Flax seed has recently become the mainstay of health foods due to its high omega-3 fatty acids, lignans, and fiber levels. However, the question arises as to whether we can consume these seeds raw. Do we have to cook them for optimal health benefits? This article will explore the benefits of eating raw flax seeds, how to incorporate them into your diet, and the potential risks. We look at the nutritional benefits, flavors that mix well, how to select quality flax, and how it stores.
Benefits Of Eating Raw Flax Seeds
The main advantage of eating raw flax seeds is that they are a rich source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. These two components help to reduce cholesterol levels in the body and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Eating raw flaxseeds is also beneficial for digestion as they are a rich source of soluble and insoluble fibers, which help add bulk to the stools.
In addition, raw flaxseeds are a great source of lignans, plant compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that lignans can help to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, such as breast cancer. Furthermore, raw flaxseeds are a good source of magnesium, which is essential for bone health and can help reduce osteoporosis risk.
How To Incorporate Raw Flax Seeds Into Your Diet
Raw flax seeds can be used in a variety of ways in cooking. For example, they can be sprinkled on top of salads or added to smoothies for an extra boost of nutrition. Alternatively, they can soak and blend into sauces or spread on toast. Ground or milled flax seeds are available in many health food stores and can be used in baking or added to soups and stews.
Flax seeds can also be used to make a nutritious breakfast porridge. Soak the seeds overnight in water, then blend them with a bit of milk and the sweetener of your choice. To make a delicious and nutritious breakfast, add other ingredients, such as nuts, dried fruit, or spices.
Different Ways To Eat Seeds
Raw flax seeds can be eaten as is right out of the bag. They can also be mixed into yogurt, cereal, oats, or smoothies. If milled or ground, they can be blended into sauces and spreads. Another popular way to eat them is by adding them to pancake or waffle batter or incorporating them into muffin recipes.
Flax seeds can also find a use as a topping for salads, soups, and other dishes. Sprinkling them on oatmeal or yogurt for a crunchy texture. Additionally, they can be added to trail mix or granola for a healthy snack. Flax seeds can also make delicious flaxseed milk, a great alternative to dairy milk.
Is Eating Raw Flax Seeds Safe?
Yes, it is safe to consume raw flax seeds in moderation. However, eating too many can cause digestive upset, and it is not advisable for pregnant women or people with certain gastrointestinal conditions to eat them. Additionally, it is essential to note that raw flax seeds contain oxalates that can cause kidney stones if consumed excessively.
It is recommended to grind flax seeds before consuming them. This will help to break down the hard outer shell and make them easier to digest. Additionally, drinking plenty of water when consuming flax seeds is essential. This will help flush out any oxygen in the body.
What Are the Nutritional Benefits Of Flax Seed?
Raw flax seeds are a rich source of dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, lignans (antioxidants), and plant-based protein. They also contain vitamin B6, iron, manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium. Eating these seeds regularly helps to improve digestion, reduce harmful cholesterol levels in the body, regulate blood sugar levels, aid in weight management, and reduce inflammation.
In addition to these benefits, flax seeds are a great source of essential fatty acids for healthy skin, hair, and nails. They are also a good source of dietary fiber. This helps keep you feeling full for longer and can help reduce cravings. Flax seeds are also a great source of plant-based protein, which can help to build and maintain muscle mass.
What Are the Potential Risks of Eating Raw Flax Seeds?
While eating raw flax seeds has many health benefits. There are also potential risks associated with consuming them. Because they contain oxalates, excessive intake could lead to kidney stones or bladder infections. Additionally, raw flax seeds contain phytic acid. Interfering with absorbing essential minerals such as zinc, they should not be consumed excessively.
When selecting quality raw flax seeds, it is essential to look for fresh and free from discoloration. It is also essential to buy organic ones if possible. This will ensure they are free from contaminants such as pesticides. Additionally, raw flax seeds should be stored in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place. Consumed within a few months of purchase.
When purchasing raw flax seeds, it is essential to check the label for the country of origin. This will help ensure that the flax is of the highest quality and grown in an environment free from pollutants. Additionally, checking the expiration date on the package is essential to ensure that they are still fresh.
What Flavors Are A Compliment?
Raw flax seeds have a slightly nutty flavor which pairs well with sweet or savory dishes. Their flavor will deepen and become more pronounced when cooked. In baked goods, you can add flax to such as muffins, bread, and pies, sprinkle it over yogurt, or on oatmeal for breakfast. Also, you could top your salads with them for extra crunch. They pair well with nutmeg, cinnamon, orange zest, and cardamom.
Flax seeds can also find use to make a delicious pesto. Blend flax seeds, olive oil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. The use in pesto can be spread on a sandwich or as a vegetable dip. Flax seeds can also make a crunchy topping for casseroles or soups. Mix flax seeds, melted butter, and seasonings of your choice and sprinkle over the top of your dish before baking.
How to Store Raw Flax Seeds
Raw flax seeds should be put in an air-tight container in a calm and dark place, such as a cupboard. It is also essential to keep them away from direct sunlight as this can reduce their shelf life significantly. Raw flax seeds will keep fresh for up to 6 months if stored properly.
In conclusion, you can consume raw flax seeds safely, provide that they are in moderation. Within a few months of their purchase. Incorporating them into your diet can provide many health benefits, such as improving digestion and overall health. Additionally, they pair well with various flavors. Make them a versatile and easy way to get extra nutrition into your meals.