Flax Seed for Baby
Flax seeds may not seem like an obvious first-food for baby or kiddo, but they are incredibly versatile, nutrient-packed, and virtually taste-less, making them a great addition to many purees and baked goods. Flax seeds are very high in omega-3 fatty acids, a potent anti-inflammatory fat that is beneficial for heart and brain health by protecting our blood vessels. They are high in lignans, which are fiber-like compounds, and are also packed with antioxidants to help our bodies fight off damaging free radicals and disease. In addition to helping ward off disease, flax seeds are also beneficial to the digestive tract because of their mucilaginous properties that allows them to gel while they pass through the intestines. This helps food pass through the intestines and reduces the risk of colon cancer. Flax seeds can either be consumed whole, or ground, but ground flax seeds are easier to add to baked goods and purees. Baby and kiddo will be getting a big boost of fiber, anti-inflammatory fats and antioxidants and they won’t even know they’re there!
Highlighted Nutritional Importance of Flax Seeds
Thiamin – This B vitamin is essential for baby’s brain development and aids the normal functioning of the nervous system, muscles and heart
Vitamin B6 – needed to metabolize protein, fat and carbohydrates and helps form a healthy brain
Folate – another B vitamin! Folate helps to build a healthy brain and support a healthy nervous system
Vitamin B5 – also known as pantothenic acid, this vitamin is essential for the production of hormones and cholesterol and for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins
Niacin – another B vitamin, niacin helps keep skin and gyms healthy by maintaining good blood circulation
Manganese – a potent antioxidant, manganese helps to protect cells from damage
Magnesium – very important mineral that keeps bones strong, the heart rhythm steady and supports the immune system
Phosphorus – this mineral is crucial for building baby’s bones and teeth
Copper – this trace mineral (needed in small amounts) is essential for forming red blood cells and boosts your body’s ability to mend tissues
Selenium – another trace mineral, selenium supports the immune system and healthy thyroid function
How to Select and Store Flax Seeds for Baby Food
Flax seeds can be purchased either whole or ground. Because flaxseeds and tiny, they tend to be hard to chew, so the ground variety may increase digestibility. Pre-ground flax seeds have a much shorter self-life than whole flax seeds, so it’s recommended to purchase whole seeds and grind them before use. The pre-ground variety will last about 6-16 weeks in an air-tight container in the refrigerator, whereas whole seeds will typically last 6-12 months being stored the same way.
To prepare flax seeds, grind them in a coffee, seed, or spice grinder to enhance digestibility, or serve them whole sprinkled on top of yogurts or smoothies. Adding flax seeds to baked goods is a great way to increase the fiber and antioxidant content and studies have shown that the healthy anti-inflammatory fats won’t be damaged when heated. Baby and kiddo will reap the many health benefits from flax seeds when they are added to their favorite baked goods or purees, and they may not know they’re eating them!
Recipes using Flax Seeds –