Flax seeds resemble sesame seeds in appearance but are slightly bigger in size. Flax seeds are known as Alsi in Hindi. They have a hard but smooth and shiny outer shell. The colour of this seed ranges from deep amber to reddish brown. It has a warm, kind of nutty and earthy flavour.
Flax is not a grain, however some of it
nutritive properties are better than that of regular grains. In terms of
quality and content it is far richer than majority of other food grains because
of high content of fibre, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids.
The purpose of this article is to highlight
the health benefits of flaxseeds and provide information on how to use
Flax Seeds Health Benefits
Let us have a quick look at the health benefits of flax seeds.
Excellent Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids - Flax seeds are an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids. This is useful to regulate blood pressure and control inflammation. It is particularly beneficial for people suffering from hypertension.
Blood Sugar Regulator - Flax seeds are known to decrease insulin resistance and help in regulating the levels of blood sugar. In fact the Lignans present in flax seed can also prevent diabetes.
Ideal for Weight Watchers - Flax seeds are very low in carbohydrates and suitable for people intending to limit their intake of starch and sugar. It is 100% vegetarian and can be used as an egg substitute in baked products.
for Women - Research has indicated that flax seeds
are useful to improve the chances of a woman conceiving
a baby. It helps to regulate ovulation process and restore hormonal balance
in the body. For women in the post menopausal stage it has been known to
protect cardiovascular disease.
Rich in Various Nutrients - Flax seeds are rich in vitamin B complex, magnesium and manganese which are all very useful to lower cholesterol.
Aids Digestion - Being rich in fibre these seeds act as natural laxative
Carcinogenic Properties - Increased levels of Lignans
present in flax seeds help in protecting against cancer of the breast and
How to Use Flaxseed
Flaxseeds can easily be mixed with other foods since it hardly has a flavour and is very mild in taste. It is an excellent substitute for vegetable oils. The seeds can be eaten raw by mixing it with salads, cereals and yogurt. It can also be popped like popcorn. The seeds can be combined with fruit juices and smoothies without altering the taste of flavour of the fruit.
Here are some of the different ways in which flaxseeds can be used.
Grinding Flax Seeds- By consuming ground flax seed you can derive maximum health benefits from it. For grinding simply put the seeds in a blender or a coffee grinder. Mix the powdered seeds in any recipe of your choice in moderate quantity.
Boiled Flax Seeds - Flax seeds can be boiled with soups and hot cereals. However, very small quantities must be used for boiling since excessive use of seeds can produce a kind of slime and a weird taste.
Raw Flax Seeds- Raw flax seeds give a soft crunch and nutty taste to foods. However when eaten raw it must be chewed thoroughly failing which it will get ejected from the body undigested. This essentially amounts to eating the seeds without deriving its nutritive benefits.
Flax seeds are indeed wonder seeds. However, it is not advisable to consume it in large quantities or by people suffering from allergies of any kind. You must always start eating a small quantity of the seeds to begin with. Half or a quarter teaspoon will suffice for experimenting initially.
You must watch out for a few days and look for signs of allergic reactions or other gastrointestinal problems which the seeds may cause after consumption. In case you do not notice any adverse side effects you can gradually increase the intake of flax seeds up to two tablespoons a day.
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- The Indiaparenting Team