Ingredient Feature: Flax Seeds
Flax seeds are actually one of the oldest crops in the history of civilization. You've probably heard about their super food qualities and seen many recipes using whole or ground flax seeds. A typical serving is about 1 tablespoon (7 grams) of flax which contains 37 calories, 1.3 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber and 3 grams of fat.
Rule of thumb - buy whole flax seeds and grind them at home to preserve their nutritional quality. If you do not have a spice grinder, buy ground flax seeds (or flax meal) and store the bag in the fridge.
Here are some benefits of flax seeds as well as some recipes to incorporate into your diet:
1. Flax seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids
Flax seeds are a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid, a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid. If you are vegetarian or don't eat fish on a weekly basis, including ground flax in your smoothies or oatmeal is a great way to increase your intake of omega-3 fats.
2. Flax seeds are a rich source of lignans
Lignans are plant compounds that have antioxidant properties. Flax seeds contain 800 times more lignans than other comparable plant foods. Antioxidants are a necessary part of our diet to prevent free radical damage to our cells.
3. Flax seeds have estrogenic properties
Studies show that those who eat flax seeds regularly have a lower risk of developing breast cancer. Flax seeds also have the potential to prevent colon and skin cancers, but more research is needed to confirm these findings.
4. Flax seeds are a good source of dietary fiber
1 tablespoon of flax contains 3 grams of dietary fiber - both soluble and insoluble forms of fiber. The fiber in flax seeds gets fermented by the bacteria in the large intestine and bulks up stool which results in more regular bowel movements. As well, an increased intake of fiber helps regulate blood sugar and lower cholesterol levels.
5. Flax seeds help regulate hunger
If you are someone who leans on snacks between meals, adding flax to your smoothies, yogurt bowls or oatmeal is a great way to increase satiety after meals. The soluble fiber in flax seeds slows digestion in the stomach which helps control appetite and provides feelings of fullness.
Here are some recipes to easily incorporate ground flax seeds into your diet:
High Fibre Oatmeal
- 1/4 cup oats (prepared according to package)
- 1/2 cup berries (strawberries, blueberries or blackberries)
- 1 tbsp ground flax
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- 3 tbsp hemp hearts (optional protein addition)
- Sprinkle of cinnamon
- Prepare oats according to directions on the package.
- Mix in the ground flax and hemp hearts.
- Top with berries, almond butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Enjoy!
- 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
- 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- Additional toppings: nuts, seeds or berries
- In a small bowl, mix the ground flax seeds, almond milk and maple syrup together. Place in the fridge for an hour to set.
- Stir well and top with cinnamon and any additional toppings. Enjoy!
Cinnamon Flax Muffins
Recipe makes 12 muffins
- 2 cups ground flax seeds
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
- 6 eggs
- 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/2 cup warm water
- Preheat oven to 350F and grease a muffin tin.
- In a large bowl, mix the ground flax, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and add in the coconut oil and water.
- Add wet ingredients to the large bowl and stir until combined. Let the batter sit for a few minutes to thicken.
- Divide batter between muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes or until slightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool and enjoy!
Like what you've read? Check out this article on hearty salad recipes for spring.