April 12, 2012
Try Something New: Flaxseed
Flaxseed is best known for supplying our body with an essential fatty acid -- alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA -- and fiber.
ALA is thought to contribute to a range of health benefits, including the production of anti-inflammatory agents, and providing cardioprotective abilities. In fact, some studies have shown that ALA could help prevent heart attacks. Not many foods are rich in ALA. It is found in canola, flaxseed and soybean oils, and in walnuts.
ALA is converted in the body into the type of omega-3 fatty acids that are found mainly in fish. These omega-3 fatty acids make the platelets in our blood less likely to stick together and might reduce the inflammatory processes in blood vessels. Thus, the omega-3 fatty acids reduce blood clotting and lessen the chance of a heart attack.
The soluble fiber in flaxseed helps lower blood cholesterol levels, and the insoluble fiber in flaxseed keeps your digestive system running smoothly and helps prevent constipation.
Flaxseed is found in whole-seed form, as well as ground and as oil. Your body cannot derive any nutritional benefit from flaxseed if you consume the seeds whole. They will pass right through your body, so ground flaxseed is the best.
If you buy ground flaxseed, it can go rancid quickly because of its high fat content. Ground flaxseed that is rancid will smell like oil paint. The best bet is to buy the whole-seed form of flaxseed and grind it using a coffee grinder or a small food processor. If you do buy the ground flaxseed, store it in the freezer and smell it before each use.
Just one tablespoon of flaxseed provides about 47 calories, 3.3 grams of fiber and about 4 grams of fat, which is heart-healthy unsaturated fat.
Here are some ways to incorporate flaxseed into your diet:
» Stir ground flaxseed into cooked cereals or yogurt.
» Substitute flaxseed oil for other oils in salad dressings.
» Stir a tablespoon of flaxseed into your morning orange juice.
Posted by Lisa at April 12, 2012 1:29 PM
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Hi Lisa! Great flaxseed blog. I speak with people all the time about flaxseed during consults. It's a great alternative for vegetarians or people allergic to fish like me. Great source of fiber too. I also talked about fiber in my blog "Fig Trees and Fiber." I've attached the link to my comment. Hope you will check it out. I would love your comments.
Posted by: Christina Musgrave at April 16, 2012 10:07 AM