Remember the saying “good things come in small packages?” That’s definitely the case for this super food. Flaxseed is small but a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber and can help lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation and lower the risk of some cancers. There are a few types of flaxseed available in stores and they aren’t created equally so it’s good to know your facts before buying.
Whole flax seed
- Provides our bodies with fiber (~ 1.2 grams of soluble and 2.4 grams of insoluble per Tbsp) but we are not able to break the seed apart to get the healthy omega-3 oils.
Flax Seed Oil
- Gives our bodies the Omega-3 benefits but is no longer filled with fiber.
Ground or “milled” Flax Seed
- Supplies us with both fiber and Omega-3 oils.
Some people prefer to buy whole flax seed and grind it themselves using a coffee grinder to the freshest product. If you buy whole flax seed it can be stored for a long time. Milled or ground flaxseed goes rancid quicker and is best to buy it in small quantities. Most people agree it will stay fresh for 3-4 months in the refrigerator and some research shows that it can be stored for 128 days at room temperature before becoming rancid (I’m still a little skeptical of that?).
Flaxseed adds a nutty flavor and can be scooped on top of cereal, yogurt, smoothies, oatmeal, applesauce or used in place of fats or eggs in baked goods. I’ve done the side by side comparison using flaxseed in place of an egg in chocolate chip cookies and found that I liked the flaxseed filled cookie better. It made the cookies dense and added a nutty flavor.
Baking Conversions for Flax seed in place of Fggs or Fat
- 3 Tbsp ground flaxseed = 1 Tbsp Fat
- 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 3 Tbsp water= 1 egg
Another unique way to cook with flaxseed is to use it to coat chicken or fish before cooking for a crunchy result (great option for people with Celiac’s disease or others on a gluten free diet). Need more help? Type “flaxseed recipes” into Google, Epicurious, Cooking Light or any other recipe search engine and you will find more creative ways to add this healthy seed into your diet.