Omega 3 fatty acids-The wonder of Flaxseeds
I will be honest here. I had no idea about Omega 3 fatty acids. When my son was born, I started hearing from the pediatrics just how important omega 3 fatty acids are.
In a layman's language, this is one good and important fat for the body that it cannot make itself and hence has to rely on food sources from outside. It is basically a form of fatty acids that helps keep the brain healthy, avoid cardiovascular diseases, and lower triglycerides. For growing children, it helps in their brain development.
Research has shown that Omega three has been linked to various benefits ranging from eye function to certain behavioral and psychological well-being. While these are part of various studies with varying degrees of success, what is important to note is that it is essential nutrition for kids and adults, and we should be incorporating it into our diet.
The types of omega-3 fats are: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
EPA and DHA are found mainly in certain types of fish, as well as chicken and beef. Animals that feed on grass tend to have a higher amount of Omega 3 fats in their milk or eggs(in the case of chicken). ALA is found primarily in plant sources but also in some fish and meat.
An exciting part is that fishes do not themselves produce omega three. These fish obtain EPA and DHA by eating algae (found in water bodies) that have the flax-type omega-3s typical of plants. The fishes then consume these algae, and thus the EPA and DHA concentrations occur in their body tissues. Not all kinds of fish have been beneficial here. Salmon, by far, is the best source if eating fish.
For Vegetarians- Since my family is vegetarian, I shall talk about the sources of food which we eat and how we can incorporate these into our daily recipes. I shall be devoting this article to a wonder food called FLAXSEEDS. It's new to me, and it is my favorite.
Flaxseed- Has won the accolade for being one of the world’s healthiest food. There are three important nutritional elements to it and others that make it a wonder food. It has Omega 3 fatty acids as well as high fiber and is rich in antioxidants. We have golden flax seeds and brown ones. I have found the brown ones readily available in the supermarket. Nutritionally, they are the same.
Flaxseeds are a regular at my home—flaxseed, when eaten whole, tends to pass through the intestinal tract undigested. Then the body still doesn't get all the benefits. Grinding the flaxseeds is the best option and adds a healthy choice to a wide variety of food. They do not have a robust flavor. If you eat them by themselves, you will find them pretty bland. That’s why it can be added to various recipes, and we can accrue the benefits.
If you buy flax seeds products, check the label that ground flaxseeds were added in the cereal or pasta, or snack items. I normally sprinkle flax seeds in various moist dishes such as sandwiches, poha, upma, rice items, custard, smoothies, milkshakes, and the like. It can also be used in baking bread, cupcakes, and cookies.
I store ground flaxseed in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Ensure that the ground flax seeds do not form lumps due to exposure to air and moisture. If I am serving milk to my little one on a regular day, add one and add one tsp of flaxseeds. Not every day, though, is a flaxseed day. :)