Monday, July 16, 2012

Cranberry Oat Flax Muffins

It always takes me awhile to get back into a normal routine when big things happen. You know, having a baby, moving...summer. But, I think I'm back, at least to some extent! : ) I'm gonna keep it simple today, and just share a new recipe for muffins I've concocted. I love muffins. So simple, grab-and-go, healthy, and delicious. I love the cranberries in this one- it gives it a bit of sweetness and zing, and the oatmeal and flax add that healthy heartiness I love so much.

Heart Health:
Whole Wheat Flour-The complex carbohydrates in whole grains contain indigestible oligosaccharide carbohydrates, which are linked to helping prevent cardiovascular disease. They also contain flavonoids, which are antioxidants also linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and help bolster blood vessels. Lignans and plant sterols may help lower cholesterol, and vitamin E is an antioxidant that may also help prevent heart disease.

Flax Meal-Flax seeds contain alpha-linolenic acid, which helps the body reduce hormone-like substances that can lead to blood clotting.  It's also a good source of insoluble fiber and soluble fibers. Soluble fiber specifically helps the body get rid of LDL cholesterol. Flax seed is also rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids, which are essential to the body and are thought to improve cardiovascular heart.  Note: unless flax seeds are ground, your body cannot digest them and gain the benefits.

 Oats- Oats are a wonderful source of saponins, which bind to cholesterol in the digestive tract. They also contain soluble beta-glucan fiber which is helpful for reducing cholesterol.

Cranberries- These flavor packed fruits are also packed with heart-healthy benefits! Folate, fiber, and phytochemicals all may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Bursting with antioxidents and vitamin C, they help reduce free radicals as well as boost your immune system. Ellagic acid and kaempferol help inactivate carcinogens, and quercetin helps protect the heart against disease.

 Banana- These lovelies are packed with pectin, which is a soluble fiber that helps lower LDL cholesterol. It also has potassium, which may help lower blood pressure.

Source: Fight Back with Food: Use Nutrition to Heal What Ails You,  The Reader's Digest Association
Coconut oil- Although a saturated fat, it is composed mostly of medium chain fatty acids, which actually increase good cholesterol and help protect the heart. In some studies, coconut oil was also found to lower cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as prevent the oxidation of cholesterol (which leads to atherosclerosis- the depositing of fats on the artery wall) (

Cranberry Oat Flax Muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup flax meal
3/4 cup oats
1/3 cup brown sugar 
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup dried, sweetened cranberries
1/3 cup honey
3 tbs coconut oil
3 tbs melted butter
1 cup milk (plus more if batter seems too thick)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 banana

Mix dry ingredients, then add in wet. Mix until banana is mashed and ingredients are incorporated. Add extra milk if dough is too thick- it should be scoopable, but slightly runny and not stiff at all. Scoop into muffin cups and bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

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