What’s the Deal with Flaxseed?

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What’s the Deal with Flaxseed?

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You’ve probably heard about flaxseed, or at least seen it listed in a recipe somewhere. If you haven’t tried it (or maybe don’t even know what it is), you should consider getting to know this tiny seed better. There are compelling reasons to make this a staple in your pantry. It’s an excellent source of Omega-3 essential fatty acids, fibre, and lignans, which have antioxidant and plant oestrogen qualities. In addition, flaxseed is known to protect against several types of cancer, help stabilize blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes, reduce inflammation, help prevent heart attacks and strokes, and improve hot flashes in menopausal women. That’s quite a list of benefits! Convinced you need to give it a try? Flaxseed is easy to use and highly versatile. It’s thought that consuming flaxseed is better than flax oil, which contains only part of the seed. When you use the flaxseed itself, you get the benefits of all components of the seed. You can eat whole flaxseed, but it’s likely to pass undigested through the intestinal tract, meaning your body doesn’t get all its potential benefits. For this reason, it’s best to use ground flaxseed. You can buy it already ground or grind it yourself in a small grinder, such as an electric coffee grinder. Don’t let the different product names confuse you: ground flaxseed, milled flaxseed, and flax meal are all the same thing. You can choose either brown or golden flaxseed. They are very nutritionally similar, so this choice is a matter of personal taste (and aesthetics). Most grocery store chains now carry flaxseed; if yours doesn’t, you can also easily find it online. Easy ways to incorporate it into your diet include adding it to oatmeal, smoothies, or yogurt, “hiding” it in sauces, chili, stews, and other cooked dishes, and baking with it. There are many recipes available on various websites with great recipes for flaxseed muffins, rolls, pancakes, and much more. Whole flaxseed will keep longer than ground, and it can be stored at room temperature for up to a year (as long as it’s kept dry); ground flaxseed should be stored in the freezer to keep it from losing its nutritional potency through oxidation. Enjoy your flaxseed!

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