Snacking for Heart Health
If you're not big on eating fish, but you don't want to miss out on those omega-3 fatty acids touted for their brain-boosting and cardiovascular benefits, you should get the facts on flaxseeds.
Two tablespoons of these tiny seeds with a subtle, nutty taste pack about the same amount of omega-3 fatty acids as a 3.5-ounce salmon fillet. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to lower cholesterol, and may combat symptoms of depression and alleviate premenstrual discomfort.
Additionally, the seeds have fiber and plant-based estrogens, which may help reduce breast cancer risk and ease menopausal symptoms. Studies show the combination of oil, protein and fiber may lower risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Flaxseeds are too small to snack on like peanuts -- they're about the size of sesame seeds -- but you can sprinkle them over cereal or into home-baked cookies or breads. Some say grinding the seeds releases their healthy oils. This can be done easily in a coffee grinder. If you don't need the extra fiber but want those omega-3s, try adding a teaspoon or two of flaxseed oil (available at most health-food stores) to a smoothie.
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