Flax seeds are one of the best foods. In fact it is included as one of the super foods by many health blogs. If you have never eaten flax seeds you may be tempted to eat them after you read the various health benefits associated with them.
Living in the Kingdom, it is tempting to fall into the pattern of eating a diet rich in white, starchy carbs that are practically void of fiber; such as rice, savory breads, the famous mana’eesh (cheese or thyme or meat pies), sweet pastries, and Afghani tameez bread.
So what if I miss out on fiber and how much fiber should I be including in my diet?
The Mayo Clinic recommends a daily intake of 25 grams of fiber for adult women and 38 grams of fiber for men, which is pretty hard to get in the typical Western diet and Saudi diet alike.
There are two types of fiber, and both are vital to maintain optimal health. Soluble fiber can help lower blood glucose levels and blood cholesterol, making it useful in the prevention and management of diabetes. Insoluble fiber promotes the movement of material through the digestive system, aiding in the treatment of constipation and in the prevention of colorectal cancer.
It is difficult to find any one food that contains both types, except for flax seeds.
Flaxseeds are high in both: soluble and insoluble fiber, making flax seeds one of the best no-fuss ways and most effective healthy additions to your diet. One tablespoon of ground flaxseeds contains 2 grams of fiber, and you can easily incorporate several tablespoons of the ground seeds in your diet throughout your busy day.
Not only are flax seeds rich in fiber, but also in the essential omega 3 fatty acids, namely alpha-linolenic acid or ALA.
Omega 3 fatty acids found in flax seeds have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body, which are responsible for the seeds’ scientifically backed reputation in alleviating symptoms associated with arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and even eczema and other skin problems.
Research at the University of Maryland, Medical Center revealed that regular intake of ground flaxseeds can lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
“One of the best ways to help prevent and treat heart disease is to eat a diet low in saturated fat and transfat and eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids from flaxseed or fish. Evidence suggests that people who eat an ALA-rich diet are less likely to have a fatal heart attack. Several human studies suggest that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids (including ALA) may lower blood pressure,” stated the report by the University of Maryland, Medical Center.
Flaxseeds and ground flax seeds – but not flax seed oil – contain lignans, a group of chemical compounds found naturally in some plants.
Lignans in the body act like the hormone estrogen and have been shown to retard the spread of cancer, and some research shows that they can help lessen uncomfortable symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes.
In a study conducted by the University of Maryland, Medical Center, postmenopausal women diagnosed with breast cancer ate 25 grams of dietary flaxseed daily for 40 days. The study found that adding flaxseed to the diet may reduce tumor growth in women with breast cancer.
Lignans may also slow the growth of colon tumor cells. Studies suggest that flax seeds reduce the number of abnormal cell growths, which are early markers of colon cancer. A few studies show that increased ALA intake, in flax seeds, may benefit men at risk for developing prostate cancer.
Again, you want to eat the ground flax seeds; not the whole seeds and not the oil.
To lock in the beneficial nutrients, you can grind small amounts of flax seeds in a coffee grinder, and store in the fridge, or purchase cold milled ground flax seeds which were ground without using heat.
How to make ground flax seeds a part of your daily diet:
• Sprinkle a tablespoon of ground flaxseed over your hot or cold breakfast cereal.
• Mix a tablespoon of ground flaxseed in yogurt or hummus.
• When making sandwiches, add some ground flaxseed to mayonnaise, or peanut butter, or cream cheese.
• Mix ground flax seeds in your salad dressing.
• Add in ground flax seeds to your pancake batter or cake mix or cookie dough, or pizza crust, or any baked goods.
• Add ground flax seeds to your favorite pasta sauce, whether it is tomato sauce or creamy alfredo.
• Combine ground flax seeds with cinnamon and use as a delicious dip for sliced apples and bananas
Source – http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20140920218768