Love for Flaxseeds - How to Eat?
How to Eat Flaxseeds
Dr. Achyuthan Eswar recommends that in order to get maximum benefits from flaxseed, it has to first be ground into a powder that is more digestible.
Whole flaxseed can pass through the digestive tract without being broken down enough for the body to absorb all the nutrients because their outer skin is quite tough. Now we wouldn't want that after taking the effort to saying yes to having flaxseeds daily!
I understand that amongst plant foods some seeds are necessary to be had every day. They are:
- sesame seeds,
- sunflower seeds, and
They are very healthy and should be consumed often. In that ground flaxseed powder is a true friend of the heart!
How to use Flaxseed in Indian Cooking?
Just listening to folks using flaxseeds in their food, I figured you could use it in different ways. Some of them include:
- Flaxseeds Chutney. Add flaxseed to any spicy chutney.
- Add Flaxseeds to plant-based mylks.
- Use Flaxseeds in Rotis, Khakras, Chapattis.
- Make Flaxseed Podi along with Chutney powder.
- Flax seed raita with plant-based curds.
- Flax seed smoothie.
- Healthy Baked Cookies with Flaxseeds.
- Flaxseed biscuits.
- Flaxseed Peanut butter.
- Multigrain breads
- Flax seed Shakarpara
- Homemade veg protein powder with flaxseed
- Buckwheat bread with flax seeds
- Almond Bread with Flax seeds
- Jowar bread with flax seeds
- Gluten free Almond flax seed bread without eggs
- Multigrain Methi Thepla with flax seed
- Pre-workout Smoothie with Flaxseeds for Athletes
- Healthy Lunch salad with flax seeds
- Flax seed Laddus enriched with Vitamin B12
- Peanut Butter Coconut Balls with Flax seeds
- Oats Granola Bars with Peanut Butter and Flax seeds
- Coconut Flour Eggless Pancakes with flaxseeds
- Lactose-free Multigrain healthy cracker with flax seeds
- Multigrain Methi Thepla Dough with Flax seeds
- Zucchini and flax seed muffins
- Raspberry Oatmeal Flax seed Nut Bars
- Coconut Basil Flaxseed Smoothie
- Flax seed crackers with beetroot dip
- Rajgira Buckwheat Brown Rice Flour Khakhra with flax seed
- Flax seeds chutney
- Mix Vegetable Dosa with Flax seeds
- Kosambari with flax seed
I felt, rather than trying to figure out how to use it daily, or popping in supplements, I should supply products from Sampoorna Ahara that offered people flaxseeds in the most interesting manner offering all nutritional properties like lignans, antioxidants and fiber, naturally.
It was time to get to the table to create an invention.
The flaxseed addiction
The tall steel tiffin box was kept at our doorstep this morning as usual. I flicked open the clasps of my box with familiarity and subconsciously searched for the little innocuous sweet that came with the meals everyday. I popped it in my mouth curious about which flavour I would get today. The flavours, I knew, could be,
- Chocolate or
"Hmm….Elaichi! My favourite.”, I hummed to myself. As I write this now I realise that it has become a habit to first eat my flaxseed laddu before anything else. How quaint!
If you have had meals from Sampoorna Ahara before, you would know that the flaxseed laddu that comes with them everyday is the best part of the meal.
I’ve seen grown adults become excited like little children when they see it. My mother has many times come to me saying that a customer complained to her that they had not gotten their flaxseed laddu that day. It amused us that such a small little thing could be so loved.
What is so great about it, you may ask. It isn’t just the flavours or the taste that appeals to all but also the convenience.
Why I Love Flaxseed Laddu so much
Being a business woman and a mother to a young child, I sometimes miss taking care of myself the way I used to earlier.
I love my laddus as,
- They give me my daily dose of flaxseed and
- They are fortified with Vitamin B12
As a vegan, B12 is very important to take. What a relief that I don’t need to even remember to do so! All I need to do is simply enjoy my sweet. Just a spoonful of flaxseed and dates helps the medicine go down?
Flaxseed - A Daily Requirement
Why do I want to talk about flaxseeds?
Did you know that the Latin name for flaxseed, Linum usitatissimum, means "highly useful?"
The components of flax plants and their by-products like flaxseed oil have been used for many purposes as medicine and animal feed for centuries. I took it upon myself to research this magical ingredient and was also pleasantly surprised to find that it is one of the world’s oldest crops and originated right here in India! It's funny how we ourselves have forgotten our history when the rest of the world talks about it so highly.
Till date, I assumed it was an expensive, imported ingredient from somewhere in the Western world! That is sort of true as Canada is the largest producer of flaxseed in the world right now followed by Asia and Europe.
An article I read recently mentioned that in the Middle Ages, Ayurvedic doctors used flaxseed primarily for its anti-inflammatory properties and to cure kidney disorders.
Fun fact: I also found out that the crop is used to make linen! How interesting is that!
Flaxseeds and Diseases
A quick assessment showed me that flaxseeds helped with easing difficulties associated with the following conditions:
- Heart disorders
- High Cholesterol
- Breast Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
We were devastated when my grandmom and mom were both diagnosed with cancer just three years apart. This is when I began to create an awareness within myself of the different kinds of food that would be beneficial to those who are suffering from such ailments. The benefits of flaxseeds, especially flaxseed powder in helping such folks was one topics I spent time researching.
Once I knew what a great healer these little seeds were, I dug some more and learnt that there were many more miracles they could perform.
I learnt that they are filled with nutritional benefits that reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, constipation apart from cancer. Instead of consuming an array of dietary supplements to prevent such diseases, one siimply had to eat more flaxseed!
I was amazed to learn that the nutrients in flaxseed, mainly omega 3 fatty acids, rival the nutrients in algae and fish and are a great substitute for people who follow a plant based diet.
Six grams of flaxseed a day gives you the equivalent of one concentrated dose of alpha-linolenic acid most commonly known as Omega 3- essential fatty acids.
I got to know further that high levels of LDL cholesterol aka “bad” cholesterol increases the risk of heart diseases but a serving of flaxseed (1 tbsp of ground flaxseed) a day keeps the ldl cholesterol levels at bay!
Did you know that menopausal women are at a higher risk of breast cancer by 3% for each year that goes by?
According to a study done in 2014, postmenopausal women who attained menopause at 55 rather than 45 saw a 30% higher risk of cancer, breast cancer in particular.
Pubmed.gov says, “...menopausal symptoms decreased and the quality of life increased among the women who used flaxseed for 3 months.”
Doctors say that regular consumption of flaxseed has been shown to reduce levels of estrogen. Even otherwise, I hear that when it comes to women’s health, flaxseed could also play a role in decreasing symptoms of PCOS such as irregular periods.
Flaxseed is also especially beneficial in treating other types of cancer such as prostate cancer.
Due to its antioxidant properties, when included in the diet of people who suffer from high cholesterol levels and obesity, flaxseed, I learnt, may help in reducing unhealthy fat stores, encouraging weight loss and maintaining good heart health. Fun way to lose weight if you ask me!
People with diabetes might benefit from adding flaxseed to their diet, say nutritionists, as it is a great source of fiber(soluble fiber), healthy omega-3 fatty acids and other plant nutrients all of which could potentially improve blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity.
Do you find it difficult to stay hydrated? No worries. Just try soaking flaxseed in water and drinking the gel like a drink.
This preparation is recommended by doctors as a perfect way to make sure plenty of water is absorbed by the body instead of having to chug in liquids endlessly.
You can see therefore how it might help in relieving constipation.
The science behind it is the fact that flaxseed contains two types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble.
A very helpful process for those who suffer from high sugar levels. Fascinating, isn't it?
My recommendation is to get some organic flaxseeds, finely grind a little at a time into a flax meal, and store it in airtight containers to prevent oxidation.
Grinding the whole lot in one go might make it rancid. But the good news is that it is so facile to make, use and consume. It might be a special task you look forward to doing every week!
Top 10 Benefits of Flaxseed
I got curious about what Dr. Achyuthan Eswar had to say about flaxseeds. In a nutshell this is what he says:
- Flax Seeds Are Loaded With Nutrients
- Flax Seeds Are High in Omega-3 Fats
- Flax Seeds Are a Rich Source of Lignans, Which May Reduce Cancer Risk
- Flax Seeds Are Rich in Dietary Fiber
- Flax Seeds May Improve Cholesterol
- Flax Seeds May Lower Blood Pressure
- They Contain High-Quality Protein
- Flax Seeds May Help Control Blood Sugar
- Flax Seeds Keep Hunger at Bay, Which May Aid Weight Control
- Flax Seeds Can Be a Versatile Ingredient
Nutrition Facts of Flaxseed
Checking out what each serving of flaxseed might contain, revealed a storehouse of goodies.
I learnt that a tablespoon of flaxseed powder can give you all the omega 3 fatty acids you require for the day. Such components in flaxseed were probably what made Hippocrates use it for abdominal issues many years ago.
Who knew such tiny seeds could hold the key to your good health? They do and it is no wonder therefore that they are one of the superfoods that are now widely enjoyed by so many.
Why is Flaxseed oil not as healthy as eating Flaxseeds?
Compare the nutrition facts of Flaxseed oil below with that of flaxseeds above.
Without Dietary fiber, protein and rich minerals flaxseed oil is ripped off of all the healthy nutrients.
How does Chia Seeds Compare with Flax seeds?
Read the nutrition facts of Chia Seeds
Flaxseeds for Proteins
Eating flaxseeds, I feel, is the easiest way to include proteins as well in your diet. For most non-vegetarians turned vegan, “How do we get enough plant-based protein?” is the primary question.
Look no further! Flaxseeds, I am told, are rich in
- glutamic acid,
- amino acids and
- aspartic acid.
Imagine, a 100 grams of flaxseed contains 18 grams of protein! That I think is an efficient supply of proteins!
Getting flaxseed into your diet is not a difficult thing at all, you should know by now. You can easily find flaxseed in all health food stores.
Moreover, health foods are the hot topic of the century. Attention to health topics, naturally, have increased since the beginning of 2020 due to the devastation that covid 19 has left in its wake and people are searching for that one balanced diet with potential health benefits that could save us all.
Its nutty flavour also makes it a perfect addition to your morning smoothie or your breakfast cereal. Flaxseed is also an excellent egg substitute.
All you need is 1 tablespoon of flax meal (ground flaxseed) and 3 tablespoons of water. Mix them together and leave the mixture to sit for a few minutes. You could use hot water to speed up the process. This would be roughly equivalent to one egg.
My personal favourite way of using it is to add it to a bowl of cold breakfast cereal that has nut milk, oats, whole wheat flakes, a variety of nuts and dried fruits. Who doesn’t love a cold cereal that is packed with so many nutrients!?
Eureka Moment for Sampoorna Ahara!
When Achyuthan first insisted that we use flaxseeds in our diet every day, that too in the powdered form, I remember we first made a tin of flaxseed flour using brown flaxseeds.
We got so enthusiastic about using it that we dumped generous portions of it into every dish that we cooked! Sambar, palya, soppu...you name it and we put flaxseed powder into it!
Overdose of flaxseed you might agree! Everything turned into a lumpy mush! The powder had capacity to absorb so much of water and swell up into a soft mush like isabgol, if you know what I mean! The family almost turned up its nose on flaxseeds!
Achyuthan had to quickly innovate if he were to encourage flaxseed intake not just with us, but also with his patients! During those days, he was only running the clinic.
We wondered if it was the issue with raw flaxseeds. We roasted them and powdered them and tried them in dishes again. Same result!
We used powdered flax seeds in payasam. Well, the taste was good but the mush was still there!
We wondered if it had to do with the kind of flaxseeds and changed to another organic flax seeds brand...like the monk's ponytail, it still stayed mushed in front of us!
And so we twiddled our thumbs and sat looking at the innocent looking ground flax seeds.
We did some research on flax flour and discovered that folks called this a flax meal!
Some folks were brave enough to make flax seeds chutney and Flax seeds podi.
However, we would never be able to do that very well, we discovered. This was because the salt required to make such dishes was quite high and Achyuthan was never going to agree to making dishes with such high salt content!
It was one of those serendipitous days and our cook was slowly grinding some cut and deseeded dates in a food processor.
We had a flash of inspiration and jumped up and exclaimed we knew what might be tried as the next experiment.
We measured out some dates and a few grams of flax seed powder. We put in some ellaichi powder, too and turned on the food processor a bit more.
We took the mixed lump out and tasted a wee bit. Our eyes went round! We were beginning to taste a form of flaxseed dish that might be most tasty!
We tried different mixes, varying the ratio of dates to flax meal each time and settled for a particular mix that tasted best.
We tried the same ratio with different flavours and finally added the required amount of B12 equalling half the amount of B12 needed for the day. Our Flaxseed Laddu had arrived!
Achyuthan tried it on his relatives and patients and quite a few of them became addicts of the laddu!
Go on, then! Make it easy for yourself to add flaxseeds daily into your lives.
You can make them yourself or just give us a ping and we can have them delivered to your doorstep in a trice.
Wishing good health to you always!
Aditi Eswar - Co-Founder, Sampoorna Ahara Healthy Desserts
Frequently Asked Questions related to Flaxseeds - How to Eat?
Often folks write to us asking us doubts about flaxseeds. These are some of the questions they ask:
Can you eat raw flax seeds?
Yes, you can eat raw flax seeds but not more than 15 tablespoons a day. We recommend that you eat ground flax seed to absorb the nutrients.
How much flax seeds should I eat a day?
An amount of 1 tablespoon a day of flax seeds is recommended by Dr. Michael Greger.
Can we eat flax seeds daily?
Absolutely! Dr. Greger in his daily dozen checklist recommends eating flax seed every day in order to benefit from it.
Can I cook flax seed?
Yes you can cook flax seed. You may heat it up to 350% Fahrenheit without losing its lignan stability.
Do you have to cook flax seeds before eating?
Not necessarily. You can eat them raw. Raw Flax seeds are not tasty. I suggest you grind them with a few dates and eat them.
What is the best time to eat flax seeds?
You may eat it at any time of the day. However eating too much before a meal might decrease your appetite as flaxseed is very rich in fiber.
Is flaxseed better cooked or raw?
According to NutritionFacts.org, cooking flaxseed reduces the naturally occurring cyanide-forming compound that has recently raised some concerns in the medical industry.
Is flaxseed good for hair?
Both flaxseed gel and flaxseed oil are beneficial for hair growth and reduction of frizziness. This is because of the vitamins E and B6 that are present in flaxseed.
Is flaxseed good for weight loss?
Flaxseed is one of the most effective foods to eat when it comes to weight loss since it is so rich in antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids and fiber.
What are the side effects of flaxseed?
Excessive consumption alone of over 15 tablespoons could lead to diarrhea, stomach ache, abdominal pain or bloating.
When should I eat flax seeds to lose weight?
Any time of the day!
How do you prepare flax seeds to eat?
Flaxseeds are best ground into a powder. Grinding flaxseed helps to digest it better. You can add this powder to your breakfast cereal, smoothies, chia bowls or baked goodies.
Can we eat flax seeds at night?
Yes. It could potentially help to slow down digestion so that your body is left satiated for longer through the night.
Does flaxseed cause acidity?
Perhaps when eaten in excess but when consumed within recommended limits, flaxseed is beneficial for those suffering from acid reflux.
Can you eat whole flax seeds?
You may, but because the outer husk is rather tough for the digestive system to break down properly, you lose out on absorbing a lot of the nutrients.
Which is better chia or flax seeds?
Both are quite similar when comparing nutritional properties, although flaxseed has significantly higher levels of potassium, manganese, thiamine and copper. Flaxseed also wins when it comes to fiber and omega 3 fatty acids.
Is flaxseed bad for men?
No! It is highly beneficial for men and has been seen to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Does Flaxseed make you fat?
No. Faxseed does not make you fat. On the contrary, it aids weight loss due to the fiber it contains.
Can flaxseed reduce breast size?
Consuming flaxseed could potentially help to regulate estrogen levels which might in some cases, in turn help to reduce breast size.
How does flaxseed help with belly fat?
Flaxseed helps to reduce fat all over the body. However it can be especially beneficial to reduce belly bulge by reducing bloating and gas.
Does ground flaxseed have more health benefits than whole flaxseed?
Yes. Grinding flaxseed helps to release the oils and nutrients which then can be better absorbed by the body.
What about Flaxseed oil?
Ground flaxseed is better than flaxseed oil. When the oil is extracted from the seed, all the nutrients are left behind and so we end up losing all the benefits of eating flaxseed in the first place.
Is it safe to eat 50-100 gm of flax seeds daily?
1 tablespoon of flaxseed weighs roughly around 10 grams. As long as you don’t eat more than 10-15 tablespoons a day, you are safe.
Can I mix sabja seeds and flax seeds together and eat it?
There is no harm in eating them together. You might be able to powder them together in order to eat them more efficiently.
Can you get high from flax seeds?
There are no recorded cases of getting high from consuming flaxseed. However, there is a possibility of cyanide poisoning if one consumes too much at once.
I am bodybuilding I eat roasted flax seeds. Can they be harmful in anyway?
Not at all. However, the best way to eat flaxseeds is to grind them into a powder.
Are flax seeds good for kidneys?
Yes. Flaxseeds are thought to help with better functioning of the kidneys by reducing cholesterol levels, swelling and thickness of blood.
Can we eat flax seeds on an empty stomach?
There are no ill effects of eating flaxseeds on an empty stomach. Although, it is healthier to eat along with fruits and vegetables in order to fuel the body with all required nutrients.
How do flax seeds taste?
They have a mild nutty flavour.
Which is more benefiting by taking flax seeds morning or night?
There are no extra benefits of eating flaxseed at any particular time of day.
Can chia seeds and flax seeds be eaten together?
Yes, it is safe to have them together.
Can we consume flaxseed in summer?
Flaxseed can be consumed throughout the year and in any geographical area.
How are walnuts better than flaxseeds?
Flaxseeds excel actually over walnuts in their content on omega 3 fatty acid.
Do you need to clean flax seeds before consumption If so how do you clean them?
Mostly they do not require cleaning and a visual inspection is all that might be required to gauge if they are indeed clean.
What are the benefits of flaxseed and sesame seed? Can I eat both seeds together and will it reduce my weight? Can I eat seeds raw and how much?
Both are great for heart, cholesterol management among other things. Just consuming them alone while eating junk is not recommended. Eating them in the right quantity with a whole food plant based diet is recommended.
Do flax seeds reduce testosterone?
For the amounts required to be had on an every day basis flaxseeds do not give any adverse effects to anybody except if you are allergic to it.
Why do flax seeds make you nauseous?
This may indicate an allergy if it persists. You may want to check for one. Other than this, for the amount you are expected to consume on a daily basis, flaxseeds do not give you nausea if you are not allergic to it.
What are the dangers of eating too much flax seed?
There should be no need to eat more than 8 gm a day. Only when you exceed 10 to 15 tablespoons do you need to worry.
Can flax seeds get stuck in your colon for a long time?
Not when you eat just 6 to 8 gm a day along with a whole food plant based diet.
Who should not use flaxseeds?
Only those allergic to it and having just 6 to 8 gm a day is fine for anyone.
What is the Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu and Tamilian name for flaxseed?
Flaxseed in Hindi: Asli
Flaxseed in Malayalam: Canavitt
Flaxseed in Kannada: Agasebija
Flaxseed in Telugu: Avise ginjalu
Flaxseed in Tamil: Aali Vithaigal
Can we consume pumpkin seeds flax seeds chia seeds and sunflower seeds together in one day or do we need to follow a pattern for consumption?
No, there is no pattern that is needed to be followed
Can ground flaxseed be kept at room temperature?
Yes, in an airtight container
Is It Safe to Consume Flaxseeds During Pregnancy?
Yes, for the required quantity of 6 to 8 gm per person per day.
References & Further Reading about Flax Seed
Dr. Achyuthan Eswar & Flax Seeds Related