Flaxseeds are obtained from flax which is also known as linseed, and botanically is known as Linum usitatissimum, which is a member of genus Linum of the family Linaceae. It is a food and a fiber crop grown in cooler regions of the world. The species are native to Western Asia and Middle East, including India.
Flax seeds has two varieties- 1. Brown and 2. Yellow variety (also known as golden linseeds). Both types have similar nutritional content and with equal number of short chains of omega-3-fatty acids. Generally, brown flax can be taken just like yellow seeds, these are used as ingredients in paints, fiber and fodder for cattle.
Flax seeds generate a vegetable oil famously known as flax seed or linseed oil, which is one of the familiar known oils, and solvent-refined flax seed oil has been used for long as a drying agent in painting and varnishing.
Flax seed sprouts are edible, with a slightly spicy taste. Flax seeds are also called as ‘Alsi’ or ‘Tisi’ in northern India can be eaten roasted, powdered or with brown rice with a little water and a little salt. Whole flax seeds are chemically stable, but ground flaxseed can go rancid (oxidation) at room temperature, in as little as one week. Refrigeration and storage in sealed containers will keep ground flax from becoming rancid, for a longer period, under similar conditions as those found in commercial bakeries.
Nutritional content of flax seeds-
According to the United States Department Of Agriculture (USDA), a one ounce serving of flax seed contains 71 gm of total fats, 50 mg sodium, 46 gm dietary fiber and 31 gm protein, 43% calcium, 53% iron and 2% vitamin C.
Furthermore, flax seed is rich source of minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, iron and selenium. The seeds are packed with many important B- complex groups of vitamin such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamine and folates.
The nutritional content is as follows –
- Calories -897
- Total fat – 71 gm
- Saturated fat – 6gm
- Sodium – 50 mg
- Protein – 31 gm
- Dietary fiber – 46 gm
- Calcium -428 mg
- Iron – 9.6 mg
- Magnesium – 658 mg
- Phosphorus – 1097 mg
- Potassium – 1366 mg
Health benefits of flax seeds –
1. Reduces blood sugar levels – daily intake of flax seeds can help diabetic patients from bringing blood sugar levels back to normal.
2. Improves immunity – since, flax seeds are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids, these seeds aid in protecting the body from attacks of bacteria and virus, hence help maintain a strong immunity.
3. Relieves constipation problem – both the flax seeds and as well as flax seed oil act as natural laxatives to maintain a normal bowel system without having any side effects.
4. Promotes fertility – flax seeds are known to be one of the best sources of lignans, which can aid in balancing female hormones, enhance fertility and reduce menopausal symptoms.
5. Controls cholesterol levels – since, flax seeds are rich in both soluble and insoluble fibers, flax seeds help in reducing bad cholesterol and enhances good cholesterol level. It helps in proper functioning of intestine also.
6. Protection against cancer – consuming flax seeds may help to protect oneself from colon, prostrate cancer in men and breast cancer in women. This is due to the presence of lignans in flax seeds which have antiangiogenic properties which stop tumors from forming new blood vessels.
One U.S. Study present at the 43rd annual meeting of the American Society Of The Clinical Oncology (ASCO) revealed that consuming flax seeds can stop prostrate cancer tumor from growing.
Flax seed recipes-
1. Flax seed raita-
A. 1 cup thickly grated bottle gourd
B. 1 cup freshly beaten curd
C. Roasted cumin seeds
D. Black salt
E. 1/2 tbsp sugar
G. 1 1/2 tbsp roasted ground flax seeds
H. 1/2 cup chopped mint leaves
Combine the bottle gourd with 1/4 cup of water in a pan and mix well. Cover the pan and cook it for 4-5 min. Keep it aside to cool. Now combine all the ingredients, including this cooked bottle gourd in a bowl and mix well.
Refrigerate for some time and serve chilled with some garnished mint leaves.
2. Flax seeds smoothie-
A. 2 tbsp flax seeds
B. 1 cup vanilla flavored soy milk
C. Lemon juice
D. 5-6 tbsp sugar
E. 1/2 cup chopped bananas
G. 1 cup chopped strawberries
For the garnish-
Some small chopped strawberries and bananas on the straws
Combine the soy milk, some drops of lemon juice, bananas, strawberries, sugar and flax seeds and blend them, till the mixture is even and frothy.
Pour the smoothie in glasses and serve it chilled with the strawberry and banana pieces skewed on the straw as garnish.
3. Flax seeds chutney-
A. 1/2 cup flax seeds
B. 2 tbsp sesame oil
C. 5-6 broken dried red chilies
D. Salt to taste
E. 15-20 Mashed garlic cloves
F. 3 tbsp white sesame seeds
Heat oil in a nonstick pan and add garlic to it till it turns golden. Add dried red chilies, till they give crispy appearance. Add flax seeds and sesame seeds and transfer into mixer jar. Now add salt and let the mixture cool and then grind into chutney.
Transfer into a bowl and serve.