Food of the month: Flaxseed

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Food of the month flaxseed

What it is:
Flaxseed is found in the fruit of flax, a fibre crop that goes by the latin name Linus Usatissimum.

Where it’s from:
Flaxseed was cultivated in the Middle East as far back as 6000BC, and if you were a subject of King Charlemagne during the 8th century, flaxseed would have been a legally required part of your diet. The monarch was so convinced of its health benefits that he passed a law requiring that everyone eat it.

Where it’s produced:
The largest producer of flaxseed is Canada, and it is also grown in America, China and India.

What it looks and tastes like:
Glossy and measuring between 4-7mm long, flaxseeds come in two varieties: brown and golden. Most brown flaxseeds are grown in Canada while the golden seeds come from the U.S. Both have a nutty, earthy flavour, with the golden flaxseed being slightly milder than the brown.

How to eat / use it:
Ground flaxseed is a better option since whole flaxseeds aren’t easily digested and so your body misses out on all the nutritional benefits – of which there are many. Just 1-2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed is enough, you can easily incorporate this by adding a tablespoon to your breakfast cereal, mixing some into foods such as yoghurt, smoothies, hummus or ice cream, and even adding a teaspoon to mayonnaise or mustard when you make sandwiches. If you love baking, then you can also substitute ground flaxseed for flour; replace ¼ to ½ a cup of flour with flaxseed in recipes that call for two or more cups of flour.

A good source of:
Flaxseed is a great source of omega 3 essential fatty acids; the recommended daily allowance for omega 3 is 1.1 grams and one teaspoon of flaxseed contains 1.8 grams! This grain is also full of fibre, protein, B vitamins, vitamin E and antioxidants.

Benefits:
The flax plant’s latin name, Linus Usatissimum, translates to “most useful” and based on its health benefits alone, we can safely say that it was well named. Studies suggest that flaxseed can help prevent certain cancers, lower cholesterol levels, improve blood sugar, prevent hot flashes in menopausal women and also help protect skin tissue from radiation damage.

Recipe: Energy Bites
Make a batch of these and grab one whenever you need a boost during the day, courtesy of http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2407637/energy-bites.

Ingredients
100g Pecans
75g Raisins
1 Tbs ground flaxseed
1 Tbs ground cocoa powder
1 Tbs agave syrup
50g Desiccated coconut
2 Tbs Peanut butter

Method
Use a food processor to grind up the pecan nuts. Throw in the raisins, peanut butter, ground flaxseed, cocoa powder and agave syrup, then pulse to combine. Shape the mixture into golf ball-sized balls and coat with desiccated coconut. Allow the bites to firm up in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

Other articles you may be interested in:
Food of the month: Beetroot
Food of the month: Kale
Food of the month: Ginger
Food of the month: Red pepper
Food of the month: Honey

Written by

Chisanga studied architecture before changing her mind and exploring media and magazines. She loves words, design and all things creative, and can’t imagine a world without tea or the colour black.

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  1. Sashnee Rambaly

    I love sprinkling flaxseeds in my morning cereal.

    5 years ago •

  1. Hess

    I’ve just started using flaxseed in dishes and in carb-free bread, it’s really not bad and very filling!

    5 years ago •

  1. foreverGLAM

    I’m going to buy it next time I go to the supermarket. The benefits are worth it.

    5 years ago •

  1. Pseudo_kate

    I normally soak a teaspoon of flaxseed when I prepare my overnight oats. It’s an easy way to get it into my food without any fuss.

    5 years ago •

  1. NaturalDiva

    Looks weird but seems beneficial. Thanks for sharing.

    5 years ago •

  1. AndreaM

    Flaxseed gel is so amazing. You boil the seeds & the gel can be used on the skin & hair.

    5 years ago •

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