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Flax Facts

Quick tips for this new trend.

By
Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
3-minute read
Episode #24

How to Buy and Use Flaxseed

In order to get the full nutritional benefit of flaxseed, you have to grind them up. Otherwise they pass right through your digestive system completely unaltered. You can grind them up by chewing them very, very thoroughly. But most people either buy them already ground—like you did, or grind the seeds in a coffee grinder as they use them.

If you are buying pre-ground flax, buy only small amounts that you can use up in a couple of weeks. This is not the time to buy the 100-pound sack from Costco. Also, look for packaging that protects the ground seeds from light and air and check your expiration dates. Finally, store ground flax and flax oil in the refrigerator, not in the cupboard. Any flax product that has a rancid or fishy smell should be discarded.

You can use ground flaxseed in muffins, pancakes, cookies, or other baked goods. If you are using white flour, you can replace up to 2 tablespoons per cup with ground flaxseed. If you’re using whole wheat flour, replace 1 tablespoon per cup with flax.
 
Some people like to toast the whole seeds and sprinkle them over vegetables or hot or cold cereal. They add a sort of nutty crunch. (But remember, you have to chew them well). I have a terrific recipe that uses flaxseed to create a crispy coating for oven-“fried” chicken. The recipe is in my book Secrets for a Healthy Diet. It’s delicious.

You can also add whole or ground flaxseeds to smoothies. But here’s a tip: The fiber in ground flaxseed absorbs liquid and forms a gel-like consistency, so drink your smoothie promptly.
 

Administrative
 

This is Monica Reinagel, the Nutrition Diva, with your quick and dirty tips for eating well and feeling fabulous.

These tips are provided for your information and entertainment and are not intended as medical advice. Because everyone is different, please work with your health professional to determine what’s right for you.

Visit me on Facebook or Twitter for more tips, or to submit your question.

Have a great day and eat something good for me!

RESOURCES:

Nutritional analysis of flaxseed (from NutritionData.com)

Health benefits of flaxseed (from George Mateljan Foundation)

The recipe for Crunchy Sesame-Flax Chicken can be found in Secrets for a Healthy Diet

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Flaxseed image courtesy of Shutterstock

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About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.