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Michelle Warner

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Monday Morsel ~ Flax Facts

Posted on September 27th, 2010

sometimes random.
sometimes deep.
just a little something
to begin your week.

***

Oftentimes, the health world adopts products as the trendy “flavor of the month.”  The one I continue to see and hear a lot about lately is flaxseed. So is flaxseed just the latest fad or does it live up to the hype?

Research boasts about the following benefits of flaxseed:

  • Halting tumor growth
  • Supporting cardiovascular health
  • Lowering bad cholesterol
  • Improving blood sugar in those with diabetes
  • Minimizing inflammation [This resonates with me because I have learned that cancer feeds on inflammation in your body.]
  • Helping stabilize hormone levels (and reducing the risk of hormone-sensitive cancers).
  • Increasing brain development
  • Protecting bone health

These benefits can be attributed to three major components in flaxseed:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically alpha linolenic acid (ALA). I wrote about the positive influences of Omega-3’s in one of my past blog entries.
  • Lignans, comprised of antioxidants and phytoestrogens (which are estrogen-like substances found in plants). “It is thought that lignan metabolites can bind to estrogen receptors, hence inhibiting the onset of estrogen-stimulated breast cancer,” according to HealthCastle.com.
  • Fiber, including soluble and insoluble (three grams per tablespoon).

You can easily incorporate flaxseed in your diet. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Replace some of the flour in baked goods with flax meal (ground flaxseed)
  • Add flaxseed to smoothies (my morning ritual!), oatmeal or granola
  • Sprinkle flaxseed over salads
  • For more ideas, read “10 Tips for Healthy Flax Habits.”

Below is a flaxseed recipe that looks very interesting and I am looking forward to trying. Have you found any irresistible recipes using flaxseed? If you have, please pass them along in the comment section below.

A few other flax facts:

  • Grind flaxseeds before using to increase health benefits.
  • If you have never eaten flaxseed before, begin with one teaspoon and gradually increase to one or two tablespoons a day.

If you ask me, I’d say that flaxseed more than delivers the goods!

Fruity Flaxseed Muffins

(from The Flax Cookbook: Recipes and Strategies for Getting The Most from The Most Powerful Plant on the Planet.)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup crushed pineapple with juice, canned
1/2 cup finely chopped apples (with peel)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large egg, higher omega-3 if available, beaten lightly
2 egg whites (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)
1 cup fat free sour cream
1/4 cup dark molasses
1/2 cup raisins, currants (or any other dried fruit, chopped)
1 1/4 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup ground flaxseed

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin pan with paper or foil liners. Coat inside of liners with a quick squirt of canola cooking spray.
  2. In large mixing bowl, beat together the pineapple with juice, apples, canola oil, egg, egg whites or egg substitute, sour cream, and molasses until mixture is light and fluffy. Stir in raisins or dried fruit.
  3. In medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and flaxseed. Beating on low speed, add flaxseed mixture to sour cream mixture just until combined (batter will be a little lumpy). Spoon batter by 1/4 cupful into prepared muffin pan.
  4. Bake in center of preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until muffins are golden brown and springy to the touch.

Yield: 12 muffins

For more information:

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/benefits-of-flaxseed

http://www.flaxhealth.com/howflaxhelps.htm

http://www.healthyflax.com/

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