29 Sep The Power of Flax
Flax seed originates from the flax plant and grows throughout Canada and the Northwest United States. Touted as having numerous health benefits, flax has been linked to a reduced risk of: heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes.
Rich in: omega-3 fatty acids, lignans, and fiber (insoluble and soluble); these nutrients collectively play a role in blocking the release of certain pro-inflammatory agents that are linked to disease.
With respect to digestion, 25% of flax contains soluble fibers, which aid in binding cholesterol in the digestive tract. The insoluble fibers assist in relieving constipation and move food quickly through the tract.
Keep these points in mind when buying, storing, and consuming flax:
- There is no nutritional difference between brown or golden flaxseed.
- Purchase ground flax seed, or grind them yourself in a coffee grinder. If consumed whole, it will likely pass through the digestive tract undigested.
- Milled, ground, and flax meal are all the same.
- Store in the refrigerator or freezer in an airtight container to keep it fresher longer.
- Hide the seeds in the foods you are cooking. Sauces, stews, soups, and casseroles lend themselves well to hiding. 6-8 Tbsp is sufficient for an entire dish.
- Bake into cookies, muffins, and cakes.
- Start with 1 Tbsp of flax when you are initially including it in your diet. Work your way up to 2 Tbsp daily and be sure to consume lots of fluids at the same time.
- Do not consume flax at the same time as oral medications or diet supplements as that will affect absorption.
- Seeds are preferable over oils as oils contain only parts of the seed.
- There is no magic bullet. Nothing can replace or undo poor eating habits. Consume flax in addition to consuming a healthy diet.
Strawberry-Smothered Flaxseed Pancakes
Makes 1 serving
For the pancakes:
1 T ground flaxseed
3 T warm water
1 large banana
1 T nut butter (like almond butter)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
For the topping:
1/4 cup sliced strawberries
1/4 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp honey
- Mix ground flaxseed in warm water until dissolved. Place in freezer while preparing other ingredients.
- To make the topping: In a blender, blend the strawberries and place in a bowl. Add Greek yogurt and honey, and mix together.
- To make the pancakes, blend the banana, nut butter, and cinnamon. Then blend in the slightly chilled flaxseed mixture. Spray or grease a frying pan with oil to prevent sticking, and pour the mixture in 1 T at a time to make small rounds. Let cook over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until slightly browned, then flip and cook the other side.
- Pour strawberry mixture over the pancakes and enjoy.
Nutrient Analysis per serving
Calories: 320; Fat: 12 g; Cholesterol: 3 mg; Sodium: 37 mg; Carbohydrate: 49 g; Dietary Fiber: 8 g; Sugars: 30 g; Protein: 8 g
— Recipe courtesy of Rachel Berman, RD