Getting Your Share Of Flaxseed

April 22, 2009|By Jill Wendholt Silva | Jill Wendholt Silva,McClatchy-Tribune

Have you been lax about getting your flax?

Flaxseeds are naturally high in omega-3, an essential fatty acid that keeps your skin, nervous system and immune system functioning properly.

Unfortunately, the positive effects of omega-3 are blunted by omega-6, a fatty acid found in highly processed foods made from soy and corn. When it comes to getting the right ratio, "a lot of Western-style diets are way out of whack," says Kelley Fitzpatrick, director of health and nutrition for the Flax Council of Canada.

Flaxseed is showing up in plenty of processed foods, such as Quaker Oats cereals, Kashi pizza crusts and Naked Juice smoothies, but this Banana-Flaxseed Bread is an easy way for home bakers to add the recommended 2 tablespoons a day to their diets.

Flaxseed is usually milled before it is added to recipes, although the seeds often are used for whole-grain eye appeal. When properly milled, the hull is broken to expose the oil, which is then encapsulated in the seed matrix.

Shopping tip For testing purposes, our testers used Hodgson Mill Milled Flax Seed. For the whole flaxseed, we used Good Sense Organic Flaxseed. Of course, you also can grind whole flaxseeds in a coffee grinder if you prefer to buy only one type.

Cooking tip To toast walnuts, spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted. Watch closely to prevent overbrowning.

Storage tip Flaxseed can be stored at room temperature up to two years. Ground seeds require refrigeration in an airtight container up to 90 days. You also can freeze flaxseeds.

banana-flaxseed bread

(makes 1 loaf - 9 to 12 servings)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup milled flaxseed

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup fat-free skim milk

1/4 cup canola oil

2 egg whites

1 whole egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/4 cups mashed very ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)

1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

4 teaspoons flaxseed (divided use)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all-purpose flour, milled flaxseed, whole-wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together milk, oil, egg whites, egg and vanilla. Pour milk mixture into dry ingredients and stir until blended. Stir in bananas, walnuts and 3 teaspoons flaxseed, blending until moistened.

Spoon into greased and floured 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Sprinkle top of bread with remaining 1 teaspoon flaxseed. Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until browned and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to stand in pan 10 minutes, then remove from pan and place on wire rack to cool.

Per serving (based on 9 servings): : 292 calories, 13 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 24 milligrams cholesterol, 39 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams protein, 211 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber

Analysis provided by The Kansas City Star.

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