Sometimes eating a healthy balanced diet is not as easy as it might seem – especially for a busy mum and when you are trying to lose weight or following a healthy eating plan. However, there are some foods which can be easily integrated into a busy lifestyle and give instant health benefits.
And we LOVE the health beneftits of linseeds, flaxseeds or chia seeds and the good news is that the Lose Baby Weight smoothies have flaxseeds already included for the added health boost – read below about what the benefits are.
Linseed and Flax Seeds
The first of these health super-foods is linseed. In some parts of the world linseed is more commonly known as flax seeds, but the two words refer to exactly the same item. Linseed is native to the Middle East, and has been used for generations to make soap, fabric, paper and in medicines.
There are a couple of ways to eat linseed, and the first of these is to eat the seeds whole. The seeds are high in calories at about 450 calories per 100g, but they are also very high in protein and dietary fibre. Linseeds also have a fairly high level of fat, but it is important to recognise that this fat is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential for good health and are thought to protect against heart disease, certain types of cancers and also help to boost the immune system.
The Omega 3 fats also help to reduce inflammation and may be beneficial to those suffering with conditions such as osteoporosis and arthritis. The Omega 3 oils found in seeds and nuts such as linseed are every bit as good for you as the oils found in fish, and are also thought to help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. The fibre in the seeds keeps the digestive system healthy, is excellent for breast milk supply and can protect against bowel cancer.
Preparing the Seeds
Linseed can be eaten raw and is therefore the perfect snack while out and about. As the seeds are high in fibre, it is essential to drink plenty of water while eating them as this will enable the body to digest them properly without causing constipation. Linseed is also the ideal food to sprinkle of top of a salad, added to your smoothies or to add to a soup to make it even more nutritious. The flavour of the seeds themselves is mild, and slightly spicy.
The other way to eat linseed is by using the oil. The drawback of the oil is that it does not have the dietary fibre which the seeds do, but it does still have the health benefits of the Omega 3 oils. Linseed oil is not suitable for cooking, but it can be used to make a salad dressing or just taken as a food supplement.
Chia is a plant of the mint family, and its seeds have similar properties to linseed. It has its origins in South America, and the seeds have formed part of the diet for centuries.
They are very rich in fibre and are often added to seeded bread to improve its nutrition. The seeds can also be ground then added to flour and used to bake cakes or biscuits. The seeds are high in essential minerals such as calcium and potassium, as well as being an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids. As chia seeds are not as well-known as linseed, more research is needed to determine exactly what their health benefits are compared to other nuts and seeds.
For more healthy eating and diet tips see our 28 Day Diet & Exercise Plan and to see our Healthy Mummy Smoothie with Flaxseed added in click here