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Flaxseed Facts

Updated on May 14, 2008

Golden Flaxseeds

Crunchy Nutty Tasty

In the quest for increasing health, flaxseeds offer multiple nutrients along with fiber and make reduction of fat easy. Flaxseeds are becoming ever more popular to the health conscious consumer and can be found whole, and ground as well as flaxseed oil. With a warm and nutty flavor flaxseeds are being added to bakery goods as well as pantry items (i.e. chips, cookies, and crackers).

Flaxseeds are slightly larger than sesame seeds and have a hard shell that is smooth and shiny. Their color ranges from deep amber to reddish brown depending upon whether the flax is of the golden or brown variety. While whole flaxseeds feature a soft crunch, the nutrients in ground seeds are more easily absorbed.

We hear plenty of talk about getting enough fiber and all the health benefits associated with a high fiber diet. The recommendation is 25-35 grams of fiber a day, but the average diet affords less than half that, about 8.75 grams of fiber per day. Just ¼ cup of flaxseeds contains 20 grams of fiber.

Increased fiber can help lower cholesterol, aid in healthy digestion, and stabilize blood sugar. Flaxseeds are a good source of magnesium which helps alleviate health problems associated with the cardiovascular system (heart disease and high blood pressure).

Flaxseeds are an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids which appear to limit the inflammatory reaction associated with joint pain and swelling. It is also helpful in promoting healthy skin.

Here are a few tips on using flaxseeds:

· Purchase whole seeds when possible, and grind as needed. Grind your flaxseed using a battery or electric operated coffee bean grinder, blender, or food processor. Ground seed are more digestible release the nutrients to the body. Whole seeds will pass right through.

· Store seeds in a cool dry place. Clean dry seeds can be stored for up to a year.

· Refrigerate any extra ground seeds to maintain freshness. They can be stored in the freezer for about a month, if more than a couple of days will pass until use.

· Flaxseeds can be a delightful addition to baked goods, fruit, juice, milk and even water. In baked goods, milled flaxseed can be sprinkled on top for a nutty texture and flavor.

· Flaxseeds can be used as substitutions in recipes:

o For Fat

– Substitute flax for fat in your recipes, using 3 tbsp ground flax seed for 1 tbsp of margarine, butter or cooking oil. Flax can be substituted for all or some of the fat, depending on the recipe. Please note that baking with flax, as fat substitute will cause baked goods to brown more quickly.

o For Eggs

– Substitute a ground flax seed/water mixture for eggs in recipes such as pancakes, muffins and cookies. Use 1 tbsp ground flax plus 3 tbsp water - left sitting for several minutes - for each egg. Note that this will result in a chewier version of the recipe, with less volume.

· Flaxseed nutritional facts:

o Amount Per Serving (2 Tbsp)

Calories 120; Calories from fat 70; Total Fat 8 G; Saturated Fat 1 G; Cholesterol 0 G; Sodium 8 G; Total Carbohydrates 8 G; Dietary Fiber 5 G;Sugars 0 G; Protein 5 G

On rare occasions, some people may have an allergic reaction to flaxseed.

I add a bit of flaxseed to everything I bake. Getting fiber can be easy. For those who would rather not bake, look in the pantry aisles for “everything” tortilla chips, bagels, cookies, granola bars, and crackers. Try it.

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