Thursday, January 29, 2009

Flax seed

I use flax seed in the granola recipe I will be posting, so I thought I'd familiarize you with it. I was first introduced to flax seed by my mom. My parents add ground flax to many of their dishes, such as waffles, smoothies, cereal, yogurt, etc. Flax seed has a nutty flavor, but I often can't even taste it when mixed into my food. You can purchase flax seed three different ways--whole, ground, or in the oil form (as oil or liquid capsules). I purchase it whole and then grind it myself with a coffee grinder when I am ready to use it. If you do not grind it, the flax seed will simply pass through your body without releasing any of its nutrients. Once it is ground it only stays good about a week without refrigeration. You can store the seeds several months in your cupboard. Flax seed may be purchased at many grocery stores and health food stores.

I use a $10 coffee grinder like this to grind my flax seed.

So what are the benefits of flax seed? Benefits are thought to include:
  • High in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids "good fat"
  • Reduces cholesterol
  • Lower chances of heart disease
  • Reduces risk of cancer
  • Reduces inflammation associated with many diseases, such as arthritis and lupus
  • Can be used in place of eggs in muffins, pancakes and cookies. To substitute flaxseed for one large egg in a recipe, use 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed plus 3 tablespoons water. Keep in mind that it will somewhat alter the texture of the finished product, making it slightly "gummy." Source, Mayo Clinic.
How to eat flax (serving size should be around 2 TBS):
  • Put inside waffles, muffins, cookies, and other items you bake
  • Toss salads with flax oil and vinegar
  • Sprinkle on top of yogurt, hot and cold cereal
  • Mix into smoothies
  • Mix into meatballs
  • Mix into mayo and mustard when making a sandwich
  • Sprinkle on top of cooked veggies

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