Last week I was checking my awesome Quattro Stagioni jars for forgotten superfoods. Indeed, I had completely forgotten that somewhere behind the other jars of goji berries, chiaseeds and hemp protein, there was a jar of flaxseeds.
Flaxseeds are a must in a healthy diet, so I ended up making a bunch of raw flaxseed crackers. Why I specifically made raw crackers? Continue reading and you will understand.
Looks yummie? Scroll all the way down to the end of this article for the recipe!
Nutrients in flaxseeds
Flaxseeds are beneficial to your beauty and health because they contain:
- high quality protein (with an amino acid score of 92, which is very high for a plant based source)
- dietary fiber
- the most abundant source of the essential, polyunsaturated n-3 (omega 3) α-linolenic acid (50% ALA) and contains less n-6 (omega 6) linoleic acid (which is uncommen to seeds and nuts)
- B-vitamins B6 and folate
Beauty and health benefits of flaxseeds
What are the health benefits of these nutrients? And what can you expect from adding flaxseeds to your diet?
- flaxseeds may relieve menopausal symptoms
- flaxseeds enhance your beauty
- flaxseeds have a strong anti-inflammatory effect
- flaxseeds treat ance
- flaxseeds feed your brain
- flaxseeds help burn excessive bodyfat by burning glucose, instead of opslaan the glucose as extra kilo’s.
Estimated Glycemic Load (eGL)
Another great thing about flaxseeds, is that they do not contain starch and have an Estimated Glycemic Load of zero. This means they have no effect on your blood sugar level. This is especially important to diabetics or those with metabolic syndrome. However, keeping your blood sugar level stable (swings of 10-15% around are normal and stabilize after a few hours) can prevent numerous negative health effects to those without diabetes or metabolic syndrome as well.
The possible negative (long and short term) effects of a low blood sugar levels in healthy persons:
- feel confused
- difficulty thinking
- secretion of Human Growth Hormone (HGH), which stimulates the production of insulin-growth factor 1 (IGF-1), that contributes to cell growth and could thereby encourage the growth of cancerous cells.
- may cause hypoglycemia
- feel hungry
- feel shaky
- rapid heart rate
- feel sweaty or have cold, clammy skin
- pale, gray skin color
- blurred or double vision
- have seizures or convulsions
- lose consciousness (pass out)
- decreased libido
The possible negative(long and short term) effects of a high blood sugar level in healthy persons:
- increased thirst
- increased appetite
- increased urination
- may cause hyperglycemia
- weakness and fatigue, headache and blurred vision, and lightheadedness
- type 2 diabetes
- increasedd risk of developing cancer
- depression and other emotional disorders
- Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders
- renal disease
- erectile dysfunction
- foot ulcers
To sum up: flaxseeds are full of health, beauty and brain beneficial nutrients and have no effect on your blood sugar level. Therefore I decided I wanted to use lots of flaxseeds in my newest recipe.
I remembered that I read about the brand Raw One that sells organic raw flaxseed crackers. They seemed very yummie and interesting to me, so I decided to make my own raw flaxseed crackers. Why raw, you say? Raw foodism is still a huge area for me to discover, but I will try to explain why, according to raw foodies, raw food rocks.
Thermal processing negative effects
For many foods applies that cooking them above 120°F/49°C for three minutes or longer kills important vitamins and minerals and denatures enzymes that aid digestion by helping break down protein, carbohydrates and fats for proper absorption. Furthermore, cooking, frying and grilling your food can leave accumulating toxins behind. One of these toxins is acrylamide, which especially are released when thermal processing carb rich foods. This is direct linked to ovarian, womb and colon cancer (Hogervorst, Schouten, Konings, Goldbohm, & van den Brandt, 2007; Ling, & Hänninen, 1992). Finally, thermal processing of (polyunsaturated) fats, of which are plenty in flaxseeds, can produce traces of trans fats, which may also be linked to cancer.
Thermal processing of foods kills vitamins and minerals, denature enzymes, can leave behind accumulating toxins (of which acrylamide)
and can produce traces of trans fats, which are linked to an increased risk of developing cancer.
Raw foodism rocks
For many foods counts that consuming them raw will leave them with a higher nutritional value.
There are some exceptions to the foods that are best consumed raw though. A study among strict raw foodies showed that they had higher levels of beta caroteen, but lower levels of lycopene. Cooking tomatoes at 88°C/190°F for 30 minutes actually increases the amount of C-lycopene, which lowers the risk of developing cancer. In this case, cooking the tomatoes would be better than eating them raw, because cooking them brakes down the tomatoes thick cell wands, which aids the body to uptake of some important nutrients like C-lycopene that is bound to those cell walls. Cooked carrots, spinach, mushrooms, asparagus, cabbage, peppers and many other vegetables also supply more antioxidants, such as carotenoids and ferulic acid, to the body than they do when raw, Liu says.
Nutrients in cooked, cooked and drained, frozen, dryed en reheated foods compared
Our foods are processed in a variety of ways. The table below compares the indicated percentual maximum nutrient loss for a variety of nutrients by processing method.
|Typical Maximum Nutrient Losses (as compared to raw food)|
|Retinol Activity Equivalent||5%||50%||25%||35%||10%|
Indication of nutrient loss (actual losses depend on factors like cooking time, cooking temperature, type of food etc.).
The table shows that especially folate, food folate, folic acid, thiamin and vitamin B6, which occure in large numbers in flaxseeds, are sensitive to thermal processing with losses of 50- 70% when cooked.
Making my own raw flaxseed crackers
Although opinions vary about the nessecity of not thermally processing flaxseeds (some say that flaxseed oil should not be heated, but the oils in flaxseeds are not affected by thermal processing), I decided to make RAW flaxseed crackers; after all, thermal processing of many nutrients that occur in flaxseeds is linked to large nutrient losses. Raw, low carb flaxseed crackers would be a perfect nutrient rich and safe for the blood sugar level food to munch on (imagine a salty cracker topped with soft avocado and grilled red bell pepper, hmmm!).
Do you agree that it is worth sticking to raw food flaxseed crackers? Here’s the recipe that I held on to, it’s really easy!
- * 2 cups ground flaxseeds (soaked overnight in 2 cups of water)
- * 1 tsp organic Celtic seasalt (which has great nutritional value)
- * 2/3 cup black chiaseeds (or white if preferred)
- * Optional: 2/3 cup sunflowerseeds
- * Preheat the oven at 40°C/100°F
- * Roll out a a sheet of baking paper on a baking sheet.
- * Get your overnight soaked flaxseeds out of the fridge. You'll see they have excreted a kind of gel, which is perfect to glue together the seeds.
- * Mix in the Celtic seasalt and optional the sunflowerseeds.
- * Spread the butter in a thin, even layer on your baking sheet. It is best to use a wet spoon or spatula to do this, but you can also use your hands. Be careful not too spread the butter out too much, as this will result in unwanted gaps in the butter.
- * Sprinkle the chiaseeds on top and press them a little bit into the spreaded butter.
- * Carve lines in the butter. This will be the breakpoints when your huge cracker is done, to make 12 small crackers.
- * Shove the sheet in the oven and bake (or actually: dehydrate) for 1:00 hour.
- * After one hour, check with your fingers if the top is dry. If this is the case, turn the cracker and bake/dehydrate for another hour. Otherwise, continue baking and check every 5 minutes if the top is dry and than turn.
- * When the crackers are done (the other side should be dry too), get them out of the oven to cool down. When they have completely cooled down, you can break the cracker on the breaking lines into smaller crackers.
- * Using an oven when prepping rawfood? Well yes! The trick is to stay beneath temperatures of 48°C/118°F. This means you're actually not baking, but dehydrating your food.
- * Experiment by adding dried, soaked fruits to the butter, chopped almonds, a little bit of home made tomato sauce, pesto etc.
- * You can also break the crackers into smaller chips as a small, healthy on-the-go bite.
- Spread out the butter in a thicker layer and your crackers will be more like a gluten free bread.
- The possibilities are limitless! Enjoy!