Super foods, the ultimate health foods – Flax seeds

Written by Catherine Saxelby on Thursday, 26 February 2009.

Super foods, the ultimate health foods –  Flax seeds

Small shiny dark-brown seeds about the size of sesame seeds, flax seeds (also called linseeds) are a storehouse of omega-3s. They're the richest plant source of one fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a building block of the omega-3 oils found in fish.

 

Flaxseeds are also rich in lignans, a type of plant oestrogen that lowers female oestrogen levels, helps minimise the unpleasant side effects of the menopause like flushing and has anti-tumour properties.

Again in the plant kingdom, there aren't many foods where you'll find lignans. So they're a very important food for vegetarians who eat no eggs or fish and may run the risk of going short on DHA, a special omega-3 fatty acid. One or two tablespoons is all it takes to boost your intake.

Nutrition stats

Per serve:

One tablespoons of flaxseeds (weighing 28g) supplies: 6g protein, 10g fat, 2g sugars, 8g starch, 8g dietary fibre and 580 kilojoules (138 calories).

Per 100g:

20 per cent protein, 34 per cent fat, 7 per cent sugars, 27 per cent starch, 28 per cent dietary fibre and 2070 kilojoules (493 calories).

Easy ways to enjoy flaxseeds:

  • Add a sprinkle to your cereal, muesli or yoghurt.
  • A teaspoon in your smoothie will boost your fibre intake.
  • Add to baking such as muffins.
  • Go for soy and linseed breads.
  • Make up a nutrient-packed sprinkle for fruit salad or yoghurt - grind together 1 cup of walnut pieces with 1/2 cup linseeds until finely-ground. Store in a jar in the refrigerator and use within 2 weeks.