Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Flex on Flax

If you like to stay in the loop about trendy “superfoods”, you have most likely heard the term flaxseed. Ah ha, you say as you come across it in the aisle, I will definitely be adding this to my cart. But wait, why exactly am I getting this? And what do I do with these seeds? Read on healthy eaters…here is the scoop!

Flaxseed comes from the flaxseed plant and was originally found in Central Asia, but is now grown across North America, Europe, and Asia. You will see it in three forms: whole, ground, and flaxseed oil. Decision, decisions…Which to chose? In order for our bodies to digest flaxseed, it must be consumed ground, as whole flaxseeds will pass straight through the intestine undigested. (No digestion, no absorption, no benefits!) So, if you want to purchase flaxseed whole- no problem- simply grind it up in a coffee grinder or spice grinder when you’re ready to use it to create ground flaxseed. And then there were two choices… Both ground flaxseed and flaxseed oil contain Lignans and Omega-3 fatty acids- both great for our bodies! What makes ground flaxseed the winning choice is its fiber content (both soluble and insoluble)! So while flaxseed oil does give you some great nutrients, we believe that ground flaxseed is the most Bang for your Bite!

Why have you done a good thing?

Flaxseed Nutritional Info: 1 Tablespoon or 7 grams

37 calories, 3 g fat (almost all unsaturated or “good” fat), 1.3 g protein, 2 g fiber, 1.6 g omega-3 fatty acids (all you need for the day!) *Nutrient content varies with brands

Flaxseed is the richest source of Lignan, which is a phytochemical, or a chemical compound found naturally in plants that has many health benefits, such as anti-oxidant action. Lignans from flaxseeds are broken down in your body and its end-products (metabolites) are thought to help reduce lipid (fat) and glucose (sugar) concentrations, which in turn, can help lower blood pressure, help fight inflammation, and act as an anti-oxidant. Flaxseed also has omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, which is why it may help to reduce total cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and protect against cardiovascular disease (CVD). One more reason that we love flaxseed is for regularity. Yes, that’s right, adding flaxseed to your diet can help fight off constipation, which can definitely put a damper on a girls’ night out! With all of these fabulous components, it is no wonder that flaxseed has recently been studied for its association with reducing the risk of certain cancers!

Incorporate Flaxseed into your daily routine with these tips and 3 delicious, healthy recipes, ranging from breakfast to dinner!

*Flaxseed should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container and preferably in a dark, dry place to extend freshness. Flaxseed may also be frozen for longer-term storage.

Not in a cooking mood? No Problem! You can very easily incorporate flaxseed into your meals. Try sprinkling it on cereal, oatmeal, or yogurt. Add it into your sandwich condiment (light mayo or mustard) or sprinkle it in your dessert pudding. Like to bake? Add ground flaxseed into any of your baked goods: muffins, cookies, breads, etc. It will simply provide a light, nutty taste to any food you add it to- so the options are limitless! Be creative and go flax-crazy!

Breakfast: “Flaxseed-Filled Mini Muffins” Adapted from “Boosted Muffins”


1 Box Trader Joe’s Triple Berry Bran Muffin Mix (made with whole wheat flour, high in fiber, and low in fat!)

3 Cups ground flaxseed (Try Whole Food’s 365 brand Organic Finely

Ground Flaxseed)

3 cups water

1 egg, 1 egg white

2 Tbs canola oil

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place paper muffin holders in mini muffin pan: batter will make about 48 mini muffins. Combine all ingredients in large bowl and mix until just combined; dough will be chunky and sticky, do not over mix. Bake for 17-21 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean; let cool. Store in the fridge in airtight containers for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

**Baker’s Tip preheat over to 425 degrees F, place muffins in over, close door, and then reduce to recommended cooking temperature of 400 degrees F for extra fluffy and well-risen muffins.

**Buyer’s Tip watch out for trans-fat when buying muffin mix. Many seemingly healthy brands sneak some into their products and we definitely want to stay clear! Trans-fat, aka, partially hydrogenated oils, shortenings, or palm oils raise our LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower our HDL (good) cholesterol, increasing risk for heart disease. So remember to read labels- or stick with our trusted brands such as Trader Joe’s and Whole Food’s 365!

Lunch: Salad with “Flaxseed Dressing” as seen on Food Network:


2 Tbs water

1 Tbs ground flaxseed (Try Arrowhead Mills Flax Seeds—don’t forget to grind!)

3 Tbs red wine vinegar

2 Tbs olive oil

1 tsp cumin

Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine 1 Tbs flaxseed and 2 Tbs water in small bowl; let soak for 20 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk together 3 Tbs red wine vinegar and 1 tsp cumin. While still whisking, add in 2 Tbs of olive oil and continue to whisk until well combined. Mix in flaxseed mixture and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve over your favorite lunch salad and enjoy!

Dinner: “Turkey-Flax Meatloaf”


1 ¼ pounds turkey meat (mixture of dark and breast meat)

1 medium onion

1 egg

¼ cup ketchup

¼ cup whole-wheat breadcrumb

¼ cup ground flaxseed

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

½ tsp salt

½ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp pepper

½ cup tomato sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the onion in half; thinly slice one half and chop the other half; put slices aside for later use. In a large bowl, mix together the chopped onion, turkey meat, egg, ketchup, breadcrumbs, flaxseed, Worcestershire sauce, and spices; mix together with your hands (yes, get a little dirty!) Form mixture into loaf and place into loaf pan. Place slices onions across the top of the loaf and pour the tomato sauce on top, covering the entire loaf. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until desired texture. * In terms of food safety, an internal temperature of 165 degrees F is recommended for poultry.

Don’t feel like baking, cooking, or even sprinkling? No problem!

Try a sandwich with freshly baked Organic Flaxseed bread at Organique ( or sip on a Pro-Omega shake made with flaxseed oil at The Pump Energy Food (!

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