How to eat flax seeds and why should you incorporate this nutritious seed into your diet
There isn’t only one strict way to eat flax seeds. With a slightly mild, nutty flavor these super healthy seeds can be used in various meals and recipes.
Also known as linseeds, flax seeds are the seeds of the flax plant. Brown and golden are the two basic types of flax seeds. The dark brown seeds have a stronger flavor than the golden ones.
There are many unconventional but easy ways to add a daily dose of flaxseed to your meal and the best thing is that you don’t need to reconstruct your food habits or change your daily diet.
Read on to learn more about flax seeds, why they are good for you, and the best ways to incorporate them into your diet!
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Is flaxseed good for you?
Just one tablespoon (7 grams) contains only 37 calories, a significant amount of healthy fats, fiber, protein, and key vitamins and minerals. The benefits of flax seeds are mainly attributed to the omega-3s, fiber, and lignans they contain.
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) – a mostly plant-based omega-3 fatty acid is one of the two essential fatty acids that our bodies don’t produce and you have to obtain from the food you eat. ALA comprises approximately 55% of the total fatty acid content of flaxseed fatty acids.
There are 2.35 grams of alpha-linolenic acid in 1 tablespoon of whole flaxseed, it’s recommended that most adults get between 1.1 and 1.6 grams of ALA per day. So with just one tablespoon of flax seeds, you will get the daily need for ALA. If you don’t eat fish or you are a vegetarian, then flax seeds are a great source for your daily needs of omega-3 fatty acids.
Fiber – 60-80% of fiber content in flax seeds is insoluble and 20-40% is soluble fiber. The soluble fiber slows down your digestion rate, this helps to regulate blood sugar and lower cholesterol. The insoluble fiber helps to prevent constipation. Due to the high fiber content, eating flax seeds can improve your digestive health and regular bowel movements.
Lignans – a group of nutrients that have powerful disease-fighting antioxidant properties. Flax seeds contain up to 800 times more lignans than vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, and other fiber-rich plant foods.
Before you find out what are the best ways to eat flax seeds, you can learn more about the benefits and side effects of flax seeds by reading this article Flaxseed: Benefits, Uses, and Possible Side Effects.
How to eat flax seeds
Flax seeds come in two varieties: whole and ground flaxseed. Flax seeds when not chewed properly can go undigested.
Your body can’t absorb the nutrients in whole flaxseed, which is why it’s important to grind the seeds before eating them. You can buy ground flax seeds from any food store or you can grind them by yourself.
Freshness is a general concern when using flax seeds. If you want the absolute most nutritious packed servings grinding flax seeds is a great way to go.
This is so simple to do, a basic coffee grinder should do the trick, but investing in a professional flaxseed grinder specially designed to grind flax seeds is better if you plan on grinding flax seeds on a regular basis.
Ground or Whole Flaxseed
Nutritional experts recommend ground over whole flaxseed. The ground form is easier to digest, whole flaxseed may pass through your intestine undigested which means you won’t get all the benefits.
Once you’ve ground them you can add these super healthy seeds to a wide range of foods and recipes to boost their nutrient content and improve your health.
Add flax seeds to baked goods
Ground flax seeds improve the nutrition of baked goods without adding too many extra calories. Ground flax seeds only contribute 37 calories per tablespoon (7 grams) and it is easy to mix them into bread dough, cookie butter, or even pizza dough.
Flaxseed wheat bread
Combine 2 cups bread flour, 1/2 cup flax seeds, 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast in a large bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups cool water; mix, without kneading, until dough is wet and sticky. Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature until the dough is well swelled for about 12 hours.
Grease a loaf pan with 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil, dust with 1 1/2 teaspoons whole wheat flour. Place the dough in the pan, dust the top with remaining flour and poke holes in the dough using a chopstick. Cover loaf pan with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 230 degrees C ( 450 degrees F) and place an oven-safe cup of water in the oven.
Bake for about 45 minutes. Lift bread out of the pan and let it cool thoroughly on a rack.
The simplest and easiest way to eat flax seeds is to blend them into a smoothie. By adding ground flax seeds into your smoothie you will get a more nutritious drink, rich in alpha-linolenic acid (a type of omega-3 fatty acid found in plants that must be obtained through the diet) and fiber.
If you are new to eating flax seeds start by adding just 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed into your smoothie to see how your body handles the fiber. Consuming flaxseed may increase your bowel movement due to high fiber content, and also may bring up some gas and bloating as your body adjusts.
After you adjust your body and eat flax seeds regularly you can add 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds to your smoothie to keep you feeling full for hours. It is not recommended to add more than 2 tablespoons of flax into your smoothie because the flavor and texture start to become a little too noticeable.
Flax seed smoothie
The best thing about a flax seeds smoothie is that you can add flax seeds to any kind of smoothie, so feel free to be creative. Here is our recommendation for a banana mango flax seeds smoothie:
- In a blender combine 1 cup water, 1 banana, 1 cup mango, 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds, 1 handful of baby spinach, and blend until smooth.
- Serve right away for the best texture and taste. Instead of water, you can use almond milk, oat milk, or hemp milk. It is your choice, be creative you can use flaxseed in any smoothie but don’t put more than 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed. Enjoy!
Flax seeds as an egg substitute
You can use flax egg as an egg replacement in many recipes if you are a vegan, and if you aren’t it is interesting to try to replace eggs in recipes for pancakes, quick bread, oatmeal cookies, whole grain muffins, and savory scones.
How to make a flax egg
The basic ratio for making a flax egg is one tablespoon of flax seeds and three tablespoons of water to replace one egg. Add 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds and 2 1/2 tablespoons of water into a dish and stir. Let rest for 5 minutes to thicken. Add to recipes in place of 1 egg.
Oatmeal with flax seeds
Flaxseed oatmeal is another way how you can eat flax seeds and also get a healthy, nutritious breakfast rich in dietary fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids. Filled with healthy ingredients flaxseed oatmeal will keep you full for hours and it’s extremely easy to prepare.
How to make flaxseed oatmeal
In a small saucepan bring 1 cup almond milk and 3/4 cup water to a boil over medium heat. Make sure the milk doesn’t over boil.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in 2 Tbsp. ground flax seeds, 1 cup oats, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Cook for 6-7 minutes, until almost all of the liquid, has been absorbed. Stir frequently, you might need to dial down the heat as well.
Adjust the consistency as needed depending on your taste, add more liquid if needed to reach the consistency you desire.
Remove from heat, cover, and let the oatmeal rest at least 5 minutes before serving.
Divide between two serving bowls and top with blueberries (or any kind of fruit you like), nuts (almond, chopped walnuts) maple syrup, or honey. You can put anything you like on the top.
Use flax seeds in green salads
You can add whole flax seeds to your salad to give it an extra crunch and taste. Also instead of using olive oil, you can use flax oil to make omega-3 rich salad dressing.
Soup with flax seeds
By adding just one tablespoon of ground flax seeds to your soup you will make the soup slightly crunchy and nutty. You can also use whole flaxseeds for garnishing.
Other simple and easy ways how you can eat flax seeds
You can add flax seeds to any food that can benefit from the added crunch or fresh, nutty flavor. The easiest way is just to sprinkle ground flaxseeds in your cereals, yogurt, on a toast. Egg dishes, burgers, sauces, and pancakes also benefit from the addition of flaxseeds.
More recipes with flax seeds:
How much flaxseed should I eat per day?
To get the full benefits of flaxseed it is recommended to eat 2 tablespoons (16 grams) of ground flaxseed per day. It is advisable to start with 1/2 tablespoon and then increase the dose slowly.
Just 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds are enough if you are in perfect health. If you are suffering from any problems like constipation or you want to consume this seed for weight loss the dose is different.
For weight loss: Flax seeds are rich in fiber, the high fiber content reduces the appetite, thus you will feel less hungry. The omega-3s present in these healthy seeds improve metabolism, increased metabolism results in better digestion and less deposition of fat.
How much flaxseed for weight loss?
The recommended dose of flax seeds for weight loss is 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed per 100 pounds of body weight per day.
If you want to learn more about how flax seeds can help you with weight loss, and what to choose chia seeds or flax seeds for weight loss here is a further reading for you: Chia Seeds vs. Flax Seeds: Which Is Better For Weight Loss?
For constipation: Flax seeds may help if you have a problem with constipation. The recommended dosage to get rid of constipation is 2-3 tablespoons, but remember that you should drink plenty of water. Otherwise, it will show side effects by increasing constipation because the fiber in flaxseed soak water.
Final thoughts on how to eat flax seeds
From all written above we can see that adding flax seeds into our diet is so easy and super healthy. Be sure to always use ground flax seeds, and the best way is to buy whole flax seeds and grind them right before using them.
Packed with omega-3s, lignans, and fiber you can add them to your oatmeal, cereals, yogurt, smoothie, or use them as an egg replacer. You will get a tasty and nutritious meal.
There are so many ways how you can use flax seeds, it is up to you which recipe you will choose. If you haven’t tried them yet now is time to do that. Experiment with your favorite meals by adding flax seeds. Enjoy!