When hearing the word omega-3 fatty acids, most people think of salmon, or maybe walnuts. Today, I wanted to introduce you to another heart-healthy food that contains omega-3 fatty acids—flaxseed. I know what you’re thinking: what is flaxseed, and how do I eat it?
Flaxseed is one of many nutritional powerhouse foods, meaning it is full of healthy nutrients, including fiber, antioxidants, protein and omega-3 fatty acids (specifically alpha-linolenic acid or ALA). ALA is a polyunsaturated fat that is needed in our diets. Replacing bad fats (saturated and trans-fats) with the good fats (mono- and poly-unsaturated fats) can help lower the risk for chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke and cancer, as well as lower the LDL (bad) cholesterol. Flax is a source of lignans which are antioxidants that may reduce the activity of cell-damaging free radicals. One tablespoon of milled flax contains about 3 grams of fiber (both soluble and insoluble). Fiber from flax can help one feel fuller longer, help reduce cholesterol and improve colon and digestive health. Flax is also a great source of nutrients for vegetarians and a great way to obtain omega-3 fatty acids for people with fish allergies.
You can find flaxseed at your local grocery store. I have found it in the cereal aisle, next to the oatmeal or in the gluten-free section. Remember to refrigerate the flaxseed once opened. Aim for an intake of 1-2 tablespoons of flaxseed per day. The best way to buy it is “milled”. We cannot absorb all the healthy nutrients flax has to offer unless it’s in the ground/milled form. You can grind whole flax seeds on your own using a coffee grinder, food processor or blender.
Here are some ideas for adding flax into your diet. Consuming it with other foods adds a light nutty flavor to your dishes:
- Mix flax in with your yogurt
- Add it to breakfast cereal or oatmeal
- Mix in with fruit smoothies
- Sprinkle into soups/stews/sauces
Try these other flax-friendly recipes!
- Add to applesauce
- Sprinkle a thin layer between peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
- Add to beans/chili after cooking
- Mix in with mashed potatoes (or mashed cauliflower) after cooking
How do you add flax into your diet?
For more ideas, recipes and information about flax please visit: www.healthyflax.com.
Eat right, move more and live life to the flax!