While research results are mixed around flaxseed and its ability to reduce menopausal symptoms, there are enough positive findings to support use of this nutrient-rich herb. For many women it has made the difference between comfort and discomfort when it comes to reduction of hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings). Here are three nutrients unique to flaxseed, all of which play a role in supporting good health.
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: beneficial for preventing or treating certain health conditions, including heart disease and depression.
2. Mucilage: refers to water-soluble, gel-forming fiber that can provide special support to the intestinal tract. This makes flaxseed an excellent support to digestion and relief of constipation.
3. Lignans: provides fiber-related polyphenols that have two important health benefits. They provide antioxidants, which help prevent damage to other cells in the body and are associated with preventing disease. Additionally, polyphenols in lignans influence hormone metabolism.
Purchasing and Storing Flax
Raw flaxseed ranges in color from amber/gold to tan/brown. White or green flaxseed has been harvested before full maturity; black flaxseeds were likely harvested after full maturity. To reap the full health benefits, select the amber or brown variety. If possible, purchase the whole seed in bulk, store in the freezer and grind only the amount needed for immediate use. Flaxseed can be ground, sprinkled on cereal, added to baking mixes and used as a thickening agent in many recipes.
Gluten-free Flaxseed Apple Muffins
Whether you’re serving breakfast on the deck or packing a picnic lunch, these muffins add a perfect combination of sweetness and nutrition to your meal. Enjoy them plain or topped with preserves.
- 2 medium apples
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
- 1 1/2 cups flaxseed meal
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup whole flaxseeds
Makes 6 muffins.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a six-muffin tin with large paper cups and set aside. Peel and puree the apples in a blender or food processor. Set aside (mixture will turn brown).
In a large bowl, mix flour, flaxseed meal, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and vanilla. Mix well, and slowly pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring. When wet and dry ingredients are combined, add the apple puree; stir to combine.
Using a measuring cup or scoop, evenly divide the batter between the muffin cups. (fill nearly all the way to the top; because these are gluten-free, they won’t rise very much.) Sprinkle flax seeds on top of each muffin. Bake, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Cool in the muffin tin for 5 to 10 minutes.
Muffins will keep in an airtight container for 3 days.
Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum)
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Botanical-online.com “Mucilage Properties” Accessed on March 24, 2016. http://www.botanical-online.com/english/mucilage.htm