Flaxseeds: A Nutrient Dense Superfood!

By Laleh Bral, CSUN Dietetic Intern

Flaxseeds are one of the oldest cultivated crops known to man – consumed 5,000 years ago in ancient Babylon and a favorite food of King Charlemagne in the 8th century. Flaxseeds are small, tan, brown or golden-colored seeds and are also known as linseeds. This tiny seed packs a big nutritional punch!

Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, fiber (both soluble and insoluble), potassium and magnesium. They are also a good source of zinc, protein and B vitamins. Flaxseeds are low in calorie and saturated fats, and are cholesterol-free. One hundred grams of ground flaxseed supply approximately 450 kilocalories, 28 grams of fiber, 41 grams of fat and 20 grams of protein.1

The health benefits are numerous. Several studies have shown that flaxseeds can reduce the swelling, inflammation, and pain of arthritis.2 They have been studied for their use to lower triglyceride and blood cholesterol levels.

Flaxseeds have a pleasant, nutty taste, and they can be mixed with water or any vegetable juice or fruit. They can be added to soups, salads, baked goods, cereals or yogurt. When eaten whole, flaxseeds are more likely to pass through the body undigested. Eating ground flaxseeds allows the body to obtain more nutrients and bioactive components. The seeds can be easily ground in a coffee or spice grinder. Flaxseed oil can be used as an alternative if you prefer not to eat the seeds. Like the seeds from which it is extracted, organic cold-pressed flaxseed oil is rich in essential fatty acids. When choosing between ground flaxseed verses flaxseed oil, remember that ground flaxseed provides additional nutritional benefits such as lignans, fiber and other phytonutrients, not just omega-3 fat.3

Below is a healthy and satisfyingly sweet recipe to try.

Flaxseed Pumpkin Pudding

Recipe by Registered Dietitian- Steph Wagner

Ingredients

  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 Tbsp. flaxseeds
  • ¾ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • dash vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1-2 Tbsp. sweetener

Directions

  1. Place pumpkin, flaxseeds, almond milk, spices and sweetener in a mixing bowl and mix well until smooth.
  2. Pour into smaller serving bowls- this amount makes plenty for at least 2 servings.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Add dollop of whipped topping if desired.

Flaxseeds may be found at one of the booths located at the Farmer’s Market on CSUN’s campus every Tuesday or at a local health food store.

 

References

  1. Yan, L. The benefits of flaxseed. Available at https://www.ars.usda.gov/plains-area/gfnd/gfhnrc/docs/news-2012/the-benefits-of-flaxseed/. 2016. Accessed May 1. 2018.
  2. Balch P. Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements. New York: Avery; 2010
  3. Fuhrman J. Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss. Boston: Little, Brown and Company; 2003

 

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