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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

FLAX SEED FOR HEART HEALTH


The lowly flax seed has acquired the status of a mighty force; thanks to the new researches in the field which attribute innumerable health benefits of this dark brown wonder seed. There is a plethora of articles in magazines and news papers extolling its beneficial constituents which are a boon especially for vegetarians. Irony is that my parents and my grandparents were aware of the efficacy of this seed long before I was born, though they didn’t know about the details of the mechanism of its nutritious potency. But they very well knew that eating it in a palatable form mainly in winters does a lot good, for it provided the body heat, vitality and prevented sniffles and colds and is good for the joints and bones too.

My grandmother lived up to almost hundred and used to enjoy a sweet delicacy prepared from flax seed every day. My parents did the same and had fairly good health till the last days of their lives. Their meals consisted of fresh vegetables throughout the year and a preparation of flax seed and sesame seeds during winters.

The healthy effects of this seed have been proven beyond doubt. Flax seed has numerous components which help in maintaining good health. It contains heart healthy Alpha-Linolenic Acid or ALA referred to as omega-3 fatty acids which fatty fish salmon has in ample measure. Omega-3 fatty acids help heart’s defense mechanism against disease and, help reduce inflammation inside the body.

Flax seed and its oil is said to increase HDL or the "good" cholesterol and control the formation of LDL or bad-cholesterol. It even aids in reducing blood triglyceride levels.

Flax seed is an excellent source of lignans, which work as a kind of antioxidant, fighting free radicals which can cause a number of ailments in the human body. It is said to enhance immunity against certain cancers.

A source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, it helps in cleansing the body of waste and toxins and promotes colon health.

It contains almost all classes of ‘B’ vitamins.

Its oil is unsaturated and reduces threat of blood clots.

Studies show that flax seed assists in stabilizing blood sugar levels as its absorption process is slow.

In the west it is available both as whole or ground meal. It can be incorporated in many dishes and bakery products.

A recipe (my parents’) follows which is very palatable and can be had as a substitute for breakfast in the hurried life of my friends in the west.

Ingredients:
Flax seed ground: 1lb
Whole wheat flour- 1lb
Brown Sugar- 1lb
Clarified butter/ butter- 3/4 lb
Almond halves, Walnut pieces, Raisins, 4oz each.
Dry ginger powder-3Tbs.
Aniseed coarsely ground-1 1/2 Tbs.

Method:

Roast wheat flour on medium heat till golden brown stirring constantly in heavy bottomed deep fry pan. Keep aside. Roast ground flax seed on low heat for five minutes approximately, stirring all the time. Keep aside. Heat butter in the pan till fully melted. Turn off the heat. Pour in sugar, flax seed and wheat flour  turn by turn. Mix the stuff thoroughly. Add dry fruit, ginger powder and aniseed powder and mix once again. When it is comfortably warm make round balls of the size of your liking by pressing the stuff in your hand.

Relish with milk or tea (not coffee) before going to work or eat the ball while behind the wheel or whenever you wish to.

How do you like the recipe? Pl. let me know.

Image courtesy: Internet

2 comments:

  1. Lovely recipe , and a nice informative page.
    I do have lots of flax seed, I am supposed to incorporate it in various ways, to reduce BP. Since BP is reduced, I stopped the habit! lazy.

    Anyway , may be we should substitute the brown sugar/jaggery for some savory flavor, then the dish cane be enjoyed by diabetics too?

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  2. Thanks Pattu,though this is the original recipe but I'd suggest reducing the quantity of sugar to half or more and same with butter.Of course the taste would be different and you won't be able to shape into balls with less fat but its health benefits will not be lessened in any way.I've prepared it with less of sugar and fat and eat it in the loose form.
    If you enjoy chappatis then you can mix a couple of tbs.of ground flax in the flour before kneading.You can add some into your cornflakes.In whatever way, using it has to be a must.

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