June 18, 2024

Flaxseed health benefits and recipes to unlock the full nutrients

While no one food alone can prevent or cure diseases, flaxseeds can pack a powerful and nutritious punch when incorporated into a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Flaxseed health benefits

The tiny omega-3 fatty acid and fiber-rich seeds — which most experts recommend eating ground rather than whole for easier digestion — are an easy, versatile ingredient to incorporate in recipes for added health benefits.

PHOTO: Stock photo of a fruit and yogurt bowl with flax seeds.

Ground flaxseeds are the number one highest source of lignans, or phytoestrogens (plant estrogens), that may reduce breast cancer growth and spread, according to Oncology Nutrition.

“There are a plethora of reasons why flaxseeds are so amazing for your body which include lowering blood sugar, improving your digestive health and often used to relieve constipation because flaxseeds are easily absorbed into your body as they work to eliminate toxins,” Melissa Pfeister, a Stanford Medicine certified nutritionist, told “GMA.”

PHOTO: Flax seeds are seen in an undated stock photo.

Flax seeds are seen in an undated stock photo.

STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images

She continued, “Flaxseeds also help to lower cholesterol leading to reducing your risk of heart disease,” as supported by the Mayo Clinic. “Since flaxseeds are full of fiber, this helps you to feel fuller longer which can be useful in weight loss.”

While flax seeds recently filled social media feeds of TikTok users attempting to use its thick gel byproduct topically, ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton debunked the “nature’s Botox” claims and instead encouraged that “when ingested orally, they’re great.”

“Colloquially, I think that flaxseeds qualify as a superfood,” Ashton said. “They are loaded with omegas, they are loaded with fiber, they are loaded with minerals.”

While adding a scoop to a breakfast routine like smoothies or oatmeal may seem like the perfect nutritious boost, Ashton said with the caveat that “one tablespoon is not all the fiber that the average young woman needs in a day. [Women under the age of 50] need about 25 grams of fiber a day.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, one tablespoon — or 7 grams — of ground flaxseed contains 2 grams of polyunsaturated fatty acids, 2 grams of dietary fiber and 37 calories.

Flax seed recipes

Flaxseed recipe applications range from breakfast dishes like granola, overnight puddings, protein balls and smoothies to baked goods, crunchy salad toppers, egg substitutes and more.

Certified nutritionist and author of “Foodwise,” Mia Rigden, told “GMA” that she finds flaxseeds “easiest to incorporate at breakfast — in a smoothie, as a topping for yogurt or in oatmeal.” Check out her recipe for high protein, low carb oatmeal here.

Pfeister added that they can be enjoyed “raw or roasted, sprinkled on top of salads, added into favorite sauces, protein drinks or when making your favorite baked goods. You can also mix flaxseeds into your yogurt with berries and cinnamon for a perfect and healthy start to your day.”

Flaxseed egg recipe

Plant-based social media sensation, blogger and cookbook author Carleigh Bodrug reminded “GMA” that flax eggs are a great vegan substitute for baking. Check out her easy recipe and tutorial here.

Peanut butter banana baked oatmeal with flaxseeds

Feel Good Foodie creator and recipe developer Yumna Jawad told “GMA” that her Peanut Butter Banana Baked Oatmeal is her favorite dish made with flaxseeds and her followers agree, with people on Pinterest pinning the recipe over 200K times.

“Baked oatmeal is such a great way to start the day,” she said. “High in fiber and protein, this breakfast will keep you feeling full until lunchtime. Not only is it good for you with superfood flaxseeds which add fiber, but it tastes so delicious.”

Check out even more delicious flaxseed recipes from Feel Good Foodie here.

Multi-seed power jam

PHOTO: Homemade multi-seed power jam.

Homemade multi-seed power jam.

Rachel Beller

Registered dietitian Rachel Beller shared this “power jam” recipe that uses ground flaxseed and is full of “good-for-you omega-3 fats, fiber and anti-inflammatory properties.”

Ingredients
3 cups frozen blueberries
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons date or maple syrup
2 tablespoons whole milled hemp seeds
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 tablespoon chia seeds

Directions
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the berries, lemon juice and syrup (if using). Once the berries begin to release their juices, let the mixture simmer for about 15 minutes until the berries start to break down.
Stir in the multi-seed power mix (whole hemp, ground flaxseed, chia seeds) and continue to simmer for about 5-10 minutes more until the berry mixture starts to thicken. Remove from the heat and let it cool. The jam will continue to thicken as it cools.

Note: You can use this jam as a topping on oatmeal or stirred into yogurt. But it’s not just for breakfast — spread the jam on crackers or grain-free bread with nut butter to give an extra power boost to your snacks.

Fiberized Breakfast Cookies

PHOTO: A plate of fiber breakfast cookies.

A plate of fiber breakfast cookies.

Rachel Beller

Beller also shared this simple breakfast idea twith 20 grams of fiber in two cookies that’s a delicious swap for oatmeal or sugary muffins.

Makes: 4 cookies

Ingredients
2 banana (mashed)
1 cup sprouted rolled oats
4 tablespoons ground flax
1 teaspoon morning boost spice blend, (Ceylon cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg and clove)br />1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 tablespoon prebiotic fiber powder (optional)

Directions
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Mash the bananas in a bowl. Add the oats, ground flax, morning boost nutrition blend, flax and avocado oil and stir all of the ingredients together. Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (it should make 4 cookies). Bake for 25-30 minutes, and enjoy!

Peanut Butter Jelly Protein Smoothie

PHOTO: A peanut butter and jelly-inspired smoothie.

A peanut butter and jelly-inspired smoothie.

KaleJunkie

This smoothie from recipe developer, cookbook author and KaleJunkie content creator Nicole Keshishian Modic is balanced with protein, fiber, healthy fat and natural sugar to deliver a healthy boost of energy.

“Bursting with fresh blueberries, lightly sweetened with banana and dates, and packed with protein, this smoothie is going to be your new morning go-to,” Modic wrote in a recipe post shared with “GMA.”

Ingredients
3 Medjool dates, pitted
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen cauliflower (optional)
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1 tablespoon ground flax seed meal
1 scoop vanilla protein powder or collagen peptides

Directions
Add all of the ingredients to a high speed blender, and blend! You can add more milk, if needed, to achieve desired smoothie consistency. Enjoy!

Vegan flaxseed vegetable patties

PHOTO: A veggie patty made with flaxseed gel.

A veggie patty made with flaxseed gel.

PlantYou

Ahead of her highly-anticipated second cookbook, “Scrappy Cooking:140 + Plant-Based Zero-Waste Recipes That Are Good For You, Your Wallet, and the Planet,” hitting shelves in April — Bodrug shared this easy veggie patty recipe that utilizes flaxseed gel as a binder.

Ingredients
2 cup zucchini shredded
1 Red onion shredded
2 cloves garlic minced
1 cup broccoli grated
1 cup chickpea flour
2 tbsp flaxseed mixed with 4 tbsp of water
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 Handful parsley, celery leaves or other green, diced

Instructions
Place the zucchini in a colander and sprinkle it with salt. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, and then with a clean cloth, drain out as much liquid as possible. Mix the flaxseed with water and allow to sit for 10 minutes as well to thicken.
Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment.
Combine the drained zucchini, garlic, broccoli, chickpea flour, flax seed gel, salt and olive oil in a bowl until a batter is formed.
Using a spoon, separate the batter into 12 equal patties, around 3 tablespoons each onto the baking sheet. They should be around 1 cm thick. At this point, you can give them a spray with olive oil for a crispier fritter.
Place in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until crispy. Dip in your favorite sauce of choice. We love my green goddess dressing.

Recipe reprinted with permission courtesy of PlantYou.