Flax Seed: The Low Carb Whole Grain

flax_seedsIt may be tiny, but it’s mighty: The flax seed carries one of the biggest nutrient payloads on the planet. And while it’s not technically a grain, it has a similar vitamin and mineral profile to grains, while the amount of fiber, antioxidants, and Omega-3 fatty acids in flax is not available in grains.

  • Flax seed is very low in carbohydrates, making it ideal for people who limit their intake of starches and sugars.
  • Flax seed is high in most of the B vitamins, magnesium, and manganese
  • Flax seed is Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are a key force against inflammation in our bodies. Mounting evidence shows that inflammation plays a part in many chronic diseases including heart disease, arthritis, asthma, diabetes, and even some cancers. In the quest to equalize the ratio of these two kinds of oils, flax seed can be a real help. Taking flaxseed oil for gout may lessen the often sudden and severe joint pain or swelling that is a symptom of this condition.
  • They help to regulate your cholesterol. Increase the HDL and lower the LDL. Omega-3 fats also wage war on your triglyceride levels.
  • Because they are high in soluble fiber, ground flaxseeds can help ease the passage of stools and thus relieve constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticular disease.
  • Flax Seed is High in Fiber:both soluble and insoluble — than flax. This fiber is probably mainly responsible for the cholesterol-lowering effects of flax. Fiber in the diet also helps stabilize blood sugar, and, of course, promotes proper functioning of the intestines.
  • Phytochemicals: Flax seed is high in phytochemicals, including many antioxidants. It is perhaps our best source of lignans(phytoestrogens-hormones like substances), which convert in our intestines to substances which tend to balance female hormones. There is evidence that lignans may promote fertility, reduce peri-menopausal symptoms, and possibly help reduce cancer risk. The lignans in flaxseed appear to play a role in protecting against breast, colon, prostate, and perhaps skin cancer. In addition, lignans may help prevent Type 2 diabetes.

There are a few things one needs to bear in mind while using flax seeds . (Flax oil, as such, is not easily available in India).

  • Avoid eating flax seeds whole. They have the nasty habit of leaving your body in the same condition they came in.
  • Its best to lightly roast the seeds, either in a kadhai till they start crackling (similar to til or sesame seeds). Raw Flax seeds, contain a substance called cyanate, which can be harmful to the body in larger quantities.
  • Ideally , one should grind the roasted flax seeds, This is easily done in a grinder. The recommended amount per day, is about 1-2 tablespoons.
  • A decent combination called FLAX SEED chutney !
    Grind together 250 gms roasted flax seeds, a big palmful of dried red chillies, and 1-2 whole garlic (the whole thing). Add salt to taste. Enjoy on toast, curd rice, boiled veggies, dal-rice.
  • For those who are anti-garlic, a ground mixture of dried kadhipatta(curry leaves), flax seeds and dried red chillies is also very tasty.
  • Make a delcious mixture of juice of a few lemons, salt, red chilly powder, fenugreek powder(methi), haldi (turmeric), and add in ground flax seeds chutney, or just plain ground seeds. This makes a delicious sandwhich spread.

Enjoy the benefits of flaxseeds.

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Sanjana Shenoy

About Sanjana Shenoy

A dietitian from Mangalore, India. A post graduate diploma holder in “Dietetics” and a university topper from Welcomgroup School of Hotel Administration from the prestigious Manipal University. At present working as a Dietitian for the Manipal Group of Hospitals namely KMC hospital Mangalore, India. Consultant for corporates like Infosys and others, conducting talks and presentations for various associations and local television shows.

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11 Responses to Flax Seed: The Low Carb Whole Grain

  1. Maina June 9, 2008 at 12:03 pm #

    i also figured that since flax seeds are tasteless, the powdered seeds can be mixed in dosa/ idli batter, chapathi atta and just abt anything….

    i have a question though…i have a 8 month old son. Wld introducing FS at this time be ok?

  2. Sanjana Shenoy
    Sanjana - Site Dietitian June 9, 2008 at 12:34 pm #

    Hi Maina
    Your son is not yet ready for it.
    His system is not yet fully developed.Start it in his porridge after he completes one year.
    After one year You should aim for about 2 teaspoons of ground flax seeds or 1/4 teaspoon of flax oil in your sons diet. It contains a good amount of Essential Fatty Acids.
    EFAs are equally important for good health and are vital components of every living cell in the body and are called as brain food for growing children.

    If your son is 8 months old then you should be lactating right now.Lactating moms should get plenty of flax in their diet to promote optimal fatty acid levels in the milk.So your son too will reap the benefits.His requirement of fats is very high now for optimal brain growth.

  3. Amit February 10, 2009 at 1:08 pm #

    Hi
    I am 25 yrs old and is it ok to just chew 1 teaspoon of it daily instead of grinding it ?

  4. Gunjan Singh December 9, 2009 at 4:35 pm #

    Is taking flax seed oil/capsule as good as flax seed taken raw/roasted

  5. Sanjana Shenoy
    Sanjana - Dietitian December 11, 2009 at 12:01 pm #

    Hi Gunjan,

    Flax seed in the raw or roasted form both provide fiber in good amounts which is good to reduce blood sugars and cholesterol. They also provide the fatty acids need.

    While the oil only provides good fats for heart health. If your diet has adequate fiber, the oil will suffice. But if you want the goodness of fats and fiber, then go for the raw or roasted form.

  6. Gunjan Singh December 15, 2009 at 11:30 am #

    Thanks Sanjana for this very useful advice. I can see that you are a dietician . I am 35 years old female living in new delhi.I suffer from hypothyrodism (take Thyronorm 50 mgm daily) and is also pre-diabetic. i am also overweight(84 Kgs ,height 5.5). Can you help me? I have started to consume flax seeds daily.

  7. Prabhu January 28, 2010 at 7:10 pm #

    Hi,

    I bought flax seed and flax seed oil today but i am not sure how to use this in my daily diet (my breakfast is usually cereal). Also will i be able to replace sunflower oil with flax seed oil in daily cooking. Please advice.

  8. Sanjana Shenoy
    Sanjana - Dietitian February 3, 2010 at 5:35 pm #

    You can look for my article on flaxseed for more info… But you cannot use replace your cooking oil as it cannot take the temperature…

  9. Dustin Hill March 8, 2011 at 10:45 pm #

    While it is true that eating whole flaxseed does not break down in the body, however, if they are soaked and dehydrated at the right temperature, the seed shells soften and break down more easily in the body. Pretty cool.

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