Wednesday, January 19, 2011

RUN Healthy: Flaxseeds

What is it?

Flaxseeds are slightly larger than sesame seeds and have a hard shell that is smooth and shiny. Their color ranges from deep amber to reddish brown. While whole flaxseeds feature a soft crunch, the nutrients in ground seeds are more easily absorbed. They have an earthy and slight nutty flavor. They can be bought whole or ground, as well as flaxseed oil, and are available throughout the year.

Why makes it so special?

Flaxseeds are rich in alpha linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fat that is a precursor to the form of omega-3 found in fish oils called eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA. Since the fats are found in their isolated form in flaxseed oil, it is a more concentrated source of ALA
In addition, flaxseeds are a good source of manganese, dietary fiber, magnesium, folate, copper, phosphorus, and Vitamin B6.

Research has linked flaxseeds to:
·        Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
·        Omega-3-rich Flaxseeds Protect Bone Health
·        Protection Against Heart Disease, Cancer and Diabetes
·        Flaxseeds Help Prevent and Control High Blood Pressure
·        Flaxseed Provides Comparable Cholesterol-Lowering Benefits to Statin Drugs
·        Flaxseed Oil Lowers Blood Pressure in Men with High Cholesterol
·        Rich in Beneficial Fiber
·        Flaxseed Puts the Brakes on Prostate Cancer Growth
·        Lessens Women’s Chances of Developing Breast Cancer
·        Flaxseed Reduces Hot Flashes Almost 60%
·        Fend Off Dry Eyes
How can I add it to my diet?

Flaxseeds can be purchased either whole, already ground, or as an oil. The different forms offer distinct benefits. Although ground flaxseeds may be more convenient, whole flaxseeds feature a longer shelf life. Whole flaxseeds are generally available in prepackaged containers as well as bulk bins. If you purchase whole flaxseeds, store them in an airtight container in a dark, dry and cool place where they will keep fresh for several months. Grind your own flaxseeds in a coffee grinder and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 months. Flaxseed oil is especially perishable and should be purchased in opaque bottles that have been kept refrigerated. Never use flaxseed oil in cooking; add it to foods after they have been heated.
A Few Quick Serving Ideas:
Sprinkle ground flaxseeds onto your hot or cold cereal or yogurts. Add flaxseeds to your homemade muffin, cookie or bread recipe. Add a tablespoon of flaxseed oil to smoothies.

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