From crash diets to long-term weight loss programs, there is hardly a healthy diet that does not feature flax seeds. They are known as the natural appetite suppressants of the food world, and contain lots of other beneficial nutrients as well. Cultivated from the flax plant, it has been exported and consumed for centuries. It is now available in several varieties in stores and can be used in many recipes.
Health Benefits of Flax Seeds
Flax seeds are usually recommended to people who do not consume enough fiber. This is because they are very fibrous and can help treat indigestion and irregular bowel movements. Flax seeds also have the ability to suppress your appetite, making them ideal foods for people on weight loss diets.
Other than fiber, flax seeds have an impressive amount of B vitamins and manganese. Manganese and B vitamins are great energy boosters and promote a healthy metabolism. They are also good for bones and can lower bad cholesterol in heart disease patients. Other essential nutrients in flax seeds are omega fatty acids and lignans. Lignans are antioxidants that reduce your risk of having heart conditions.
If you are going through menopause, you should seriously consider adding flax seeds to your diet. Research shows that these seeds can reduce the onset of hot flashes associated with menopause. Diabetics can also use flax seeds to enjoy stable blood sugar.
Types of Flax Seeds
Flax seeds are generally categorized into two main groups: yellow and brown flax seeds. Both types have been found to be equally nutritious but each has its own unique assortment of nutrients. Flax seeds can be whole or ground. It is advisable that you grind seeds before eating them. This is because whole flax seeds tend to pass through the system without being digested.
Milled flax seeds refer to a seed that have been made into a powder, and is often used as a replacement for all-purpose flour. Flax seed oil is a popular product and made from extracting natural oils from the actual seeds. When shopping for flax seed products, make sure they don’t contain too many preservatives.
Cooking with Flax Seeds
Flax seeds have a nutty taste that goes well with most foods. You can sprinkle ground flax seeds on everything from oatmeal to plain yoghurt. They also taste great with green salads and can add fiber to light soups. Toss a few flax seeds into the blender to make smoothies richer, or add them to sauces like tapenade for a bulkier texture.
How to Grind Flax Seeds
Grinding whole flax seeds is as easy as adding them to a food processor and blending until it is finely ground. Grinding seeds makes them easier to cook with and to digest. Make sure the seeds are fresh and are not exposed to too much air or sunlight.
Flax seeds are quickly rising to the top of the super-food list. Their nutty and slightly neutral flavor plays well with a lot of dishes, making them easy to add to your diet. Serve with salads, soups, sauces and breakfast to turn ordinary dishes into nutrient-packed meals.