has many health benefits. They are gluten free and high in antioxidants. They help lower cholesterol, balance hormones, fight cancer, manage diabetes, give you clear skin, reduce sugar cravings, improve digestive health and manage menopausal symptoms.
Flax seeds are one of the richest source of heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids. These also contain a compound called lignans, which helps clear atherosclerotic plaques considerably.
Adding flax seed in your diet
• You can grind the flax seeds and add the powder to various dishes. It is best to grind them as the whole flax seed may pass through the intestine without being digested. Ground flax seeds are also called as flax meal sometimes.
• You can add flax seed powder in juices or smoothies. Make sure you consume enough water when you include flax seed in your diet.
• You can also soak the seeds in water overnight and blend it into a smooth paste, which can then be added in porridges or used as a dip.
• You can sprinkle the ground flax seeds on your yogurt or breakfast cereal. It can also be added to the hot oatmeal, it will give a nutty flavour.
• You can add flax seeds in your upma/ daliya while preparing and can be sprinkled on sabzis as well.
• Finely ground flax seed powder can be added to chapatti dough.
• Toasted flax seeds can be added to salads and soups for a nutty flavour. Make sure you chew the seeds before swallowing to get the benefits of flax seeds.
• Ground flax seeds can be added while baking along with muffins, cookies and cakes. This gives a nice moist texture for the baked goods.
Using flax seed oil
It is easier to include flax seed oil as you don’t have to grind the seeds.
• You can add a little flax seed oil in smoothies or use it in salad dressings.
• Do not use it to cook as it has a very low smoking point. Make sure you store it in the refrigerator, as it might be unstable when it is exposed to heat.
Flax seeds need to be used mindfully, otherwise it can cause trouble.
• It can cause bloating and abdominal discomfort if you don’t give time for your body to adjust to it. Do not include more than 15 g (1 tbsp) of flax seeds a day.
• Avoid consumption of flax seeds if you have bowel problems like acute or chronic diarrhoea, colon disorder (diverticulitis) or inflammatory bowel disease. This can worsen your condition.
• Do not include flax seeds in your diet if you have any known allergy or flaxseed sensitivity.
• Consult your doctor before you include flax seeds in your diet if you are on any medications.
Use ground flax seeds to obtain more benefits rather than flax seed oil, as the oil is only a part of the flax seed which is extracted. When you use the ground seeds, you will have the benefit of fibre, lignans and omega 3 fatty acids.
Thus, make use of flax seeds in moderation to have benefits from it. Store the ground flax seeds in an air tight container and it can stay for several months in a cool, dark place. You can also refrigerate the flax seeds to keep them fresh and grind the quantity required.