Superfoods - FLAX - Their exceptionality, power potential and benefits.

Flaxseed is a shiny brown seed that is slightly larger than a sesame seed and has been utilized since the stone age.  Like chia, flaxseed is known for its beneficial essential fatty acid (EFA) profile (omega 3,6 and 9). Though flax may not have the same variety or quantity of antioxidants that chia offers, it does contain an excellent supply of valuable lignans - a class of phytochemicals (with antioxidant properties) known to help balance hormone levels along with a notable amount of protein.  Flaxseed is also exceptionally high in fiber and is often used to promote regularity.  Like chia seeds, flax also contains a notable amount of mucilage, allowing the flax to absorb moisture easily, acting as an ideal thickener and binder. 
It should be noted that while flaxseed has many nutritional attributes, to utilize the fullness of their power nutrition, the seeds must be ground in order for the body to fully digest them.  Otherwise, the whole flaxseeds will simply pass through the body. This just simply makes them an insoluble source of fiber.

Who knew flaxseed powder could be sold under so many names? You'll likely come across: flaxseed powder, flaxseed meal, powdered flax, ground flax, milled flax... and they're all virtually the same thing.  You can make your own too; simply purchase whole flaxseeds and grind them up fresh using a coffee or spice grinder or a high powered blender.

Raw flaxseed has a pleasant, mild, nutty flavour that quickly slips into the background when combined with other nuts or seeds.  When toasted, the nuttiness is enhanced.  Exposure to very high heat will induce a pronounced oily flavour and should be avoided. 

Recommended forms: Many people like to buy raw whole brown or golden flaxseed and freshly grind it using a coffee grinder, but pre-ground flax may be used as well (and kept refrigerated to protect its sensitive EFAs). Another exceptional form is a sprouted flaxseed powder. The process of germination actually changes the nutrient composition of the flaxseed and maximizes the body's ability to digest and absorb its nutritional benefits.  It also results in a larger number of enzymes, vitamins, and minerals and its finely milled powder form allows it to blend seamlessly into recipes of all kinds. Flax oil is a great EFA (essential fatty acid) source and makes a great option for salads and non-cooking purposes.

Use in: breakfasts, drinks, smoothies, sides, snacks, soups, salads, dressings, entrees, baking and desserts. Flaxseed powder can also be used as a partial flour substitute, or used as a binder/egg substitute in baking when combined with liquid (allow mixture to sit until mixture becomes saturated and bulks up, stirring occasionally.

Be sure to try our Flax Gluten Free Cookies recipe!

 Source: Superfood Kitchen - Julie Morris

Susan Arruda