If you're aiming to give your yogurt an extra boost of flavor, texture and nutrition, look no further than flaxseed. Ground flaxseed can add a nutty flavor, chewy texture and nutritional benefits that yogurt would otherwise be lacking. The combination of yogurt and flaxseed can help keep your body balanced and your digestive system regular.
Yogurt is a source of balanced nutrition. An 8-ounce cup of plain yogurt made with whole milk contains 200 calories, 8 grams of protein, 7.5 grams of fat, 11 grams of carbs and an assortment of essential vitamins and minerals. Add a tablespoon of freshly ground flaxseed to your cup of yogurt to add fiber and polyunsaturated fats to your delicious meal. Use ground rather than whole flaxseed, as the nutrients are more readily absorbed. To avoid losing nutrients, grind flaxseed each time you use it or store it tightly sealed in the refrigerator.
Omega-3 Fat: Alpha-linolenic Acid
The essential omega-3 polyunsaturated fats play a crucial role in your body's health, especially of your eyes, brain, heart, blood vessels and immune system. Unfortunately, omega-3 fats are scarce in the modern American diet. Flaxseed is one of the richest sources of alpha-linolenic acid, which can help prevent heart disease, lower blood pressure and cholesterol and keep your brain and immune system functioning properly, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Yogurt itself lacks any fiber. Flaxseed is packed with a soluble fiber called mucilage as well as insoluble fiber. A tablespoon of flaxseed contains 1.9 grams of total fiber, according to the USDA. Eating enough fiber in your diet helps control blood sugar, lower cholesterol and maintain proper digestive health, according to MayoClinic.com. Fiber also absorbs water and can help you feel full. You'll be satisfied with your cup of yogurt rather than foraging for unhealthy snacks soon after eating.
Digestive & Immune Health
Your intestines are naturally colonized with flora -- bacteria and other microorganisms -- that assist in digestion and play a key role in the digestive and immune function of your intestines. Allowing the wrong flora to take over can be a disaster for your health. A 2012 study published in "The ISME Journal" suggested that an opportunistic strain of Enterobacter contributed to one man's morbid obesity. A high-fiber diet with whole grains and probiotics such as yogurt helped eliminate the Enterobacter and also bring about substantial weight loss.
Flaxseed is the richest source of lignans, phytoestrogens that can help balance the levels of hormones in your body. Lignans may help prevent the effects of your estrogen being too high or too low and assist in treating osteoporosis and the side effects of menopause, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. People may process phytoestrogens differently and experience different effects. Due to potential effects on hormone and drug processing, your doctor may recommend limiting flaxseed in your diet if you are being treated for a hormone-sensitive cancer, such as breast, uterine or prostate cancer.
- Dairy Council of California: Yogurt Nutrition
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Flaxseed
- MayoClinic.com: Dietary Fiber
- Linus Pauling Institute: Lignans
- USDA National Agricultural Library: Nutrient Data for 01116, Yogurt, Plain, Whole Milk, 8 Grams Protein Per 8 Ounce
- The ISME Journal: An Opportunistic Pathogen Isolated from the Gut of an Obese Human Causes Obesity in Germfree Mice
- USDA National Agricultural Library: Nutrient Data for 12220, Seeds, Flaxseed
Chris Daniels covers advances in nutrition and fitness online. Daniels has numerous certifications and degrees covering human health, nutritional requirements and sports performance. An avid cyclist, weightlifter and swimmer, Daniels has experienced the journey of fitness in the role of both an athlete and coach.