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I found a recipe on the internet in which half a cup of ground flax seeds are added to the mixture to make muffins.

Since there is flour and sugar in it I was wondering if that defeats the purpose of using flax seeds to increase your fiber intake and profit from all of their properties.

Thanks for your help.

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What other properties besides fiber? That would be pertinent to an answer. ie: Fiber won't so much change when cooking, but other properties may (vitamins/etc). – zanlok Apr 26 '12 at 21:34
Flax seed are mostly indigestible unless you run them through a food processor first. A few quick pulses to split them, or even better grind them to a rough powder. Always do this fresh for each batch – TFD Apr 26 '12 at 22:11
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Here's an article from citing several sources from well-respected journals that says that "Research studies have shown that the healthy omega-3 oils and lignan phytonutrients in flaxseeds are surprisingly heat stable. Not only is it safe to leave whole flaxseeds at room temperature but you can also use them in baking." This is mainly true of the ground flax, but not the oil.

Here's a couple articles they cite:

  • Hyvarinen HK, Pihlava JM, et al. Effect of processing and storage on the stability of flaxseed lignan added to bakery products. J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Jan 11;54(1):48-53.

  • Manthey FA, Lee RE, Hall CA 3rd. Processing and cooking effects on lipid content and stability of alpha-linolenic acid in spaghetti containing ground flaxseed. J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Mar 13;50(6):1668-71

As you probably know, flax seed has tons of benefits besides fiber including omega-3's, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. It's what they feed chickens to make those omega-3 eggs.

In general, using whole flax seeds is pretty pointless from a nutritional standpoint, as we don't really digest them (maybe if you really chew them really well :).

A great list of the benefits of flaxseeds can also be found on this site.

For another good vegetarian source of fiber and omega-3's, check out chia seeds which you can mix into water for a healthy drink, add to food, or use like flax seed as thickener.

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Thanks, very illustrative. And I am from Mexico and I really love lemonade with chia seeds. A must try :) – Sergio Romero Apr 27 '12 at 18:31
Yes, I make that myself. I often drink it with lime, agave and chia after working out. It works for the Tarahumara! – paul May 2 '12 at 18:29

I'm guessing the flax seeds are used as a substitute for eggs. Does the recipe ask for eggs? You'll be still eating flax seeds, hence ingesting fiber. But I don't think it's the primal goal in this recipe.

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Basically the ingredients are: 1 egg, 3/4 cups sugar, 1 1/2 cup flour, 1 cup ground flax seeds, baking powder, and 3 bananas. So it is not a substitute for eggs. – Sergio Romero Apr 26 '12 at 20:21

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