What Are Flax Seeds and How Do They Help My Diet?
Flax seeds come in two basic varieties, brown and yellow/golden, with most types having both similar nutritional values and equal amounts of short-chain omega-3 fatty acids. The exception is a type of yellow flax called Linola or solin, which engages an entirely different oil profile while also being very low in omega-3.
Although brown flax can be consumed as readily as yellow (and has been for 1000s of years), it is better known as an ingredient in fiber, paints and cattle feed. Flax seeds produce a vegetable oil known as flaxseed oil (or linseed oil); Flaxseed oil is one of the oldest commercial oils; this solvent-processed flax seed oil has been used for centuries as a drying oil in both varnishing and painting.
One tablespoon of ground flax seeds and three tablespoons of water may serve as a replacement for one egg in baking, as it serves to successfully bind other ingredients together. Ground flax seeds can also be mixed in with oatmeal, yogurt, wafer (similar to Metamucil), or any other food item where a nutty flavor is appropriate, including your daily morning breakfast berry smoothie. Flax seed sprouts are edible, and are said to have a slightly spicy taste. Excessive consumption of flax seeds may cause diarrhea for some consumers, so as with many other things in life, use in moderation.
Though flax seeds are chemically stable while whole, ground whole seeds or oils become rancid much more quickly after being exposed to oxygen in the air or environment. Because of this, they do require unique storage (typically okay after being refrigerated or sealed in packaging like Zip-lock bags or Tupperware). This really must be done so that flax seeds and flaxseed oil will remain nutritious for even a short period of time. Find out how to gauge nutritional value of flax seeds in this post on Calorifica.
Nutritional Value Per 100 g (3.5 oz) of Flax Seeds
Energy 530 kcal 2230 kJ
Carbohydrates 28.88 g
- Sugars 1.55 g
- Dietary fiber 27.3 g
Fat 42.16 g
Protein 18.29 g
Thiamin (Vit. B1) 1.644 mg 126%
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.161 mg 11%
Niacin (Vit. B3) 3.08 mg 21%
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.985 mg 20%
Vitamin B6 0.473 mg 36%
Folate (Vit. B9) 0 μg 0%
Vitamin C 0.6 mg 1%
Calcium 255 mg 26%
Iron 5.73 mg 46%
Magnesium 392 mg 106%
Phosphorus 642 mg 92%
Potassium 813 mg 17%
Zinc 4.34 mg 43%
Percentages are relative to US
recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database
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