Flax: super food packed with health benefits

Flaxseed Can Replace Eggs in Baking


Health Canada approved a health claim linking ground whole flaxseed with lowering blood cholesterol.

The claim states that eating five tablespoons (75 mL) of ground milled flaxseed each day over three meals can help reduce cholesterol.

Why is flaxseed a super food?

  • Flaxseed is high in fibre. 
Like other Canadian grown super foods such as pulses, oats, barley and quinoa, flaxseed is full of fibre.

It contains both soluble cholesterol lowering and insoluble (happy digestive system) fibres. Just two tablespoons (30 mL) of ground whole flaxseed contain four grams of fibre, which is about 15 percent of the fibre required daily.

  • Flaxseed is a source of plant-based omega 3 fats. Omega 3s are sometimes called essential fats because the body needs them but can’t make them so must get them from a food source.

Research suggests that a higher intake of omega 3 fats is associated with reductions in cardiovascular disease. They are found in fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and herring, nuts like walnuts, pecans and almonds and seeds like flaxseed and chia. In addition, they are found in some vegetable oils including flaxseed, walnut, canola and soybean oils.

The Institute for Medicine recommends that men consume 1.6 grams, women 1.1 grams and children between 0.5 and 1.2 grams per day.

Two tablespoons (30 mL) of ground flaxseed provide 3.5 g of omega 3, more then twice the daily recommendation.

  • Flaxseed is one of the best plant sources of lignans. Lignans are high in antioxidants, regulate hormone levels and may reduce the risk of breast and prostrate cancer.

A recent study also indicated that women recently diagnosed with breast cancer who consumed a muffin containing two tablespoons (30 mL) of flaxseed showed a significant reduction in tumour growth compared with those who ate a muffin containing no flaxseed.

Flaxseed may also quell hot flashes in menopausal women. Flaxseeds contain 75 times more lignans then other plant foods.

Recipes are from the Prairie 
Oat Growers Association and SaskFlax.

Golden Crackers

  • 1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour 375 mL
  • 1/2 c. oat bran 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. ground golden flax 50 mL
  • 2 tbsp. whole golden flaxseed 25 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda 2 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL
  • 1/4 c. canola oil 50 mL
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk 125 mL
  • 1 large egg

Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C). In a bowl, combine flour, oat bran, ground flaxseed, flaxseed, baking soda and salt. Drizzle with oil. Mix well, then work with hands as for pie dough to a crumbly texture.
In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg. Add to dry mixture. Mix to form a ball of dough. Knead about 20 times.
On a lightly floured countertop, roll dough to 12 x 18 inch (30 cm x 45 cm) rectangle. Cut into two x two inch (5 x 5 cm) squares for a total of 54.
Place squares on large baking sheet that has been sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray. Prick tops a few times with a fork.
Bake 12 minutes or until lightly browned. After cooling, store in an airtight container.
Variation: Add two teaspoons (10 mL) finely chopped fresh rosemary and one teaspoon (5 mL) black pepper. Substitute olive oil for canola oil.
Brown flaxseed may be substituted for golden flaxseed.
Dough should be soft but not stick to your fingers. If dough is too wet, work in flour one tablespoon (15 mL) at a time. If dough is too dry, add buttermilk one tablespoon (15 mL) at a time.
Crackers can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days or frozen for up to three months.

Crunchy Granola Bars

  • 2/3 c. lightly packed brown sugar 150 mL
  • 1/3 c. unsalted butter 75 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 5 mL
  • 1 1/4 c. quick cooking oats 300 mL
  • 1/2 c. ground flaxseed 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. ground almonds 125 mL
  • 2 tbsp. whole flaxseed 25 mL

Preheat oven to 325 F (170 C).
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine brown sugar and butter. Stir constantly while butter is melting and comes to a boil. Boil two minutes, stirring occasionally, then remove from heat.
Stir in baking soda and vanilla. Add oats, ground flaxseed, almonds and whole flaxseed. Stir well. Press into an eight x eight inch (20 x 20 cm) pan that has been sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray.
Bake 12 minutes or until golden brown on top and starting to brown around the edges.
Remove from oven and cool. When cool, cut into eight two x four inch (5 cm x 10 cm) bars using a sharp knife and wrap individually.
Bars can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days or frozen for up to three months.
Variation: For a chewier bar, reduce brown sugar to 1/3 cup (75 mL), add 1/4 cup (50 mL) liquid honey. Continue as above. It will puff up while baking and be soft to the touch on top, but it deflates when removed from oven.

Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 1 1/2 c. natural peanut butter 375 mL
  • 1/2 c. margarine or butter 125 mL
  • 1 3/4 c. lightly packed brown sugar 175 mL
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar 125 mL
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 15 mL
  • 1 c. oat flour 250 mL
  • 1/2 c. unbleached all purpose flour 125 mL
  • 1/3 c. ground flaxseed 75 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 1 c. old-fashioned oats 250 mL
  • 1/3 c. chopped roasted peanuts 75 mL
  • 1/3 c. dried cranberries 5 mL

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C) and position rack in centre of oven.
In a large bowl, cream peanut butter, margarine, brown sugar and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.
In a small bowl, combine oat flour, flour, ground flaxseed, baking soda and salt. Stir and blend into creamed mixture. Add oats, peanuts and cranberries.
Combine until ingredients hold together to form a dough. Scoop dough using one tablespoon (15 mL) measure, slightly rounded on top. Press and squeeze dough in palm of your hand to form into 1 1/2 inch (3.5 cm) balls.
Place two inches (5 cm) apart on a baking sheet lightly sprayed with a non-stick cooking oil. Flatten cookies with the back of a floured fork, making a criss cross pattern.
Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool five minutes on baking sheet.
Using a natural peanut butter produces a slightly drier dough but equally delicious cookies.
To make oat flour: In a small blender or coffee mill, process oats until finely ground.
Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days or frozen up to three months.

Saskatoon Oat and Seed Bread

  • 1 c. oat bran 250 mL
  • 1/2 c. quick cooking oats 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. whole wheat flour 125 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking powder 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 1/3 c. ground golden flaxseed 75 mL
  • 1/3 c. lightly packed brown sugar 75 mL
  • 1/4 c. unsalted, toasted sunflower seeds 50 mL
  • 1/4 c. unsalted, toasted pumpkin seeds 50 mL
  • 2 tbsp. whole golden flaxseed 25 mL
  • 2 tbsp. sesame seeds 25 mL
  • 2 tbsp. poppy seeds 25 mL
  • 1 1/4 c. buttermilk 300 mL
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil 125 mL
  • 2/3 c. fresh saskatoon berries or frozen,
thawed and drained 150 mL

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C) and position rack in the centre of the oven.
In a large bowl, combine oat bran, oats, flour, ground flaxseed, brown sugar, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, whole golden flaxseed, sesame seeds and poppy seeds. Mix well.
In another bowl, whisk buttermilk, egg and oil, then add to dry ingredients. Stir until moistened. Gently stir in saskatoons.
Spoon batter into a nine x five inch (22 x 12.5 cm) loaf pan that has been sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray.
Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until wooden skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to cooking rack. Cool before slicing.
To toast seeds, preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Combine sunflower and pumpkin seeds in pie plate. Toast three minutes, stir, toast three minutes, stir again.
Bread may be stored in an airtight container for up to two days or frozen for up to two months.
Brown flaxseed can be substituted for golden flaxseed.

Caribbean Crunch Muffins

  • 1/3 c. pitted, chopped dates 75 mL
  • 1/3 c. organic, virgin coconut oil, melted 75 mL
  • 1 c. mashed ripe bananas (3 small) 250 mL
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 5 mL
  • 1 c. quick cooking oats 250 mL
  • 3/4 c. all purpose unbleached flour 175 mL
  • 1/2 c. chopped pecans 125 mL
  • 1/3 c. unsweetened medium coconut 75 mL
  • 1/4 c. ground flaxseed 50 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon 2 mL

Topping:

  • 1/2 c. quick cooking oats 125 mL
  • 1/4 c. coconut sugar or brown sugar 50 mL
  • 2 tbsp. organic virgin coconut oil, melted 25 mL
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped pecans 25 mL
  • 1 tbsp. unsweetened medium coconut 25 mL

Soften dates in two tablespoons (25 mL) boiling water. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Position rack in centre of oven.
In a large bowl, beat softened dates and coconut oil. Blend in banana, eggs and vanilla.
In another bowl, combine oats, flour, pecans, coconut, ground flaxseed, baking soda and cinnamon. Stir. Add to wet ingredients, then stir gently until combined. Spoon 1/4 cup (50 mL) into muffin tins that have been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
Topping: Combine oats, sugar, coconut oil, pecans and coconut, then stir well. Sprinkle each muffin with 1 1/2 tbsp. (20 mL) topping.
Bake 20 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly pressed. Let cool on rack 10 minutes before removing from tins. Remove from tins and cool.
Muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to two days or frozen up to two months.
Note: 1/3 c. (75 mL) chopped dried mango, papaya, pineapple, etc. can be added to the batter before baking and 1/3 c. (75 mL) brown sugar or coconut sugar may be used to replace the softened dates.
Non-hydrogenated tub style margarine may be used in the place of the coconut oil. Coconut oil appears white and solid at room temperature.

Greek Oat Bread

  • 1 c. whole wheat flour 250 mL
  • 3/4 c. oat flour 175 mL
  • 1/4 c. ground flaxseed 50 mL
  • 1 tsp. crushed oregano 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking powder 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic 2 mL
  • 1/4 c. light crumbled feta cheese 50 mL
  • 2 tbsp. chopped Kalamata olives (about 6) 25 mL
  • 1 c. fat free plain Greek yogurt 250 mL
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. liquid honey 15 mL
  • olive oil, coarse sea salt for garnish (optional)

Position rack in centre of oven and preheat to 450 F (220 C). In a large bowl, combine flour, oat flour, flaxseed, oregano, baking powder, baking soda and garlic, then stir well. Add feta and olives.
In a separate bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil and honey. Add to dry ingredients, stirring to moisten. With lightly oiled hands, form dough into a ball.
Place on a lightly oiled and floured baking sheet. Pat into a circle eight inches (20 cm) in diameter and 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick. Prick all over with a fork.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes until browned on the bottom and lightly browned on top.
Cut into eight wedges and serve warm with a light drizzle of olive oil and a few grains of coarse sea salt.
Substitute chopped sun dried tomatoes for the olives.
Bread can be stored in an airtight container for up to two days or frozen for up to two months.

Dorothy Sandercock is a home economist in the agrifood trade and former greenhouse grower from Lloydminster, Sask. She writes a blog at http://prairiekitchencompanion.blogspot.ca. Contact: [email protected].

One Response

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  1. Nothing new here. How long have they been studying that. Not too long I hope.

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