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Flax seeds – the protective food

One of the oldest crop on this world – flax has not just got one of the best nutritional profile , but also many uses other than culinary, like the fabric Linen is made from the flax flowers and fibres, fishing rods, tennis rackets, chairs, bicycle parts are made from flax.  Even the waste product of this crop is used in insulation boards. But the most important product of this crop is the seeds, coming in the brown and the golden variety this seeds can give competition to all exotic nuts and oils for the heart friendly omega 3 content. Lets see how it can nurture us.

Nutritional Profile (100 g):

Energy:  534 k cal
Carbs: 28.88 g
Protein: 18.29 g
Fat: 42.16 g
Thiamin – Vitamin B1 : 1.66 mg
Iron: 5.73 mg

Medicinal and curative properties:

The most important nutritive constituent of the flax seed is omega 3 fatty acids.  It  is very important for heart to keep healthy. Plus it has capability to fight against various kind of diseases like cancer, cardio vascular disease, inflammatory disease, psychiatric disorders etc.  since the omega 3 is not be able to synthesized by humans, it must be obtained from food.  And flax seeds are much cheaper choice compared to exotic nuts and oils like walnuts and olive oil that are too expensive for common usage.

Apart  from omega 3, flax seeds are rich in lignan – an estrogen like substance which binds to estrogen and protect body from its over load effects, and the lignans are powerful anti oxidants who takes care of free radicals, resulting in  meaning healthy body and younger looking skin.

Dietary fibres are another great advantage we can get from flax seeds.  fibres are important for good digestion and assimilation of food so that it Can be used at laxative too. It is useful in diabetes care, as it has properties to lessen the severity of diabetes by stabilizing blood sugar.

How to choose best?

Flax seeds comes in majorly two varieties. Brown flax seeds and golden flax seeds.  Both contains same nutritional profile.

You can chose the whole seeds or grounded seeds. The whole seeds have great shelf life and can be stored at room temperature for several months up to two year.

While grounded flax seeds has low shelf life but they are easy to digest compared to whole seeds.

Refrigeration and packing in seal container improves the shelf life.

How to consume?

You can soak the seeds for 3-4 hours in lightly salted water and then roast to make a mouth freshener. Consume this after a meal to improve digestibility.

You can sprinkle it on the hot or cold breakfast cereal.

You can add the seeds to home made baked goods like breads, muffins, cookies to increase their nutritional value.

You can use flax seeds oil in salad dressing and cooking too.

When to avoid?

Since the flax seed contains great amount of dietary fibres, if consumed without enough water, it can cause constipation and in severe condition it can block intestine too.

Plus it can affect certain oral medication if  flax seeds are consumed in large amounts.

Flax seeds contains some neurotoxic chemicals, so one should avoid consuming it in large quantities.

The flax seeds used as a symbolic image of northern Ireland , are very nutritious and should be consumed regularly.

About the author

Ami Paneri Upadhyay

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