First a little tutorial about flax seeds… Flax is a super seed grown mostly in Canada, North Dakota and South Dakota. Minnesota and Wisconsin also produce flax.
Canada is the leading producer of brown flax seed and the Dakota’s tend to produce more of the golden flax. There is little difference in the two colors but many prefer the gold because it is easier to sneak into recipes, the brown is more visible in those muffins!
Flax, also known as linseed is a food and fiber crop. Its uses for fiber has waned in modern times– linseed is what linen is made from, and with the rise of synthetics people just don’t use linen as much for their sheets and tablecloths…or to entomb mummies!
If you ever have an opportunity to drive past a flax field, take your time to stop and view this plant with its beautiful pale blue flowers. A field of blooming flax is like a blue, lightly honey scented sea.
But, I digress we are here to talk about its health benefits and how to incorporate it into your diet.
The flax seed looks much like the little pip or seed in the core of an apple, but it is a bit flatter and not quite as hard. The flax seed must be ground unless you are going to cook or bake it, otherwise the whole seed will just pass through, preventing you from enjoying its great health benefits.
Health Benefits of Flex Seed
One tablespoon of ground flax seed (also known and sold as flax meal) is merely 36 calories, but in those 36 calories it brings 1.6 grams of protein, 1,800 milligrams omega, 3 fatty acid and 2.2 grams of fiber. This little seed is certainly worthy of being called a super seed.
Omega 3 fatty acids are chock full of heart health benefits. EPA and DHA are found in fish. ALA is a plant based fatty acid. Flax and its ALA content are a good way to get omega 3’s into your diet if you are not into eating fish (i.e., pregnant women, small children, vegetarians and vegans.)
Soluble fiber, which flax contains, has been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels and lower LDL cholesterol levels. Fiber also helps to prevent constipation.
So the question of the day is, “how to incorporate this super seed into your diet?” Well, the simple way is to just sprinkle it on whatever you’re eating and eat it! Seriously, there isn’t much you can’t sprinkle it onto or into. Peanut butter, banana and a sprinkle or two of flax, two slices of good healthy bread make a great and tasty sandwich.
Stir in some flax meal into your favorite yogurt. Top your salad with this nutty tasting treat. Scoop a tablespoon into oatmeal along with some dried cranberries and nuts for a breakfast that will not only provide you with great fuel to start your day, but actually stay with you and keep you satisfied all morning long.
Put a tablespoon or two in your smoothie. Stir it into soups and add some to your favorite Minnesota style hot dish. Its uses are almost endless.
Don’t want to use an egg in that recipe? Replace it with 2 tablespoons of flax and two tablespoons of water. I have actually done this in recipes for my granddaughter who has an egg allergy and it worked wonderfully. Up the ante in your baked goods, replace ¼ to ½ of flour called for with flax meal. But if you’re looking for a pre-written recipe I’ll end this little flax blog with a couple for you.
Enjoy, and here’s to your flax fortified health!
P.S. Keep that ground flax seed in the refrigerator or freezer after opening to help keep it fresh.
- 1-1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour or Organic Whole Wheat Flour*
- ¾ cup Flaxseed Meal
- ¾ cup Oat Bran Cereal or Organic Oat Bran Cereal**
- 1 cup Brown Sugar
- 2 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- ½ tsp Salt
- 2 tsp ground Cinnamon
- 1-1/2 cups Carrots finely shredded
- 2 Apples peeled & shredded
- ½ cup Raisins (optional)
- 1 cup Chopped Nuts
- ¾ cup Milk
- 2 Eggs beaten
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- Mix together flour, Bob's Red Mill Flaxseed Meal, oat bran, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.
- Stir in carrots, apples, raisins (if desired) and nuts. Combine milk, beaten eggs and vanilla. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients. Stir until ingredients are moistened. DO NOT OVER MIX.
- Fill muffin cups ¾ full. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes.
My Own Hamburger Patties
- 1 pound of grass fed ground beef
- 3 tablespoons flax meal
- One small to medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons good quality Worcestershire sauce
- Mix all of the ingredients by hand until well blended.
- Form into 3- ⅓ pound or 4- ¼ patties.
- Place in freezer for 30 minutes to firm up.
- Grill on medium high heat until desired doneness.
- Serve on a bun if you’d like or eat without a bun if you’d like.
- Top with the usual burger toppings to suit your tastes, cheese, pickles, ketchup, mustard, salsa, lettuce, onion…once again almost endless options.
I hope you enjoy these tasty recipes!
Coborn’s Natural Foods Manager
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