I made one of my regular batches of fruit and nut flapjack this week. Not only is it the perfect accompaniment to a mug of tea, it also has some distinct health benefits.
Justin and I were both born in the 1960s, which means we’re getting on a bit! It’s perhaps time to start considering our health and brain function into old age.
It seems like diet could be a very important factor. Oily fish is often cited as great ‘brain food’, but nuts are also a fantastic source of cerebral nourishment.
Here’s a selection of commonly found (and tasty!) nuts and some of their recognised health benefits.
- Almonds are very high in vitamin E (good for glowing skin). They’re also a good source of omega-6 and 9 (poly)unsaturated fatty acids
- Un-roasted walnuts contain twice as many antioxidants as other nuts or seeds
- Brazil nuts are perhaps the richest dietary source of selenium (a mineral important for cognitive function and a maintaining a healthy immune system). Eating just 2 give you 100% of the recommended daily allowance
- Cashew nuts contain a high concentration of essential minerals including magnesium (thought to counter age-related memory loss), phosphorus and zinc
- Macadamia nuts are an excellent source of manganese and thiamine (vitamin B1)
- Flaxseeds have one of the highest concentrations of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (Useful in maintaining healthy brain and visual functions). Especially important if you’re vegetarian or vegan as it is most commonly found in oily fish
- Whole sesame seeds are a very good source of iron (again, important for vegetarians and vegans)
This flapjack is quick and easy to make – and is so delicious, that the health benefits are an additional bonus… and we didn’t even get started on the goodness of dried fruit!
- 200g butter
- 125g honey
- 350g rolled oats
- 50g dried fruit (currants, raisins, sultanas, cranberries, blueberries, dates, figs, apricots or a mix of any/all of these)
- 50g seeds and/or nuts, roughly chopped (linseeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, peanuts, cashews, macadamias, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds or a mix of any/all of these)
- Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas Mark 2
- Put the butter into a large saucepan on a low heat. When the butter has melted, add the honey and stir to combine
- Turn off the heat, add the oats, dried fruit and nuts/seeds and mix well
- Put the mixture into a 23cm/9-inch shallow square cake tin and flatten down firmly with the back of a serving spoon
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is lightly browned
- Allow to cool in the tin before cutting into squares or finger-shaped portions
- You can store the flapjacks for up to 3 days in an airtight greaseproof paper-lined tin or plastic container