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Coconut Flax Muffin Recipe

October 19, 2010 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

Chronic constipation is estimated to affect approximately 1 in 6 adults living in the US. It’s even more prevalent in senior citizens. Dehydration, inadequate nutrition, lack of physical activity and medication side-effects all contribute to the problem. Many imperfect solutions abound including fiber supplements, laxatives and stool softeners. But in my opinion that’s putting the horse before the cart. The first thing that should be addressed in instances of recurrent constipation is diet. However, it might surprise you to know that just adding whole grains to your diet won’t solve much. Grains of any stripe frequently cause adverse digestive and systemic reactions. In my opinion, a better option is to incorporate gentler sources of dietary fiber and healthy fats into your daily routine. (1,2,3)

If you compare the nutritional labels of some of the best selling whole wheat breads on the market, you’ll notice that they generally provide about 2-3 grams of roughage per slice. Protein content is typically in the range of 4-5 grams and the fat contribution is almost always negligible. These figures are relatively consistent among the many whole grain breads currently available in health food stores and supermarkets alike. (4,5,6)

This past weekend I created an alternative to whole grain bread in the Healthy Fellow test kitchen – one that can be easily prepared and enjoyed. As an added bonus, it may also be a more effective means of promoting regularity. Instead of using wheat or other glutenous grains, I opted for three nutritious sources of insoluble and soluble fiber: almond flour, shredded coconut and sprouted flax meal. The inclusion of a healthy source of fat in the form of coconut oil further facilitates the elimination process while also supporting other aspects of well-being including improvements in cardiovascular biomarkers and cognitive functioning.

Coconut Flax Muffins
1/2 cup organic sprouted flax meal
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup sparkling water
1/4 cup organic shredded coconut
1/4 cup organic virgin coconut oil
4 organic, omega-3 eggs
2 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of organic vanilla extract
1/2 tsp of NutraSalt or salt
1 dropperful of NuNaturals Pure Liquid Stevia *
* Alcohol Free Version

Nutritional Content: Calories: 245. Protein: 9 grams. Fat: 20 grams. Fiber: 5 grams. “Net” Carbohydrates: 2.5 grams.

Pre-heat your oven to 350°F. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, liquid stevia and vanilla extract together. Stir the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients until it forms a smooth batter. Allow batter to rest and thicken for 10-15 minutes. Grease a muffin pan and fill with batter to the top of each muffin mold (makes 6 large muffins). Bake for about 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick slides out cleanly.

Flax Seed Consumption May Improve Glycemic Control in Type 2 Diabetics
Source: PLoS ONE 2(11): e1148. (link)

The are numerous reasons why I prefer these muffins to whole grain bread. Organic flax seeds are not only an excellent source of dietary fiber. They also contain plant-based omega-3 fatty acids (alpha linolenic acid) and therapeutic phytochemicals such as lignans. Animal and human investigations have revealed that flax seed fortified diets may help slow the progression of atherosclerosis, reduce the risk of select cancers including ovarian and prostate malignancies and may even support fertility by improving the functional quality of sperm. (7,8,9,10,11)

The remainder of the ingredients that make up this humble muffin also deserve attention: Recent evidence suggests that eating almonds regularly may be an effective means of protecting bone density via a reduction of osteoclast formation of up to 20% and calcium release of about 65%. A current trial reports that consuming omega-3 enriched eggs can significantly increase lutein levels in healthy adults. Lutein is an antioxidant carotenoid found in egg yolks and a variety of foods such as avocados and green leafy vegetables. Many scientific investigations and reviews have identified lutein as a possible aid in protecting against eye conditions (age-related macular degeneration and cataracts), cardiovascular disease and sun related skin damage. (12,13,14,15,16)

I hope I’ve already made a strong enough case for you to try out my Coconut Flax Muffins. If not, consider the following: eating a breakfast that’s rich in dietary fiber, healthy fats and protein can help you manage appetite and weight. These are the three primary nutritional components that provide a satiating effect. One morning, eat a piece of whole wheat toast with your typical toppings and see how long it takes for you to get hungry afterward. The following morning, eat one of these muffins. Take note of how long you stay full in comparison. I’d be very surprised if you don’t find that the muffins keep you feeling full for a considerably longer period of time. As a final note, these are also an excellent breakfast or snack if you’re ever on the run. This is my idea of a functional and health promoting fast food breakfast. (17,18,19)

Be well!


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5 Comments & Updates to “Coconut Flax Muffin Recipe”

  1. LCDC Says:

    Is there any substantive difference between sprouted flax meal and the (presumably) non-sprouted Bob’s Red Mill flax meal? I have Bob’s and have been happy with its performance, but if the sprouted flax meal offers significant benefits over the regular meal, it would be worth seeking out.

  2. JP Says:


    The sprouting process can increase nutrient content and yields an end product that is easier to digest. However it’s also more expensive. That’s the pro and con of it.

    I’ve used both sprouted and non-sprouted flax in this recipe with good success. My only tip would be to consume the non-sprouted flax at different times than when you take nutritional supplements. Flax contains certain anti-nutrients such as phytic acid which my negatively impact mineral absorption. Sprouting reduces said substances.

    Be well!


  3. JP Says:

    Update: Flax seeds lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in PAD patients …


    J Nutr. 2015 Feb 18. pii: jn.114.204594.

    Dietary Flaxseed Independently Lowers Circulating Cholesterol and Lowers It beyond the Effects of Cholesterol-Lowering Medications Alone in Patients with Peripheral Artery Disease.

    BACKGROUND: Dietary flaxseed lowers cholesterol in healthy subjects with mild biomarkers of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

    OBJECTIVE: The aim was to investigate the effects of dietary flaxseed on plasma cholesterol in a patient population with clinically significant CVD and in those administered cholesterol-lowering medications (CLMs), primarily statins.

    METHODS: This double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trial examined the effects of a diet supplemented for 12 mo with foods that contained either 30 g of milled flaxseed [milled flaxseed treatment (FX) group; n = 58] or 30 g of whole wheat [placebo (PL) group; n = 52] in a patient population with peripheral artery disease (PAD). Plasma lipids were measured at 0, 1, 6, and 12 mo.

    RESULTS: Dietary flaxseed in PAD patients resulted in a 15% reduction in circulating LDL cholesterol as early as 1 mo into the trial (P = 0.05). The concentration in the FX group (2.1 ± 0.10 mmol/L) tended to be less than in the PL group (2.5 ± 0.2 mmol/L) at 6 mo (P = 0.12), but not at 12 mo (P = 0.33). Total cholesterol also tended to be lower in the FX group than in the PL group at 1 mo (11%, P = 0.05) and 6 mo (11%, P = 0.07), but not at 12 mo (P = 0.24). In a subgroup of patients taking flaxseed and CLM (n = 36), LDL-cholesterol concentrations were lowered by 8.5% ± 3.0% compared with baseline after 12 mo. This differed from the PL + CLM subgroup (n = 26), which increased by 3.0% ± 4.4% (P = 0.030) to a final concentration of 2.2 ± 0.1 mmol/L.Conclusions: Milled flaxseed lowers total and LDL cholesterol in patients with PAD and has additional LDL-cholesterol-lowering capabilities when used in conjunction with CLMs.

    Be well!


  4. JP Says:

    pdate: Flax oil may protect the brain from stroke damage and possibly promote recovery …


    Nutrition Journal 2015, 14:20

    Oral consumption of α-linolenic acid increases serum BDNF levels in healthy adult humans

    Background aims Dietary omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids have remarkable impacts on the levels of DHA in the brain and retina. Low levels of DHA in plasma and blood hamper visual and neural development in children and cause dementia and cognitive decline in adults. The level of brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF) changes with dietary omega-3 fatty acid intake. BDNF is known for its effects on promoting neurogenesis and neuronal survival. Methods In this study, we examined the effect of the oral consumption of α-Linolenic acid (ALA) on blood levels of BDNF and Malondialdehyde (MDA) in healthy adult humans. 30 healthy volunteers, 15 men and 15 women, were selected randomly. Each individual served as his or her own control. Before consuming the Flaxseed oil capsules, 5cc blood from each individual was sampled in order to measure the plasma levels of BDNF and MDA as baseline controls. During the experiment, each individual was given 3 oral capsules of flaxseed oil, containing 500mg of alpha linolenic acid, daily for one week. Then, plasma levels of BDNF and MDA were tested. Results The plasma levels of BDNF and MDA significantly (P < 0.05) increased in individuals who received the oral capsules of ALA. Plasma levels of BDNF increased more in the women in comparison with the men. Conclusion ALA treatment could be a feasible approach to reduce size of infarcts in stroke patients. Thus, ALA could be used in adjunction with routine stroke therapies to minimize brain lesions caused by stroke.

    Be well!


  5. JP Says:

    Updated 03/18/16:


    Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2016 Mar 17:1-9.

    Flaxseed supplementation in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a pilot randomized, open labeled, controlled study.

    A two-arm randomized open labeled controlled clinical trial was conducted on 50 patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Participants were assigned to take either a lifestyle modification (LM), or LM +30 g/day brown milled flaxseed for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, body weight, liver enzymes, insulin resistance and hepatic fibrosis and steatosis decreased significantly in both groups (p< 0.05); however, this reduction was significantly greater in those who took flaxseed supplementation (p < 0.05). The significant mean differences were reached in hepatic markers between flaxseed and control group, respectively: ALT [-11.12 compared with -3.7 U/L; P< 0.001], AST [-8.29 compared with -4 U/L; p < 0.001], GGT [-15.7 compared with -2.62 U/L; p < 0.001], fibrosis score [-1.26 compared with -0.77 kPa; p = 0.013] and steatosis score [-47 compared with -15.45 dB/m; p = 0.022]. In conclusion, flaxseed supplementation plus lifestyle modification is more effective than lifestyle modification alone for NAFLD management. Be well! JP

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