Family health

The benefits of flaxseed

Why flax is healthy

By Ellen Desjardins
The benefits of flaxseed

Flaxseeds are tiny nuggets of nutrition high in omega-3 fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals.

The secret to consuming flaxseed is to use it ground. Health food stores often grind it, like coffee. It has a delicious nutty taste when you add it to breakfast cereal or muffins, as in the recipe below. Remember that fibre needs liquid, so partner your flax with a glass of milk, juice, water or tea.

Buy smaller amounts and store it in the fridge, as flax becomes stale after a few months.

Caution: Flaxseed is a source of lignans, which have mild estrogenic properties upon digestion. A few teaspoons of flaxseed per day are beneficial, but more is not better when you’re pregnant. Avoid flaxseed supplements or powders during pregnancy. Flaxseed oil is generally free of lignans, and can enhance salads or vegetables with flavour and nutrition.
Flaxseed Orange Muffins

½ cup (125 mL) ground flaxseed
1 cup (250 mL) oat bran or wheat bran (or combination)
¾ cup (175 mL) flour
1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
½ tsp (2.5 mL) baking soda
1 whole orange, quartered and seeded
½ cup (125 mL) brown sugar
¼ cup (50 mL) canola oil
1 egg
½ cup (125 mL) buttermilk or plain yogurt
1 cup (250 mL) chopped walnuts or raisins (or other dried fruit)

Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC).

Grease muffin tins or line with paper cups.

In a medium bowl, combine flaxseed, oat bran, flour, baking powder and baking soda. In a food processor or blender, blend remaining ingredients, except nuts or fruit. Add blended liquid ingredients to dry ingredients, and mix. Stir in nuts or fruit. Bake approximately 20 minutes or until knife inserted into middle of muffin comes out clean.

Makes 12 muffins.

This article was originally published on Nov 26, 2007

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