Flaxseeds are tiny seeds that can be purchased in several different forms. They can be found as whole flaxseeds, ground flax meal or flax oil.
So does it really matter which one you buy? Actually, the answer is yes. Both whole flaxseeds and ground flaxseeds are loaded with an omega-3 fatty acids known as ALA, which helps protect the body against inflammation and related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
These seeds are also a rich source of fiber to aid in digestion and help keep you full longer. Lignan is a compound found in flaxseeds which adds another benefit in that it may slow breast cancer growth, as well as reduce menopause symptoms like hot flashes.
The main difference between whole flaxseed and ground flaxseeds is that your body cannot properly digest the whole seed. Therefore, in order to reap its nutritional benefits, it must be consumed in ground form.
The final form of flax, flaxseed oil, differs from the previous two because it contains only the anti-inflammatory ALA compound and lacks the beneficial fiber and lignans. Therefore, ground flax meal gives you the biggest nutritional “bang for your buck” and is easy to incorporate into smoothies, oatmeal, pancakes and more.
Peanut Butter Banana Flax Muffins
Makes 20 muffins
• 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
• 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds
• 1/4 cup oat bran
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 cup walnut pieces
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 4 whole medium bananas, mashed
• 1 cup peanut butter
• 1/2 cup butter, melted
• 1/4 cup buttermilk
• 2 eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Mix the wet ingredients in a bowl and the dry ingredients in separate bowl.
Add the dry ingredients slowly to the wet ingredients while mixing with a standing or hand mixer. (Be careful not to over-mix.)
Pour mixture into a lined muffin pan and bake 20 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool and un-mold.
Nutrition information per serving (one muffin): 209 calories, 11.5 grams fat, 23 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams protein, 151 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber
Emily DelConte, Kali Garges, Amy King, Kelly Markiewicz and Meghan Martorana write this column and are registered dietitians at EVOLUTION — Nutrition Counseling by Dietitians in Bristol, East Greenwich, Newport and Providence. They adapt the recipes from public domain or copyright-free recipes.