Welcome to a new installment of The Sunday Sampler. This is the day where I share my insights, thoughts, and opinions with you about different things in three categories: fitness (gear/clothing/accessories/etc.), parenthood, and health rotating each category each week. I hope that makes sense! :)
My hope is that I will be able to help you along your adventure just like so many others have helped me. So, let me know what you think! I'd love to read about your perspectives on these things as well! :)
Originally I was supposed to post this last Sunday, but since I was in AZ I didn't have the opportunity to get it done. But, I figured it's better late than never!
Now, as runners and triathletes we all know about eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. And, we definitely know about the importance of exercise (so much so that it can sometimes become obsessive!). So, I'm not going to talk about diet and exercise. I would, however, like to focus on something very simple that everyone can incorporate into their life that has some amazing benefits: flaxseeds.
So, what are flaxseeds?
Here is some info from www.whfoods.com:
Flaxseeds are slightly larger than sesame seeds and have a hard shell that is smooth and shiny. Their color ranges from deep amber to reddish brown depending upon whether the flax is of the golden or brown variety.
Their flavor is warm and earthy with a subtly nutty edge. While unground flaxseeds feature a soft crunch, they are usually not consumed whole but rather ground since this allows for the enhancement of their nutrient absorption. Ground flaxseeds can have a relatively mealy texture with a potential hint of crunch depending upon how fine they are ground.
Why should we eat flaxseeds?
Well, I'll tell you! Here are some benefits:
- Flaxseeds are rich in alpha linolinic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fat
- They have anti-inflammatory benefits
- The Omega-3 fats are used by the body to produce prostaglandins, which are anti-inflammatory hormone-like molecules, which can help reduce the inflammation that is a significant factor in conditions such as asthma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine headaches, and osteoporosis.
- They protect bone health
- The ALA found in flaxseeds promotes bone health by helping to prevent excessive bone turnover-when consumption of foods rich in this omega-3 fat results in a lower ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in the diet.
- They protect against Heart disease, Cancer, and Diabetes
- They help prevent and control high blood pressure
- They provide comparable cholesterol-lowering benefits as Statin drugs
- They are rich in beneficial fiber
Some things to be aware of:
* Flaxseeds can be bought whole or ground. However, if buy whole flaxseeds, always grind them first before eating them to enhance their digestibility and nutritional value
* They need to be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place to keep them from spoiling. I like to keep mine in the refrigerator.
* If stored properly, ground flaxseeds can keep fresh for a few months.
* If you add ground flaxseeds to meals when cooking, make sure to add them at the end of the process because they tend to thicken the liquids.
* When you first begin to incorporate flaxseeds into your diet, make sure you start with a small amount such as 1 tsp. Because flaxseeds are a great source of fiber, you can experience gas and bloating if you eat too much too soon!
How to incorporate flaxseeds into your diet:
* Add them to your smoothie
* Add them to your cereal, oatmeal, cottage cheese, or yogurt
* Add them when you bake muffins, cookies, scones, cakes, etc.
* You can sprinkle them on veggies for a nutty flavor
* Add them to pancake or waffle batter
* You can use them instead of eggs in recipes (1egg = 1Tbl. flaxseed mixed with 3Tbl. water)
All in all, my family and I try to eat some flaxseeds every day. I really think flaxseeds are something that everyone can incorporate into their diets. And, with so many benefits why wouldn't you?
So, do you eat flaxseeds? If so, how do you eat them? Do you have any favorite recipes to share?