Know more about fabulous flax seeds!

by Sanjeev Kapoor

Flax Seeds is the newest super-food to gain popularity these days. With its insane health benefits many are tempted to try it out, but what exactly are they and why should it be included in your diet?

Flax seeds are actually not seeds, but grains. Flax is a plant native to Europe and Asia but is believed to have originated in Egypt. The ancient Egyptians used flax seed for nutritional and medicinal purposes as well as the fibre contained in the flax plant to make clothes, fishnets and other products. Flax seeds were ground into flour or meal, but today this is less common. The small, brown seeds are more often used as a food additive because of the delicious nutty flavor and the nutritional benefits.

Omega 3 Powerhouse

They are gluten free, anti-inflammatory, loaded with antioxidants – particularly lignans and a bulk quantity of Omega 3 acids. With all these super pigments and nutrients in it, flax seeds are a great way to keep in good health.

Flax seeds are quite the fad in the health circles as one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial in reducing LDL (bad cholesterol) and lowering the risk of stroke and heart disease. They are also rich in fibre and a compound called lignin.

How to use

Flax seeds are commonly found in food stores. They can be either golden or chocolate brown in colour (slightly larger than sesame seeds and have a mild flavour). Buy any as there is no real nutritional difference. Start your day with a tablespoon of lightly roasted crushed flax seeds with a glass of water. What you have done is give yourself approximately one gram of omega-3 fatty acids and lots of fibre. The seeds will bloat up in water and give a feeling of fullness. Hence, this could be developed into a thickener for shakes and smoothies too.

There are a few things one needs to keep in mind while eating flax seeds.

Avoid eating flax seeds whole. They just cannot be digested and become waste. It is best to lightly roast the seeds, either in a kadai till they start crackling. (Raw flax seeds, contain a substance called cyanate, which can be harmful to the body in larger quantities.) Remember to start slowly if you aren’t used to a high fibre diet.

Flax in the kitchen

  • Make a chutney by grinding one cup roasted flax seeds, with seven eight dried red chilies, a whole pod of garlic and some salt. Enjoy with curd rice, or dal-chawal.
  • Add a tablespoon of ground flax seeds to regular breakfast cereal.
  • Add a teaspoon of flax seeds to your mayonnaise or mustard as you spread it on bread for sandwiches.
  • Mix a tablespoon of flax seeds into yogurt for a snack.
  • Add a tablespoon of flax seeds to your sauce or rice or pasta.
  • Mix a teaspoon of flax seeds into your salad dressing or sprinkle it directly onto your salad.
  • Bake it into cookies, muffins, breads, and other baked goods. Fortunately the flax seeds do not significantly change the taste or texture of the product.

Need some fabulous flax seed recipes? Try these!

Flaxseed aur Palak ke Paranthe

Paranthas made with whole wheat flour, spinach, dryroasted spice and flaxseed masala cooked with desi ghee! A ton of healthy ingredients in one delicious dish – it makes a great breakfast!

Oats and Flaxseed pops

These tasty pops are instant energy boosters and a great mix of healthy and tasty ingredients. The use of indulgent ingredients like peanut butter and dark chocolate chips is balanced super healthy ones like oats, flaxseeds and honey. A definite hit with kids!

Cucumber and Flaxseed Raita

This recipe is a great way to add some crunch and plenty of nutrition to a simple raita. It tastes great along with a pulao or dal chawal.

 

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.