Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Industry Trend: Flaxseed

Industry Trend: Flaxseed

You may notice in both the grocery aisle and in many health-conscious recipes, the addition of a new ingredient in various bread or wheat products. Flaxseed has grown in popularity as people look for ways to increase their fiber and protein intake. Besides these nutritional benefits, it has been found through research and testing that flaxseed can decrease the severity of diabetes, decrease the growth of prostate tumors, benefit those fighting breast cancer and act as a natural laxative.

What It Is: Flax is a plant native to regions ranging from the eastern Mediterranean to India and is harvested for both its seeds and fibers. Various parts of the plant are used to make fabric, paper, dye, medicines and hair dye as well as a source of linseed oil, which can be used as a nutritional supplement.

Flaxseed comes in two varieties; brown and golden. Although they vary in color, these two types of seeds have generally the same nutritional make up, the only difference is that the yellow seeds have a lower level of omega-3 fatty acids due to its different oil profile.

Flaxseeds contain high levels of dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which are attractive to health-conscious people. One hundred grams of flax seed (3.5 oz.) contain 27.3 g of fiber, 18.29 g of protein, 255 mg calcium, 1.55 g sugar and 42.16 g of fat.

Who Might be Interested: This nutrient-packed seed is said to help reduce cholesterol levels, especially in women. Recent studies also suggest that flax helps prevent against breast, colon and prostate cancer. The omega-3 fatty acids found in flaxseed inhibited tumor growth and occurrence. Also, the lignans in flaxseed protect against cancers that are hormone sensitive by blocking enzymes involved in hormone metabolism and by stopping the growth and spread of tumor cells.

Omega-3s also help prevent cardiovascular disease by protecting against plaque buildup in the arteries and by keeping white blood cells from sticking to the inner lining of blood vessel walls. These seeds also lessen the severity of diabetes through stabilization of blood sugar due to the lignans.

Anyone with a risk of developing breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes or high cholesterol should consider adding flaxseed to their diets. These seeds also help with the digestive tract so people who suffer from irregularity may also be interested in the supplement.

Doctors suggest that pregnant women should not add flaxseed to their diet during pregnancy.

Availability: Flaxseed can be purchased at large grocery stores like Whole Foods or Wal-Mart, GNC, and multiple places online. 

Cran-Orange Muffins

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped 500 mL
1/3 cup granulated sugar 75 mL
1 tbsp. orange rind 15 mL
¾ cup orange juice 175 mL
2 cups all purpose flour 500 mL
1 tsp. baking powder 5 mL
½ tsp. baking soda 2 mL
½ tsp. salt 2 mL
½ cup ground flaxseed 125 mL
¾ cup granulated sugar 175 mL
1  egg 1  

Preheat oven to 350º F (180º C).
Spray or lightly oil muffin tins.
In one bowl combine cranberries, 1/3 cup (75 mL) sugar, orange rind, juice and egg.  
In separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, soda, salt, ground flax and ¾ cup (175 mL) sugar.
Combine cranberry mixture with flour mixture, just until blended.
Fill baking tins half to two thirds full.
Bake 10 to 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in centre comes out clean.  Remove and cool on

Yield:  12 servings
Serving Size:  1 muffin

1 comment:

  1. How much flaxseed is recommended as a daily dietary supplement in grams or tablespoons?