Dear Home Ec 101,
If I put flaxseed oil and yogurt in my hot oatmeal, will their beneficial qualities be destroyed by the heat?
If you allow the oatmeal to cool to a temperature comfortable for eating before adding your flax oil and yogurt you should be just fine. Now, there may be an exception, if you were one of my regular customers who required their coffee hot enough to melt their dental work, learn what 115F – 120F feels like.
Flax oil has a very short shelf life. It must be refrigerated and used within six weeks of pressing. Flax seeds offer the additional benefit of fiber, but must be used immediately after grinding, so there is definitely a convenience factor to consider. Several readers have recommended keeping a cheap coffee grinder on hand just for grinding flax seeds. Never use flax oil for cooking as high temperatures not only destroy the beneficial properties of the fatty acids, but turns them into harmful fats.
Now let’s learn a little about yogurt. L. acidophilus is not in all brands of yogurt in the United States. It is added after Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus. There is a program developed by the National Yogurt Association that tests yogurt at the end of its stated shelf life for a minimum presence of bacterial cultures. (L. Acidophilus competes for the sugars and may be overwhelmed by the S. thermophilus and L. bulgaricus) If the brand passes the test it may carry the seal for Live and Active Cultures.
If you make your own yogurt it is important to remember that you must add your own cultures of L. acidophilus to ensure its presence in significant quantities. This probiotic may be purchased in capsules or powders; please store it carefully according the manufacturer’s directions to reap full benefits.
There is still plenty of debate on the proof of the health benefits of probiotics. As always, I am not a medical professional, seek the advice of your doctor or nutritionist before attempting to treat any conditions.
Enjoy your breakfast.
Submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.