Sendik’s Food Markets
Sendik’s Food Markets
here’s an incredible amount of healthy benefitsin tiny flax seeds. There’s evidence they may helpreduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, anddiabetes. And they’re super easy to incorporate into your diet.Flax, which is also known as linseed, comes from ablue-flowered plant—and it’s the same plant that’s usedto produce linen. Flax was cultivated in ancient Ethiopiaand ancient Egypt. Plus, Greek and Roman writings refer-ence the healing properties of flax as far back as 650 BC.Those ancient Greeks and Romans knew a thing or two,as scientific research over the past few decades has foundmany nutritional benefits of flaxseed, which are due pri-marily to its fat, lignan, dietary fiber, and protein content.It’s rich in Omega-3 essential fatty acids, the “good” fatsthat have been shown to have heart-healthy benefits. (Eachtablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant Omega-3s.) Lignans, which are phytoestrogens, arecompounds that have been shown in laboratory studies tohelp protect against certain kinds of cancer—and flaxseed contains75-800 times more lignans than other plant foods. Flaxseed containsboth the soluble and insoluble types of fiber. Plus, the protein found inflaxseed is very similar to soybean protein, considered one of the mostnutritious plant proteins due to the amino acids. Flax is also rich inpotassium. (The brown and yellow varieties have the same nutrition.)Since news of these nutritional benefits, you’ll see more flaxseedin all kinds of foods, from crackers to frozen waffles to oatmeal,cereals, pasta, whole grain breads and crackers, energy bars, meatlessmeal products, and snack foods. Not only have people been consum-ing more flaxseed, agricultural use has also increased—to feed allthose chickens laying eggs that are higher in Omega-3 fatty acids. You can also purchase the seeds and add either whole or groundto food at home. Flax seeds are easy to grind using a coffee grinder,food processor, or blender. According to the Flax Seed Councilof Canada, ground flax provides more nutritional benefits thanwhole seeds since flax seeds are very hard, making them difficult tocrack, even with careful chewing. Grinding flax seeds breaks themup, making them easier to digest and provide the health benefits.If whole flax seeds remain unbroken, they may pass undigestedthrough the body, reducing the nutritional advantage.Sprinkle ground flaxseeds onto hot or cold cereal. Add flaxseedsto your homemade muffin, cookie, or bread recipe. To add a nuttyflavor to cooked vegetables, sprinkle some ground flaxseeds on topof them. Add a tablespoon of flaxseed oil to smoothies. Stir intoenchilada casserole, chicken Parmesan, chili, beef stew, meatloaf, or meatballs. For a four-serving casserole, you can usually get away withadding 2-4 tablespoons of ground flaxseed. For a dish serving 6-8,use 4-8 tablespoons. Add whole to salads. Or a sprinkle of wholeflax seeds atop bread dough, pancakes, muffins, or cookies beforebaking adds a nutritional nutty crunch.Flaxseed can also serve as a substitute for some flour or fats whencooking. Substitute ground flaxseed for part of the flour in recipesfor quick breads, muffins, rolls, bread, bagels, pancakes, and waffles.Try replacing ¼ to ½ cup of the flour with ground flaxseed if therecipe calls for 2 or more cups of flour. Flax seeds can replace theoil or shortening in a recipe because of its high oil content. If arecipe calls for ¹⁄ ³cup of oil, use 1 cup of milled flax to replace theoil—a 3-to-1 substitution ratio. When flax is used instead of oil,baked goods tend to brown more rapidly.How much flaxseed do you need? The optimum amount for healthbenefits is not yet known, but 1-2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed aday is currently the suggested amount, according to the Flax Council.(If you are taking any medication or have questions about addingflaxseed, consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet.)Store whole dry, good-quality flaxseeds at room temperaturefor up to a year. For optimum freshness, flax should be ground asneeded, or after grinding, you should refrigerate it in an airtight,opaque container, which should keep for up to 90 days. An extrapop of nutrition will be readily available!
How Sweet It Is
Sweet potato vs. yam:
Sweet potatoes and yams are two very different root vegetables. Yams only grow in tropical climates as they needa longer growing season, and because most varieties of yams are large (some can grow to more than 7 feet long), it’s rare to find whole yamsin the store, they’re usually cut into chunks and wrapped in plastic.•
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A/beta-carotene (a 1-cup serving has four timesthe recommended daily allowance) and have high amounts of vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium. When eatenwith the skin, a sweet potato has more fiber than oatmeal.•
There are two main types readily available: The pale sweet potato has a thin, light yellow skin and apale yellow flesh that is not sweet and more crumbly like a white baking potato. The darker variety has thicker,darker skin and sweet orange flesh that cooks to a moister texture.•
Sometimes this root vegetable will be shaped like a potato (though theyare not at all related to the regular potato) with rounded ends, while other sweet potatovarieties are longer with tapered ends.•
Selecting and storing:
Choose small to medium sized sweet potatoes thathave firm, undamaged skin. Avoid those with soft spots or cracks. Storefresh sweet potatoes in a dry, dark, cool (ideally around 55°F)area. Do not refrigerate. If you can’t keep in a cool spot, tryto use within a week of purchase, otherwise under idealconditions they can keep for 3 to 4 weeks. (Cannedand frozen are also available year-round.)•
Bake or Microwave:
Prick several timeswith fork. Bake at 400°F 40 to 50minutes until tender. Microwaveon high 4 to 6 minutes or untiltender. Turn halfway throughcooking time. For more than one,select sweet potatoes similarin size and increase cooking time.
Whole, about 35 to 40 minutes.
Sauté or Fry:
Peel and cut into ¼- to½- inch thick slices or 1-inch cubes.Place in 2 tablespoons butter or oilin a large skillet and cook, stirringfrequently, over medium-high heat untiltender. Or place in oil heated to 365°F. Fryuntil brown and tender.•
This holiday staple is gainingyear-round popularity, so leave behind thenotion that the only way to eat sweetpotatoes is drenched in brown sugar andmini marshmallows. They do well with awide range of spices and flavors: butter,cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander,cumin, ginger, lemon peel, marjoram,nutmeg, orange juice, orange peel, andthyme. (They also make a great soup—see Dr. Andrew Weil’s recipe on page 63.)
Sweet potatoes are a great addition to any meal, anytime o the year.Add a nutritional punch toa wide variety o ood withomega-3 powerhouse laxseeds.