October recipe for success: Just the flax, ma'am
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Each month, we open the discussion up to a favorite topic of mine: FOOD! We have a conversation and usually a recipe that is easy, healthful and tasty. This month, instead of a recipe, I'd like to talk about an ingredient: flax seeds.
These little dynamos may have a very healthful effect on the typical body, but they may be even more helpful to those of us who have MS. I saymaybecause as we well know, research takes money and the flax farmers are not wealthy research philanthropists.
There is evidence that the essential omega fatty acids in flax can act to regulate the immune system and act as a natural anti-inflammatory agent. And they taste much better than the fish oils many find offensive.
The term essential fatty acid is an important one to know about. Essential, in this context, means that the body does not produce these acid chains itself; they must be ingested. There are a limited number of food in which they are available.
Flax seeds are sold in health food stores and several grocery markets. They are not cheap, but by no means would they be considered dear, meaning too expensive (under .00 per pound). The oils from the seeds are readily available in capsule form as well, but if you choose that route, you'll miss the fiber, crunch and flavor of these little gems.
One important part of using flax seeds in your cooking/eating is to crack them. The outer covering of the seed, about the size of a sesame seed, is very hard and indigestible; thus the fiber…
I use a clean electric coffee grinder to grind my seeds. Just a few seconds whirring around, and they are ready for use. “Use,” you say?
The freshly crushed flax seeds are wonderful sprinkled over yogurt or your breakfast cereal. They make a wonderful salad topping and can even make a flavorful and healthful garnish to a creamed soup.
Cooking the seeds will significantly reduce the effectiveness of the oils. The flavor of toasted flax is wonderfully complex. You will, however, lose most of the health benefits by cooking them. Another thing to note is that light and room temperature can destroy them. Keep them in the freezer once you've opened them.
I could go on about the uses and benefits of these little flax seeds, but I don't want to sound too “crunchy.” It's one of those things I do for myself that I feel is good for my MS (despite the lack of hard evidence to support that notion). There is, however, known science that says they are good for my body in general, and I know they won't break the bank - 'nuff said.
I'd love to hear other ideas for using flax if any of you have them. I'm sure all the rest of us out there reading this post would like to hear your ideas as well.
Wishing you and your family the best of health.
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