4.12.2012

Nuts and Seeds Part One: Flax Seeds

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A few weeks ago, my lovely friend Jordan over at Exclusively Chic asked me a few questions about nuts and seeds. With all the craze going around, it seems that a lot of us are wondering... Why are nuts and seeds so good for you? What's the big deal??

The Big Deal:
  • Protein, get'cher protein!! Nuts and seeds are FULL of it!
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids (huh?!) fight inflammation (which helps you recover from grueling workouts). Additionally, fighting inflammation helps combat against a whole host of diseases, including heart disease and cancer.
  • FIBERRRR (like "Willlburrrrr" from Charlotte's Webb) Let's talk about fiber, okay, class? Yes, let us discuss (or, as I like to say, "lettuce"). There are two types of fiber: Soluble and Insoluble. The soluble fibers dissolve in water (pretty easy to remember if you can remember back to your high school science classes). Soluble fibers are great for lowering cholesterol and thereby lowering your risk of heart disease. Yay! You've probably seen the Cheerio boxes (and other cereals high in soluble fibers) boasting of "Heart Healthy" ingredients. That's the soluble fiber they're talking about!
    High-fiber foods aid in digestion. It gets you moving. Darn it, it makes you poop. Yes. I did just say poop on my blog. Get over it. It's also effective for lowering cholesterol and regulating blood sugar.
  • Lignans (fun to say - try it!) are "crazy good" for you, especially if you're a female. Lignans are known to regulate hormones in women, promote fertility, protect against breast cancer, and lower risk for Type 2 Diabetes.

Tips for Nut Use:
  • Soak them! By soaking your nuts overnight, you will slowly break down the outer layer of the seeds, which are difficult for your body to digest! To add flavor, soak them in water overnight with a dash of Cumin or Cinnamon!
  • RAW IS BETTER. It's okay to cook these but don't over-cook!


The Nuts And Seeds Gang:

Over the next few weeks, stop by for eight posts about nuts and seeds, how to incorporate them into your diet, which ones are best, and recipes for use...
  1. Flax Seeds
  2. Chia Seeds
  3. Pumpkin Seeds
  4. Sesame Seeds
  5. Sunflower Seeds
  6. Walnuts
  7. Pistachios
  8. Almonds


Part One: Flax Seeds... The "Low Carb Whole Grain"

  • WHAT'S GOOD:
    High Fiber, High antioxidants, High Omega-3 Fatty Acids, High in B Vitamins, Low Carb 
  • THE SUMMARY:
    Flax seeds pack the punch of fiber, antioxidants, and Omega 3 while also being extremely low carb, which is great for those of us who are limiting our starches and sugars. Flax seeds help you feel full throughout the day by providing your body with healthy fibers and fats, which aids in combating hunger and helping with weight loss.  
  • CAUTION:
    If you're just starting out eating Flax Seeds, try to increase your intake slowly, otherwise you may end up to... er... loose.
  • CALORIES IN 1/4 CUP: 160
  • HOW TO EAT IT:
    Flax Seeds are best used in recipes when ground into Flax Meal (I buy a version by Bob's Red Mill that is available pre-ground in Jewel). Consider buying pre-ground flax meal or grinding them yourself, which takes just seconds in a coffee grinder.
CREDITS:
Flax Seed Health Benefits / Vegan Health Guide /  Image Flax Seeds 

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