When it comes to nutrition and fitness- Flaxseeds or Alsi are the most commonly heard terms these days? The way fashion trends keep pouring in everyday, you will see food ingredients also keep hitting the market as and when research finds out something important. Flaxseed is one of the important ingredients these days in the market. You will see flaxseed oil in the shelves of almost all grocery stores, ground flaxseeds used in various recipes and whole flaxseeds tempered beautifully on cookies and bread.
People are talking about flaxseeds a lot these days as doctors and dietitians are recommending it to people who want to lose weight and to those who are suffering from cancer’s, heart problem diabetes and various other diseases.
Everyone around is just wondering what magical powers does these tiny oval shaped flat, glossy and pointed at one end ingredient have. It has magical powers in the form of three magical nutrients.
Here they go:
- Omega-3 essential fatty acids, “good” fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects.
2. Lignans-which have both plant estrogenand antioxidant qualities.
3 .Fiber– Flaxseed contains both the soluble and insoluble types.
Yes these three magical nutrients are capable of fighting so many deadly diseases. Let’s have a look into it.
CANCER: Omega 3 fatty acids and lignans present in the flaxseeds have a protective effect against breast, prostate and colon cancer. They block the enzymes which are involved in hormone metabolism and thus prevents from causing cancer by interfering with the growth and spread of tumor cells.
CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH: Omega-3s present in the flaxseeds help to prevent hardening of the arteries and thus keep plaque from being deposited in the arteries. This automatically helps in keeping the heart beat normal and hence blood pressure under control and takes care of the overall cardiovascular system healthy.
Cholesterol-lowering effects of flaxseed are the result of the combined benefits of the omega-3 ALA, fiber, and lignans.
INFLAMMATION: Omega 3 and lignans present in the flaxseeds are known to block release certain pro inflammatory agents which help in reducing the inflammation that accompanies certain illnesses such as Parkinson’s and asthma.
DIABETES Daily intake of flaxseeds improves the blood sugar of people suffering from diabetes.
RELIEVES CONSTIPATION: Flaxseed and flaxseed oil act as natural laxatives and give you relief from constipation.
SOME FLAXSEED FACTS:
- Whether you have it in the whole form or ground form, what we need to know is that just swallowing the flaxseeds like a medicine with water won’t give you the desired results. The seeds need to be broken to get the omega 3 nutrients which are present in it. So if you are having whole flaxseeds chew them proper. If you are grinding it, grind it fresh every time you want to consume it.
- The best place to store ground flaxseed is the freezer. The freezer will help to maintain the nutritional content of grounded flaxseed by preventing oxidation.
- If you are not grinding the flaxseed then the outside shell in the whole flaxseeds acts as the protection shield of itself which keeps the fatty acids inside well protected. As long as whole flaxseeds are dry and of good quality, it can be stored at room temperature for up to a year.
CREATIVE WAYS TO EAT THE FLAXSEEDS:
- You can start your day by adding ground flaxseed into your luke warm lemon water which you drink early in the morning to detox your body.
- Addition of flaxseed to your regular cereal morning breakfast will give your boring bowl a fresh nutty flavor. Eg. Cornflakes/wheat flakes/oats/all bran flakes or add it to your poha/upma/dosa and idli batter/ paratha’s.
- Prepare a nice evening snack with fruits yogurt and add this tint of nutty flavor to it.
- Adding it to milk shakes will also change the flavor of the shakes giving it an exotic nutty flavor.
- Add it to your regular veg curries as they won’t get noticed when added to soups, enchilada casserole, chicken parmesan, chicken /meat balls etc
- Lastly substitute ground flaxseed for a part of flour in recipes like cakes, dhokla, dosa, paratha’s
Thus to conclude, these small and nutty seeds which are highly rich in omega 3 are extremely beneficial for our general health.