Flaxseeds offer many health benefits -- whether it is to keep your bowels regular, stabilize your blood sugars levels or lower your blood cholesterol levels 1. Grinding flaxseeds is a good way to make some of the nutrients in this seed more accessible for absorption. However, some nutrients are sometimes lost when cooked or heated. It is important to understand how the nutrients in flaxseeds are affected by heat before using them in your cooking and baking.
Ground flaxseeds are a good source of fiber, providing approximately 2.2 g per tablespoon, which can help prevent constipation. Fortunately, fibers are heat-stable and are not affected by cooking or baking. No matter how you use your ground flaxseeds, the fiber content will remain unchanged.
Grinding flaxseeds is important for allowing your body to absorb the omega-3 fats, called alpha-linolenic acid, it contains. Omega-3 fatty acids can greatly benefit your heart health. However, these polyunsaturated fats are more sensitive to oxygen, light and heat, making them more prone to rancidity. Fortunately, the omega-3 in ground flaxseeds have been shown to remain unaffected when exposed to temperatures of up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, as part of a muffin mix, for two hours.
Flaxseeds are the best known food source of lignans. This compound acts like a phytoestrogen and could be involved in the prevention of some types of cancers, especially breast and colon cancers. Fortunately, baking ground flaxseeds as part of your favorite recipes does not appear to induce any change in the lignan content of flaxseeds.
The way you store ground flaxseeds is important to keep the omega-3 fatty acids from oxidizing. The best way to store your ground flaxseeds is to put them in an airtight container, away from heat and light. The best place to store your flaxseeds is in your refrigerator or freezer.
Ground flaxseeds is easy to use in breads and baked goods recipes. Add it to your muffins, homemade granola bars, pancakes and cookies. You can also replace each egg in your baked goods recipes with a mix of 1 tbsp. ground flaxseeds and 3 tbsp. water which you mix and let rest a few minutes before adding to your wet ingredients. The resulting volume may differ from your original recipe.
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