Flaxseed: The Babylonians cultivated flaxseed as early as 3,000 BC, and later, Hippocrates used flaxseed for relief of intestinal discomfort. Used as a food and medicine in these earlier times, flaxseed is again gaining favor because scientific findings demonstrate its nutritional benefits in a balanced diet.
Flaxseed provides essential nutrients, including protein, essential fatty acids, and vitamins and minerals; and it contains both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber.
Flaxseed flour or whole flaxseeds can be found baked into products such as breads, muffins, crackers, bagels and cereals, adding a pleasant, nutty flavor.
Milled flaxseed, which has a fine granular texture, may be substituted for shortening or other oils; a 3:1 ratio in baked goods is suggested. In yeast bread recipes, replace 10 to 15 percent of the flour with milled flaxseed and increase the amount of yeast by 25 percent.
Two cautions: Flaxseed allergy, though rare, can be quite serious, so begin by adding only ¼ teaspoon a day to your food, and increase gradually if no reaction occurs. Flaxseed is high in fiber, so increase water intake with it.
Wheat Foods Council www.wheatfoods.org
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