How to Eat Flax seeds? 9 Ways, Benefits, Tips & Recipes
How to eat flax seeds for weight loss?
How to eat flax seeds for hair growth?
These questions might come to your mind when you hear about the wonderful benefits of flax seeds. In today’s post, we will discuss this all.
The nutritional benefits of flax seeds are no longer a well-kept secret, with people all over the world including these tiny seeds of goodness in their daily diary plans. Flax seeds are included in the ‘superfoods’ category as it a rich source of dietary fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, and antioxidant lignan. A question which is frequently asked, when it comes to flax seeds is “which is the most beneficial way of consuming flax seeds?” Whether added in smoothies or made a part of your daily breakfast, flax seeds can be consumed in several ways and this article will shed light on the same.
What are Flaxseeds?
Also known as linseeds or common flax, flaxseeds are tiny, either tan or dark brown colored seeds that have gained major popularity as a health food. Flaxseed consumption is most beneficial when it is ground as it helps the body absorb the fibers it contains as opposed to when it is eaten whole. Flaxseed is also processed as flaxseed oil and used for cooking purposes. Flaxseeds are a rich source of some of the most essential nutrients required by the body such as phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, omega 3 fats, and fiber. (1)
Nutritional Composition of Flaxseeds
Per 100 grams of Flaxseeds contains 534 calories and each tablespoon of flaxseed contains 55 calories.
100 grams of Flaxseed contains
- 7% water,
- 18% protein,
- 29% carbohydrates out of which 95% of it is fiber both soluble and insoluble,
- 1.6 grams sugar,
- 42.2 grams fat (saturated, monosaturated and poly saturated),
- 22.81 grams omega 3 fats and zero trans fat.
A tablespoon of Flaxseeds per day is enough to meet your daily nutritional demand. (2)
What are the Benefits of Flaxseeds?
Flaxseeds are very rich in various nutrients especially fiber and healthy fats. Flaxseeds health benefits are countless some of those are
- Its a great source of fiber that helps maintain blood sugar level and lower bad cholesterol.
- It helps improve cardiovascular health, skin problems, suppresses hunger and aids in weight loss, lowers risk of kidney diseases.
- Its high fiber content prevents diarrhea and constipation. Flaxseeds help maintains blood glucose and insulin levels and thus helps fight against diabetes.
- Flaxseeds help in improving eye health.
- Flax seeds stem the formation of breast, colon, prostate lung and skin cancer.
- They also help control hormonal imbalance and sugar cravings.
- Flax seeds are very beneficial for women as it helps regularise menstrual periods and relieve menstruation related pain.
How to Eat Flaxseeds?
It is important to note that if flax seeds are not chewed properly, there are chances of them providing no health benefit at all and being eliminated by the body. However, ground and powdered or well soaked soft flax seeds are used for the body as it aids in the easy and speedy absorption of its nutritional composites.
There are several different ways in which flax seeds can be incorporated into your daily eating habits.
1. Flaxseeds for Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and what better way to start a healthy day than to add flax seeds to your breakfast. Flaxseeds are rich in omega 3 fats and you can sprinkle ground or powdered flax seed over a delicious bowl of cereal, muesli, oats or porridge. If you prefer eating Indian for breakfast, try adding a tablespoon of flax seeds to your upma, poha or paratha for extra goodness. An excellent source of fiber, flax seeds help you feel fuller and gives you the right nutrients required for your day-long activities. Powdered flaxseed can also be sprinkled over your toast. As mentioned earlier flaxseeds are most beneficial when in powdered form and hence should be used immediately or can be stored in airtight jars for future use.
2. Flaxseeds with Salads
A salad is eaten either as an accompaniment to a main course or as an entire meal by some people who are on a strict diet. Whether it is a simple vegetable salad or a complex and tediously prepared Russian Caeser salad, flaxseed oil can be used to make a vinaigrette filled with omega three fat. Whole or powdered flaxseed can be sprinkled over the salad in order to add an additional crunch element. A protein-rich salad filled with fish such as salmon or tuna, or shredded or diced chicken too can be elevated in nutritional content by adding flax seed to its dressing. It can be added to many salad recipes.
3. Add flax seed to your Smoothies
Smoothies are an ultimate way of packing multiple nutrients in one drink. For children who make a fuss in eating fruits and vegetables, smoothies is the healthiest and tastiest solution. Smoothies are a cold beverage that contains fruits, vegetables and other ingredients such as sugar, cocoa powder honey milk ice cream or yogurt, blended together. In addition to the above-mentioned ingredient, a tablespoon of flaxseed can be added to add a slightly nutty flavor to your smoothie and 2 grams worth of protein. Protein is very important for bodily growth and development and moreover, fiber-rich flax seeds prevent you from overeating. Smoothies can be drunk after a workout session.
4. Flaxseeds in Soups
Soup is a liquid dish that is either served hot or cold and is a combination of several ingredients like green vegetables, carrots lentils peas meat, chicken with stock juice or water. Soup is usually eaten during the winters and can be consumed for lunch, dinner or as a midday meal. Flaxseed oil can be mixed with the soup or flax seeds can be sprinkled over the soup, it will increase flavor along with health benefits.
5. Flaxseed Chutney
If you want to increase your good cholesterol levels, then this chutney recipe is perfect for you. A chutney is a spicy Indian origin condiment made of fruits and vegetables with sugar or vinegar. It is similar to a salsa. A typical flax seed chutney contains garlic red chillies sesame seeds flax seeds and salt. Making a flax seed chutney is very easy and can be stored in airtight glass jars for future use similar to pickles.
6. Flaxseed Oil
Flaxseed or linseed oil is a leading source of Omega 3 fats along with fish oil. It is a vegan or vegetarian option opposed to fish oil. Flaxseed oil contains around 60 % omega 3 fats in the form of Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA) which aids in weight loss, digestion, fighting cancer, eczema, boosts heart health and reduces cellulite. Flaxseed oil adds a sweet nutty flavour to the food. Not everything that is healthy has to taste resentful.
7. Flaxseeds and Stew
A stew is a dish made up of vegetables fish or meat cooked slowly in a liquid for a fairly long period of time such as water or stock and served in the resultant gravy. You can get an added dose of protein and omega 3 fats by mixing ground flax seed to the stew while it is cooking.
Flaxseed as a replacement in bread and baked recipes- ground flax seed can be used as a replacement to breadcrumbs in cutlets, croquet, and chicken tenders. The crust for fruit or meat tarts can be made by combing ground flax seeds with ground almonds or pecan nuts. You can add ground flax seeds to the batter made for cakes, cookies, muffins, tarts, and pies.
Watch this video on Flax seeds benefits and how to use by Versatile Vicky
8. Flaxseeds and Yogurt
Add a tablespoon of ground or powdered flax seed to your yogurt for breakfast lunch or as a midday snack. This will give the yogurt a distinct yet subtle nutty flavor. You can add fresh fruits or honey for added taste and nutrition.
9. Flaxseeds help in weight loss
High fiber food items add bulk and give u a satiating feeling, a feeling of being full. Flaxseed is one of the richest sources of fiber. When we eat flax seeds in any form, the fibers bind itself to water and expand in volume, hence giving you a feeling of being full. You will, therefore, feel full and satiated faster and for longer preventing you from overeating and help you out in maintaining or losing weight. ALA fats also help in preventing inflammation and hormonal imbalances that cause rapid and sudden weight gain.
Chia seeds versus Flaxseeds
Both chia seeds and flax seeds are considered superfoods due to their high nutritional value, ranging from heart benefits to cancer prevention and glowing skin and hair. However, the debate remains stuck to the question of which seed is the healthiest. Chia seeds are slightly smaller than flax seeds and they originate from Mexico and Guatemala opposed to Flax seed’s the Middle East. Chia seeds are blander to taste while flax seeds are nuttier.
In case of nutritional comparisons, if one is looking for a richer source of omega 3 fats, then they must choose flax seeds but if one is looking for more fiber and bone strengthening minerals, they must opt for chia seeds. Both chia seed and flax seeds are well known for reducing blood pressure levels and bad cholesterol levels. Everyday consumption of chia seeds and flax seeds reduces blood sugar levels.
Both chia seeds and flax seeds are rich in insoluble fiber, which helps in reducing the risk of breast and colon cancer. Both seeds contain antioxidants, which helps fight signs of aging. However, in case of antioxidants, flax seeds contains 15 times more lignin, a type of antioxidant than chia seeds, giving it an upper hand. Flax seeds have higher levels of soluble fiber than chia seeds, which aids in curbing hunger pangs and consequently weight loss. Lastly, both chia seeds and flax seeds can be eaten either whole, grounded or in the powdered form in a variety of dishes.
Side effects of Flaxseeds
Too much of anything, no matter how beneficial, is never good. The same applies to flax seeds. We have already shed light on the numerous health benefits showered on us by flax seeds, it is time to look at the other side of the coin.
Flaxseed increases the number of bowel movements each day and can lead to a number of gastrointestinal problems, such as gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and stomach ache. The feeling full ‘affect’ caused by fiber too can be problematic, as it reduces the food intake and may coz loss of appetite and undernourishment. Flax seeds are rich sources of fiber that can cause the intestines to get blocked, as it acts as a bulk-forming laxative.
A solution to this is making sure that you drink lots of water after consuming flax seeds. Raw and unripe flax seeds are not safe for consumption and can be poisonous. Flax seeds may slow down the clotting process. People who suffer from the narrowed esophagus, swollen intestines, and bowel obstruction must avoid eating flax seeds as the high fiber content can worsen the conditions. Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are advised against flax seed consumption as it acts like the estrogen hormone and can create complications in the pregnancy.
A decent substitute for flaxseed is chia seeds. Both seeds have several properties and nutritional composites n common. Both seeds are rich sources of omega 3 fats and fiber. Chia seeds, however, get gelatinous very fast, and should not be used in every dish such as salads. Another alternative to flax seeds is hemp seeds. Hemp seeds too are rich in omega 3 fats and have the same nutty flavor as flax seeds.
However, it does not have the same mucilage present in flax seeds and chia seeds hence it cannot be used to thicken liquids. Another distant alternative to flaxseed is a wheat germ. It is a rich source of vitamin B and E. Wheat germ too is a rich source of omega 3 fats like flax seeds and chia seeds, and helps strengthen the immune system, protects us against several heart and lung-related diseases. Wheat germ can be used in smoothies, as a substitute to bread crumbs, as toppings over oats and cereal and in yogurt.