4 Incredible benefits of heart-health boosting flaxseed
11/24/2020 / By Rose Lidell / Comments
4 Incredible benefits of heart-health boosting flaxseed

Flaxseed is a superfood with an amazing nutrition profile. Fiber-rich flaxseed can also help boost your heart health and improve your digestive health!

Flaxseed’s nutrition profile

Flaxseed or linseed are tiny, golden or brown seeds that are full of heart-healthy fiber and fatty acids. Flaxseed can be eaten whole or used to make flour or food products like salad dressing.

According to the Department of Agriculture (USDA), a tablespoon (10 grams) of whole flaxseeds contains 55 calories.

Protein

A tablespoon of flaxseed contains two grams of protein, which is four percent of your daily target (if you consume a 2,000 calorie-per-day diet).

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Carbs

Flaxseed contains two different types of carbohydrates. Most of the carbs in flaxseed are fiber, but the amount of fiber will be slightly lower if you consume ground seeds.

Dietary fiber helps boost digestive health and regulate blood cholesterol. Additionally, fiber makes you feel full longer, making flaxseed an ideal food for weight loss.

The rest of the carb content of flaxseed comes from sugar, but it is a very small amount of naturally occurring sugar.

Fat

A tablespoon of whole flaxseed contains about four grams of fat slightly less in a tablespoon of ground flaxseed.

Flaxseed primarily contains polyunsaturated fat or “good” fat. This kind of fat can help improve heart health when it is used to replace foods that contain less healthy fats (like saturated fat).

Vitamins and minerals

Flaxseed contains various essential micronutrients. A one-tablespoon serving of flaxseed provides 11 percent of the daily recommended intake (DRI) of thiamine.

Thiamine is a water-soluble B vitamin that has a role in metabolizing carbs and branched-chain amino acids. This nutrient is also essential for neural function.

Additionally, the same serving contains two percent of the DRI of niacin, vitamin B6 and folate. One tablespoon of flaxseed also provides 13 percent of the DRI for manganese and 10 percent for magnesium.

Finally, flaxseed also contains phosphorus (seven percent of the RDI), copper (six percent of the RDI and selenium (four percent of the RDI).

Flaxseed health benefits

Flaxseed and flaxseed oil offer several benefits.

  • It improves digestive health. According to studies, consuming flaxseed can help relieve constipation. Flaxseed is a fiber-rich superfood, which helps boost your digestion.
  • It helps boost heart health. Studies have found that flaxseed offers two benefits for heart health. First, it can help lower blood pressure. The superfood can also slow the progression of atherosclerosis.
  • It can reduce breast cancer risk. Findings from both animal and human studies suggest that dietary flaxseed helps reduce breast cancer risk and the risk of dying from breast cancer. Other studies have also found that flaxseed can help prevent other cancers that affect the colon, liver, lung, ovary and prostate.
  • It can help improve blood sugar control. Research suggests that a diet that incorporates flaxseed benefits people with prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes.

Considerations when consuming flaxseed

Flaxseed allergy is rare, but there are several recorded cases of anaphylactic reactions in people who have consumed flaxseed. Researchers also warn against potential cross-reactivity between flaxseed and other allergens such as other seeds and legumes. Consult your physician if you believe you may have a flaxseed allergy.

Consuming flaxseed is generally considered safe for most adults in doses of several tablespoons per day. Note that unripe flaxseeds may contain potentially toxic compounds. Don’t consume flaxseed if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

If you have a bleeding disorder, diabetes, gastrointestinal obstruction, hormone-sensitive cancers, hypertension (high blood pressure) or low blood pressure, consult your physician before taking flaxseed to avoid any adverse side effects.

Buying and storing flaxseed

If you’re buying flaxseed, you can find brown or golden flax seeds in local grocery stores. The two have a similar nutritional profile, but golden flaxseed has a nuttier taste.

The superfood is available in the following forms:

  • Whole flaxseeds
  • Ground seeds
  • Flax meal (flour)
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Supplements (e.g., capsules, tablets, or extracts.

Flax is also used to make packaged snacks like chips, cookies and crackers.

Store whole or ground flaxseeds in an airtight container in a dark, cool cupboard. When stored properly, flaxseed will last up to 12 months. Freeze ground or whole flaxseed to extend its shelf life.

Store flaxseed oil in a cool, dark cupboard away from heat sources like your oven. Discard rancid flaxseeds or flaxseed oil.

Cooking with flaxseed

Ground flaxseed is easier to add to drinks and recipes. Not sure what to do with flaxseed? Try adding it to yogurt for a crunchy texture or put it in a smoothie.

Note that the seeds will thicken your beverage and produce a gel-like consistency if you don’t drink it immediately.

Focaccia-style flax bread

This recipe is called “focaccia” because it is baked focaccia-style: Flat on a sheet pan, brushed with oil, then cut into squares or slices.

But unlike traditional focaccia, this recipe doesn’t contain any yeast or flour. Since this recipe uses ground flaxseeds, it’s gluten-free and full of soluble fiber.

Ingredients for 16 servings:

  • 2 cups of flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 large sprig of fresh rosemary, rinsed and dried
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried or fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon of flaky sea salt

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prepare a 9.5 x 13-inch sheet pan with sides with lightly oiled parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  2. Prepare the rosemary oil by combining extra virgin olive oil and a large sprig of fresh rosemary in a small pot. Heat on low for about three minutes or until the oil is warm to the touch but is not simmering, then remove from heat and steep until the oil turns dark olive green for 10 minutes. Remove the rosemary sprig or strain and set the rosemary oil aside.
  3. Whisk the flaxseed meal, baking powder, fine sea salt and sugar in a large bowl.
  4. Add the beaten eggs, water, and six tablespoons (1/3 cup) of rosemary oil to the dry ingredients, then combine well. Make sure there are no strings of egg white in the batter.
  5. Let the batter set for one to two minutes until it thickens up a bit, but don’t leave it too long. This will make it hard to spread the batter on the pan.
  6. Pour the batter onto the prepared pan. The batter may mound in the middle, but you can get a more even thickness if you spread it away from the center in a rectangle that’s at least one inch from the sides of the pan.
  7. Use a pastry brush to gently brush the top of the “bread” with a thin layer of the remaining rosemary oil. Sprinkle the flaky sea salt and rosemary leaves before baking for at least 25 minutes until the bread is firm and springs back when you touch the top.
  8. Let the bread cool slightly, then cut into whatever size slices you want.

Consume a fiber-rich superfood like flaxseed to improve your digestion and boost your heart health.

Sources:

VeryWellFit.com 1

VeryWellFit.com 2

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