Oct
05

All About Flaxseeds And Recipe For Peanut Butter Banana Flaxseed Porridge

imagesFor centuries, flaxseed (also known as linseed) has been recognized as a superfood by many cultures all over the world. Consuming flaxseed for its benefits goes all the way back to the 8th century when King Charlemagne made his loyal subjects eat the seeds because he believed they were extremely healthful. In Latin, flax was given the name Linum usitatissimum meaning “most useful.”

What are some of the numerous health benefits associated with the consumption of flaxseeds?

Flaxseeds are an excellent source of Omega-3 essential fatty acids, the “good” fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects.

Flaxseeds are rich in lignans which are one of the major classes of phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are estrogen-like chemical compounds with antioxidant qualities, which are able to scavenge free radicals in the body.

Flaxseeds are also rich in both soluble fiber (which dissolves in water) and insoluble fiber (which doesn’t dissolve in water).

According to the Mayo Clinic, soluble fiber dissolves with water and creates a gel-like substance that helps lower cholesterol and glucose levels. Insoluble fiber absorbs water which adds bulk to your digestive tract and helps to move things through quickly.

In addition to being an excellent source of “good” fats, antioxidants and fiber, modern research is beginning to find evidence to suggest that flaxseed can also help lower the risk of diabetes, cancer and coronary heart disease, improve immune function and brain functions (e.g. memory), act as an anti-inflammatory, and help prevent and control high blood pressure. 

*Note: I have read that that pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and people suffering from bowel obstructions should avoid supplementing with flaxseeds because of its estrogen-like properties and high level of fiber.

There are two main types of flaxseed: golden flaxseed and brown flaxseed. Although their nutritional profiles are very similar, I usually buy golden flaxseeds since Dr. Christiane Northrup has suggested in one of her books that she likes the taste better. I don’t really know if there’s any significant difference in taste or brands, but I always buy the Bob’s Red Mill Organic Natural Raw Whole Golden Flaxseeds.

6034C244_OG_GoldenFlaxseed_s_450Flaxseed, when eaten whole, is more likely to pass through the intestinal tract undigested, which means that your body wouldn’t get all its nutritional benefits. Therefore, I always grind whole flaxseeds, a few tablespoons at a time, into a “flax meal” using a small coffee grinder. Then I store the ground flaxseed in a small container in my refrigerator for future use. I also refrigerate the whole flaxseeds in their original bag because this is what’s suggested on the Bob’s Red Mill package. This Proctor Silex coffee grinder which I use for grinding my whole flaxseeds is relatively inexpensive.

3418582_sa.jpg;canvasHeight=500;canvasWidth=500I’ve been adding more flaxseeds into my diet lately because studies have also shown that dietary intake of flaxseed can decrease the risk of hot flashes among postmenopausal women. I became aware of this useful tidbit of information while doing research for my article Menopause: Certain Foods May Help Ease Symptoms.

I’ve been exploring different ways to consume ground flaxseeds, and I was happy to find ways I never thought of.

I’ve read that 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed per day should be a target, but I don’t know how valid this information is.

THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS TO EAT GROUND FLAXSEEDS:

-sprinkle into your favorite non-dairy yogurt

-sprinkle onto your favorite hot or cold cereal

-add to smoothies or non-dairy protein shakes

-sprinkle onto your favorite non-dairy pudding

-sprinkle onto your favorite nondairy “ice cream” or frozen dessert

-add to pancake or waffle batter

-mixed into homemade vegan meatballs

-mix into homemade veggie burgers

-mix into baked goods such as vegan muffins, cookies, brownies or scones

-Use it as a substitute for eggs in baking by creating “flax eggs”

*Flax Eggs: 2 tablespoons of ground flax mixed with 2 tablespoons of water = 1 egg

-add into homemade banana bread

-add into Banana Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

-add to & mix with Oma’s Chunky Homemade Applesauce

-add into homemade pizza crust

-sprinkle onto a peanut butter & banana roll-up or sandwich

-mix with bread crumbs or Panko crumbs in any recipes where you would use them (e.g. casseroles or baked eggplant “filets”)

Although I love all of these suggestions, I’m most excited about my new favorite way to consume flaxseeds…make a flaxseed porridge! Yes, you heard me correctly. While searching for new ways to eat flaxseeds, I found some recipes for making a hot cereal out of ground flaxseeds. I never thought of doing this before, but I tried it and it was surprisingly great. I got the idea from author Laura Dolson on the website About.com, but I made my own version.

PEANUT BUTTER BANANA FLAXSEED PORRIDGE

Adapted from Laura Dolson on About.com

Peanut Butter Banana Flaxseed Porridge

Peanut Butter Banana Flaxseed Porridge

Makes 1 serving

*Note: If you are not used to a lot of fiber, you may want to eat only half of this portion until you get used to eating this much fiber at one time.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup ground flaxseed

1/2 cup boiling water

2 tablespoons peanut butter

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon maple syrup (or drizzle on more or less, to taste)

1/2 banana

Directions:

Pour boiling water over ground flaxseed and stir well.

Stir in peanut butter and cinnamon.

Let thicken for 1 to 2 minutes, then drizzle with maple syrup and mix in chopped bananas.

*Note: You can make any version of this porridge that you desire. If you don’t want the fat, eliminate the peanut butter and use other add-ins. Or you may opt to use another type of nut butter such as almond butter or Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter.

Other suggested “mix-ins:” cocoa powder, chopped nuts, raisins, cranberries, dates, vegan chocolate chips, berries, chopped apples, applesauce, sugar-free maple syrup, agave nectar, sugar-free jam, Earth Balance Butter, stevia, shredded coconut, coconut milk, or anything you want.

Hope you enjoyed reading all about flaxseeds, and that you consume them regularly if you don’t already. Give this porridge a try. It’s surprisingly good.

Click here for easy recipe for Teff Porridge With Cashew Cream & Mixed Berries

Debby

xoxoxo

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