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Flaxseed and health

The seeds and oil of the flax plant contain substances which promote good health. Flaxseed and flaxseed oil are rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an essential fatty acid that appears to be beneficial for heart disease. ALA belongs to a group of substances called omega-3 fatty acids.

Good health requires the right ratio of Omega 3 fatty acids to Omega 6 fatty acids in the diet. The ideal ratio is around 1:2. The average american diet is more around 1:20 to 1:50, with way too much Omega 6 and not enough Omega 3. The ratio present in Flaxseed oil is about 4:1. So flaxseed oil is a good source of Omega 3. You should consume every day small portions of flaxseed or flaxseed oil. However if flaxseed oil is used in the diet for long time, without other oils, it may cause Omega 6 LA deficiency symptoms. So the best bet is to blend flaxseed oil with other oils that contain more Omega 6, in order to get the right balance, such as sesame oil, sunflower oil, evening primrose oil.

Flaxseed oil is good for the heart because it is the richest source of alpha-linolenic acid. Flaxseed itself (ground or whole) also contains lignans, which may have antioxidant actions and may help protect against certain cancers, though not everyone agrees on this issue.

Benefits of including some flaxseed in your diet

Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil may help to:

- Lower cholesterol, protect against heart disease and control high blood pressure. Several studies indicate that flaxseed oil, as well as ground flaxseeds, can lower cholesterol, thereby significantly reducing the risk of heart disease. Flaxseed oil may also have a protective effect against angina (chest pain) and high blood pressure. In addition, a 5-year study done recently at Boston's Simmons College found that flaxseed oil may be useful in preventing a 2nd heart attack. It may also help prevent elevated blood pressure by inhibiting inflammatory reactions that cause poor circulation and artery-hardening plaque.

- Counter inflammation associated with lupus and gout. Omega-3 fatty acids appear to limit the inflammatory reaction associated with these conditions. In cases of lupus, flaxseed oil not only reduces inflammation in the joints, kidneys and skin, but also lowers cholesterol levels that may be elevated by the disease. Taking flaxseed oil for gout may lessen the often sudden and severe joint pain or swelling that is a symptom of this condition.

- Control constipation, hemorrhoids, diverticular disorders. Because they are high in soluble fiber, ground flaxseeds can help ease the passage of stools and thus relieve constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticular disease.

- Reduce cancer risk. The lignans in flaxseed appear to play a role in protecting against breast, colon, prostate, and perhaps skin cancer. In one study(1), prostate cancer patients who added about 3 heaping tablespoons of ground flaxseed daily to their diet, had more slowly-dividing tumor cells and a greater rate of tumor cell death than men who did not follow such a diet, after about 5 weeks.

The researchers found no significant difference in levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA), a protein in the blood which indicates prostate cancer progression, between the 2 groups - although men in the early stages of the disease experienced a trend toward lower levels.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among American men, excluding skin cancers. The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 198,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. While the cancer will be diagnosed in about 1 in 6 men, about 1 in 30 will die of the disease.

 

Flaxseed oil with cottage cheese?

Dr. Johanna Budwig is known and highly respected around the world, as Germany's premier biochemist. Over the years she has published a number of books including "Flax Oil as a True Aid Against Arthritis, Heart Infarction, Cancer, and other Diseases".

In the mid 1950's, Dr. Budwig began her extensive research on the benefits of flaxseed because of its rich essential fatty acid content known as "linoleic and linolenic". Dr. Budwig assisted many seriously ill, even those who were given up for terminal by orthodox medical doctors, helping them to regain their health through a simple regimen of flaxseed oil blended with cottage cheese.

Dr. Budwig supplemented her patients' diets with 2 tablespoons of flaxseed oil combined with 1/4 cup of cottage cheese. Dr. Budwig found that a yellowish green substance in their blood was replaced with a healthy red pigment, hemoglobin. She also found that the tumors receded and disappeared, anemia was alleviated, and vital energy was regained.

Here is Dr. Johanna Budwig's Blend:

Put in your blender:

  • 1 cup organic cottage cheese
  • 2-5 Tbsp. of flaxseed oil
  • 1-3 Tbsp. of freshly ground up flaxseed (electric coffee grinder ($15) works fine)
  • enough water to make it soft
  • a little Cayenne pepper (red hot chilly pepper)

 

Why cottage cheese? Flaxseed oil is made more effective when 2 tablespoons of the oil are added to 1/4 cup of cottage cheese. The essential fats bind to the proteins in the cottage cheese making them more easily absorbed by your body.

For more information on this dynamic duo, you may want to check out the book Fats That Heal - Fats That Kill by Udo Erasmus.

 

Ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil?

Liquid flaxseed oil is the easiest form to use, although it must be kept refrigerated. It is available either in liquid form, or in capsules.

If you prefer to use ground flaxseeds, just add 1 or 2 tablespoons of to an 8-ounce glass of water and mix. Flaxseeds have a pleasant, nutty flavor and taste good sprinkled on salads, cooked vegetables, or cereals.

I recommend you grind the seeds (or buy ground flaxseed) because whole seeds simply pass through the body. Grinding the seeds just before using them best preserves flavor and nutrition, but pre-ground seeds are more convenient. Keep them refrigerated. There are no nutritional differences between brown and yellow seeds.

For best absorption, take flaxseed oil with food. It is easily mixed into juices and other drinks, and its nutty, buttery flavor complements cottage cheese, yogurt and many other foods. You can also use it instead of olive oil in a salad dressing. Don't cook with it, however, as this will deplete the oil's nutrient content.

In my opinion the best price on the internet for high quality flaxseed oil is hereicon. I also like Puritan Pride's special "Buy 1 Get 2 FREE" promotions on flaxseed oil.

Buy flaxseed oil in an opaque plastic bottle. This will prevent light from spoiling it. Also check the expiration date on the label, as the oil spoils quickly. Keep it refrigerated for freshness. Should the oil develop a powerful odor, discard it.






 

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Work in progress. My neurofeedback app for Android will be available in the Google Play Store when completed.

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References

(1) Urology July 2001;58

 

 

Disclaimer: Throughout this website, statements are made pertaining to the properties and/or functions of food and/or nutritional products. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and these materials and products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

2002 Healing Daily