Flaxseed One of Nature’s Miracles
Benefits of Flaxseed
Flaxseed, known as common flax (or linseed)is in the family of Linaceae, which comes from a family of flowering plants. It’s native to the eastern Mediterranean to India. It is an erect annual plant typically 3-11 ft. tall with slender stems. The plant itself and the un-spun fibers of the plant are both referred to as flax.
Flax seed benefits are numerous as it’s really a modern miracle food due to its high content of Alpha linolenic acid which is a type of plant derived omega 3 fatty acid. Omega3 typically comes from fish, such as salmon. Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown through medical trials to improve cardiovascular outcomes but lowering lipids (triglycerides in blood). Flaxseed is high in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and phytochemicals.
USDA Nutirent Database From Wickipedia
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 2,234 kJ (534 kcal)
Carbohydrates 28.88 g Sugars 1.55 g
Protein 18.29 g
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 1.644 mg (126%)
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.161 mg (11%)
Niacin (Vit. B3) 3.08 mg (21%)
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.985 mg (20%)
Vitamin B6 0.473 mg (36%)
Folate (Vit. B9) 0 μg (0%)
Vitamin C 0.6 mg (1%)
Calcium 255 mg (26%)
Iron 5.73 mg (46%)
Phosphorus 642 mg (92%)
Potassium 813 mg (17%)
Zinc 4.34 mg (43%)
Purchasing Seed or Oil
According to Mayo Clinic ground flax seed is healthier than whole seeds as you may not digest the seeds as well; however, whole flaxseed has a longer shelf life. It comes in prepackaged containers and it can be found in bulk bins, particularly in health food stores, like Whole Foods. If you buy whole seed from a bulk bin, make sure the bin is covered and it is best if the store is busy with a quick product turnover so you can get a fresh product. Once you have the flaxseed, store it in atight container in a dark, cool place where it will stay fresh for several months. Ground seed is available refrigerated and non-refrigerated. It is best if you purchase the ground seed in a vacuum sealed bag. You can also buy whole seed and grind it at home, but keep it sealed in a tight container.
Flax seed oil contains only thealpha-linolenic acid component of flaxseed and not the fiber or lignan components. Therefore, the oil may not lower the lipids (fat) in the blood and does not have many of the benefits of the seeds, plus it treats some specific diseases.
Flaxseed oil has some other benefits. It comes in capsule form. There are some benefits to taking flax seed oil which include the dry eye syndrome the Sjogren syndrome patients experience. It may be helpful for high blood pressure and heart disease, but the flaxseed is the better choice. There is some evidence that flaxseed oil helps with menopausal symptoms reducing hot flashes by about 60%. There is some evidence that the oil will help treat ulcerative colitis, Chron’s disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases as it reduces inflammation.
Flaxseed - Brown
Easy ways to add flaxseed to you diet is to sprinkle it on your cereal (either hot or cold) and salads. Substitute flax seed mixture for eggs in home baking in muffins, cookies or pancakes (1 tbsp. milled flax seed, plus 3 tbsp water for 1 egg). Include in other recipes when you want a nutty flavor. You can also add flaxseed to a breakfast shake or a smoothie. Put a little on cooked vegetables for a nutty flavor. About 2 tbsp. is considered a good safe amount to eat daily.
Some people do have flatulence or bloating when they first start using flaxseed, so if this is a problem try starting with just a teaspoon and work your way up to a higher dose. When you increase your fiber intake in any way it is a good idea to increase you liquid intake, particularly water. Women who are pregnant should consult with their doctors about taking flaxseed if they are taking high amounts.
Flaxseed is Nature's Miracle
Flaxseed possesses laxative properties as well, but a large amount of water is necessary to avoid a bowel obstruction. Besides heart disease and hypertension, flaxseed has also been shown in one study to help with ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder). It is also helpful with diabetic patients, and some studies show relief from menstrual breast pain. It is useful in treating obesity, but it should not be used by patients with prostate cancer. However, it has been shown to help prevent some other cancers, such as stomach cancer.
The flaxseed and flaxseed oil are quite amazing at the positive effect on a great number of diseases. There is a lot of research being done today since so many recent studies have been positive. It is always preferable to treat a disease naturally than with artificial medication in my opinion. I use flaxseed and I’ve had no problems with it. I think it helps with some medical problems I have, but my findings are hardly a scientific study. I hope you will try it if you haven’t as it’s easy to use, and it’s tough to argue with all these physical benefits.
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© 2010 Pamela Oglesby
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