Flax Favorites

Here's how to work this amazing little seed into your eating plan

You've no doubt heard the reports: Flax is a health powerhouse, full of omega-3s, lignans, and soluble fiber. These substances bolster your immune and cardiovascular systems and may even help prevent tumor growth and cancer. The natural laxative action in flax helps keep your body running smoothly too. But how do you add flax to your diet easily and conveniently? Read on.
Orange Bran Flax Muffins

Fresh oranges give these muffins great flavor.

1 1/2 c oat bran
1 c all-purpose flour
1 c flaxseed, ground
1 c wheat bran
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 oranges, quartered and seeded
1 c brown sugar
1 c buttermilk
1/2 c canola oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 c golden raisins

1. Preheat the oven to 375degreesF. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners or coat the pans with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, combine the oat bran, flour, flaxseed, bran, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
2. In a blender or food processor, combine the oranges, brown sugar, buttermilk, oil, eggs, and baking soda. Blend well.
3. Pour the orange mixture into the dry ingredients. Mix until well blended. Stir in the raisins.
4. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Makes 24

Per muffin: 186 cal, 4 g pro, 30 g carb, 8 g fat, 1 g sat. fat, 18 mg chol, 3 g fiber, 140 mg sodium

Recipe courtesy of Flax Council of Canada and Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission

Flax Facts

* Use ground flaxseed; it provides far more nutritional benefits than does the whole seed. That's because the flaxseed shell is hard and not easily digested, so it passes right through you without giving up its healing nutrients.
* Flaxseed is by far the richest source of lignans, which are probable cancer fighters.
* Flaxseed oil does not contain an appreciable amount of valuable lignans, but it comes packed with omega-3 fats.
* One tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 36 calories.

For more great flax recipes, see the special recipe booklet offer in "Food News" on p. 160.

Flax Primer

* Buy whole flaxseed in the bulk section of your supermarket or health food store. Grind the seeds in a clean coffee grinder/ mill, and store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
* Or buy preground flaxseed (found with the refrigerated or frozen foods at your supermarket). Store as outlined above.
* The Flax Council of Canada recommends introducing flax slowly-1 to 2 teaspoons a day at first, working up to 1 to 2 tablespoons.
* Ground flaxseed is great added to smoothies, meat loaf, casseroles, and pancake batter.
* As a fat substitute, 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed = 1 tablespoon margarine, butter, or cooking oil.
* Look for nutritionally enhanced eggs from hens that are fed flax.

PHOTO (COLOR): These moist muffins are bursting with flavor!

PHOTO (COLOR): Flaxseed before grinding.

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By Linda Quinn, RD , RD bertson f the physiology laboratory at Tufts University in boston and author of the bestseller Strong Women Stay Young (Bantam Books, 1997). Her latest book is Strong Women Stay Slim (Bantam Books, 1998).

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