By Dorothy Long
Ingredient Spotlight: The Health Benefits of Ground Flaxseed
This tiny seed packs a punch! In fact, Health Canada approved a health claim linking ground whole flaxseed to blood cholesterol lowering, a major risk factor for heart disease. Just 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of ground flaxseed per day supplies 40% of the daily amount shown to help lower cholesterol. So, what is it that makes flaxseed such a nutritional powerhouse?
- Flaxseed is high in fibre. It contains both soluble fibre that helps lower cholesterol and insoluble fibre that prevents constipation and makes your digestive system happy.
- Flaxseed is a source of plant-based omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fats are a type of essential fat our bodies need to be healthy. Higher intake of omega-3 fats are associated with lower rates of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure.
- Flaxseed is one of the best plant sources of lignans. What are lignans? Lignans are high in antioxidants and are phytoestrogens that help regulate hormone levels. Research indicates that lignans may help to reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancer. Flaxseed may also reduce hot flashes in menopausal women!
Tips for Using, Buying and Storing Flax
- Grinding flaxseed makes it easier for your body to get the full benefits of flaxseed. Whole flaxseed is high in fibre but grinding flaxseed releases omega-3 fats, lignans and more fibre. Grind it yourself using a spice or coffee grinder or buy it already ground or milled.
- Nutritionally, golden and brown flaxseed are the same. You choose the colour you prefer.
- It is easy to add ground flaxseed to your yogurt, cereal or smoothie. You can also add it to casseroles, ground meat dishes or even stews. Make it a habit to sprinkle a tablespoon or two or even more into your baked goods and main courses as well.
- Whole flaxseed has a hard seed coat which protects and preserves the seed. It can be stored in a cool, dry, dark place for up to one year. Ground flaxseed seed is best refrigerated in an opaque container for up to 90 days or freeze it for an even longer shelf life.
- Flaxseed can replace eggs in baking recipes like pancakes, muffins, and cookies. Replace each egg with 1 Tbsp (15 mL) of ground flaxseed, plus 3 Tbsp (45 mL) water. Mix ground flaxseed and water in a small bowl and let sit for 1 to 2 minutes. Add to your recipe as you would an egg.
Discover the Potential of Flaxseed through these 3 Recipes
These tasty muffins contain 2 Tbsp (30 mL) of ground flaxseeds per serving – a deliciously easy way to get your daily hit of heart healthy flax. Great for a mid-afternoon snack.
Adding ground flaxseed to ground beef is a simple and tasty way to add the health benefits of flaxseed to your meals! Try it out with this meatloaf recipe.
Coating chicken or pork with ground flaxseed adds crunchy texture plus health benefits. This recipe is simple, delicious and ready in 30 minutes!
Recipes and images courtesy of HealthyFlax.org.