Fresh Food Perspectives

With so much nutrition information out there, sometimes you just need a fresh perspective.

Baking with Flax Seed April 6, 2009

My post on flax seed vs wheat germ gets the most hits on my blog. So I am assuming people want to know about flax seed.

Baking with flax seed will change your product. It makes the batter more dense. This means that the leavening agent (baking soda or powder, eggs, etc) will not be able to rise as much and the cell structure of your baked good will be smaller. Your recipe will probably taste similar but it will feel chewier in your mouth. Be cautious when you add flax to new recipes. I would start with no more than 1/4 cup, as a little goes a long way, and see how your product comes out. Below is one of my favorite banana bread recipes that I have added flax to. Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Banana Nut Bread


                             1/3 cup    Canola Oil

                             ½ cup        Honey

                             1 tsp          Vanilla Extract

2                                           Eggs

1 cup         Mashed Bananas

1 ¾ cups   Whole Wheat Flour

1/4 cup      Ground Flax Seed

½ tsp         Salt

1 tsp          Baking Soda

¼ cup        Hot Water

½ cup        Chopped Walnuts



1.    Preheat oven to 325° F.

2.    Prepare a 9×5 inch loaf pan by spraying with non-stick spray.

3.    In a large bowl, beat oil and honey together. Add eggs, and mix well. Stir in bananas and vanilla. Stir in flour, flax seeds, and salt.

4.    Add baking soda to hot water. Stir the solution to mix. Add to batter.

5.    Blend in chopped nuts.

6.    Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.

7.    Bake for 55-60 minutes.

8.    Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Then remove bread and cool on wire rack for ½ hour before slicing.


Recipe by Jenna Braddock, RD 


Flax Seed vs. Wheat Germ September 29, 2007

Filed under: Flax Seed vs. Wheat Germ — JBraddockRD @ 3:17 am

Benefits of Flax Seed 

Flax seed has gained a lot of populatrity lately because it is an alternative source of omega-3 fatty acids (alpha linolenic acid – ALA), especially for those who do not care for fish.  Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). During digestion, the body converts the ALA to EPA. Why do omega-3 fatty acids matter? Omega-3’s have anti-inflammatory benefits which helps to preven inflammation in the arteries (atherosclerosis), the joints (osteoarthritis), and the lungs (asthma). Omega-3’s may also help to improve insulin resistance, reduce cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, and reduce the risk of cancer. In addition, flax seed contains fiber, which also helps with the same things listed above, a little iron, and a tiny bit of calcium. Remember that is important to consume flax seed in a ground form. Store ground flax seed in the freezer.

Nutrition Facts for Flax Seed: Serving Size = 2 tbsp ; 60 kcals, 4.5g fat, 4g of carbohydrate, 4g of fiber, 3g protein, 4% DV for iron, 2% DV for Calcium, 4% DV Vitamin E, 13% DV folic acid

Benefits of Wheat Germ

I consider wheat germ the healthy additive of choice before flax seed became popular. Growing up I remember my mom always put wheat germ into our pancakes. Wheat germ has a nutrient profile similar to flax seed. It contains fiber and 20% of your daily need of folic acid. The other nutrients found in these specs of power are magnesium, thiamin, phosphorus, and zinc.

The Difference

The biggest difference between the two is that flax seed is able to contribute the omega 3 fatty acids. In my opinion, this makes it superior to wheat germ. A heart healthy diet aims to increase the amount of omega 3 fatty acids and this in one easy way to do just that.

Nutrition Facts for Wheat Germ: Serving Size = 2 tbsp ; 50 kcals, 1g fat, 6g of carbohydrate, 2g of fiber, 4g protein, 4% DV for iron, 15% DV for Thiamin, 20% DV Vitamin E, 20% DV folic acid

How to Use It

Flax seed is easy to  include in your diet. Add it to any baked good for a virtually invisible health boost. It is also great sprinkled over dry or hot cereal, yogurt, and in smoothies. You can buy it ground (“flax meal”) or in the seed form. Run seeds through a cheap coffee grinder to make your own meal.


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