Grind Up Your Flax!By: Evita Basilio
Whole or Ground?
Flaxseeds are rich in healthy Omega-3s, protein, fibre and a phytochemical known as lignans. The big difference between taking ground flaxseed and whole flaxseed involves the digestion of the seeds. Whole flaxseeds have a very tough outer shell that may not be broken down when you chew. Your stomach acid is also unable to break through the shell and whole flax seeds may pass through your gut completely intact, meaning your body will miss out on most of the great benefits that come from the seeds!
The best way to store your ground flaxseeds is in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. If the package is unopened you can store it in a cool, dark cupboard until opening. You can also choose to buy whole flaxseeds and grind them up yourself. Ground flax should have a very mild aroma. If it smells sharp or “fishy,” it has become rancid and should not be eaten.
Breaking down the Flaxseed
- 4g of Omega-3s. Proven to have positive effects on your heart, brain, cardiovascular system, immune system, skin and hair. It has also shown to help with regulating blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, fighting immune diseases, managing diabetes, dealing with inflammation and constipation. Boy, that’s a lot of benefits!
- 6g of protein. Add this vegetarian source of protein to your smoothies, oatmeal or yogurt!
- 15% RDA fibre. Flax seeds are high in both soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre dissolves in water and forms a gel that travels through your intestines. This type of fibre can help lower your total blood cholesterol. Insoluble fibre stays intact, travels through your gut and helps pass food. It can help alleviate constipation and keep your digestive tract healthy.
- 14% RDA magnesium. Magnesium helps keep blood pressure normal, bones strong, and the heart rhythm steady.
- 15% RDA Vitamin B1. Important for energy metabolism and nerve and muscle activity, making it the perfect addition to your post workout snack!
- Other nutrients found in flaxseeds include calcium, phosphorus, potassium, folate, copper, and selenium.
*RDA – Recommended Dietary Allowance
Other ways to make simple additions of flaxseed to your day are:
- Add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed to your hot or cold breakfast cereal.
- Add a teaspoon of ground flaxseed to mayonnaise or mustard when making a sandwich.
- Mix a tablespoon of ground flaxseed into an 8-ounce container of yogurt.
- Bake ground flaxseed into cookies, muffins, breads and other baked goods.