Seeds of all varieties—from chia and flax to sesame and sunflower—seem to be popping up everywhere these days. Learn the nutrition basics of flavorful seeds with ideas for how to incorporate into your diet. By: Patricia Bannan, MS, RD
Photo: Lee Harrelson
Cultivated in Babylon as early as 3000 BC, flaxseeds have long been known to provide medicinal benefits. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fiber, and lignans (beneficial plant compounds), recent studies show flaxseeds may help reduce belly fat and lower your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Flaxseeds are widely available in products such as frozen waffles, cereals, and meatless meal products. When adding them to foods it’s best to eat them in the ground form for better absorption of the nutrients. You can easily grind them yourself in an electric coffee grinder.
How to eat: Stir a couple tablespoons ground flaxseeds into your oatmeal, smoothies, soups, or yogurt. When baking, you can substitute part of the flour for ground flaxseeds, or when cooking add them to sauces, casseroles, or stews.