Fruit smoothies are an effective way to incorporate different types of fruits into your diet. Adding flaxseed to your smoothie adds a punch of nutrition and can even help prevent or treat certain diseases and medical conditions. Making your own flaxseed fruit smoothie ensures that you know exactly what you are getting -- or not getting -- in your drink.
Why Add Flaxseed
Flaxseed is full of fiber, which can help regulate the digestive system. The seeds also contain protein, which helps the body maintain and repair itself. In addition, flaxseed has a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for brain health and blood clotting. A study published in the journal “Hypertension" in 2013 also revealed that these polyunsaturated fatty acids in flaxseed can help treat and prevent cardiovascular disease and improve blood pressure levels. A study published in 2010 in “Nutrition Research” also notes that flaxseed can help reduce low-density lipoprotein, the “bad cholesterol.”
Whip up a blueberry almond smoothie by adding almond milk, frozen blueberries, flaxseed, a banana and ice to a blender. Whip the ingredients until the drink is smooth and frothy. Or create a tropical smoothie by blending frozen tropical fruits like mango, pineapple and papaya with a banana, nonfat yogurt, orange juice and flaxseed. You can also make an orange carrot smoothie by mixing carrot juice, an orange, flaxseed, allspice and raw honey in a blender or food processor.
Flaxseeds are hard and are not as beneficial when eaten whole. To absorb the most nutrition, the University of Maryland Medical Center recommends grinding your own flaxseeds in a food processor or coffee grinder. Flaxseed begin to degrade quickly and thus lose their potency, so consume them within 24 hours after they are ground. Never eat unripe or raw flaxseeds, which are considered poisonous. Store any extra ground flaxseed in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent it from spoiling and oxidizing.
Talk to your doctor before adding flaxseed to your smoothies if you take any prescription or over-the-counter medications. The omega-3s in flaxseed can increase your risk of bleeding, especially if you use blood-thinning medicines like warfarin. In addition, flaxseed can alter hormone levels and may interfere with the effects of birth control pills or hormonal replacement medications. Flaxseed can also decrease your blood sugar levels, which can alter the effects of diabetes medications like insulin.
- Hypertension: Potent Antihypertensive Action of Dietary Flaxseed in Hypertensive Patients
- Nutrition Research: Flaxseed Lignan Lowers Blood Cholesterol and Decreases Liver Disease Risk Factors in Moderately Hypercholesterolemic Men
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: Protein in Diet
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Flaxseed
- Oprah: Dr. Oz's Revitalizing Fruit Smoothie Recipe
- ABC: Fruit Smoothies with Flax Seed -- Staci
- Eating Well: Health Benefits of Juicing Vs. Smoothies
- The New York Times: How to Add Flaxseed to Your Diet
- Vegetarian Times: Feel-Good Smoothies
- Eating Well: Green Smoothie