Flax Seed for Health

Flax seed was the health food of the Romans. Flax seed has a nut-like flavor and has several proven health benefits, which modern research attributes to three components of ground flax seed:  
 
1. fiber  
2. alpha-linolenic acid, the chief omega-3 fat found in plant foods, which accounts for about 20% of the mass of most flax seed.  
3. Lignans, a group of phenolic antioxidants with anti-inflammatory, and cholesterol-lowering benefits.  
 
Research in humans has shown that flaxseed can  
 
1. reduce blood levels of cholesterol (including the dangerous LDL-cholesterol) in people with elevated cholesterol levels  
2. reduce blood levels of triglycerides, another risk factor for heart disease  
3. reduce sugar absorption from food  
4. decrease the levels of chemicals involved in producing inflammation, like C-reactive protein (CRP).  
5. raise blood levels of the important anti-inflammatory and mood-elevating omega-3 fatty acid, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).  
6. slow the rate of tumor growth in women with breast cancer and men with prostate cancer  
 
The dose used in these studies is 1 to 2 tablespoons a day.  
 
Flax seed has also been found to buffer the effects of mental stress caused by performing a frustrating task. Flax seed reduced the increase in blood pressure and release of the stress hormone cortisol from the adrenal glands. This may be important for weight loss, because cortisol is a major cause of stress-induced weight gain.  
 
The health benefits of flax seed appear to be due both its high content of alpha-linolenic acid and the high concentration of lignans, found in flax seed fiber.  
 
For pre-menopausal woman, flax seed helps to maintain a healthy ratio of estrogen to progesterone during the menstrual cycle and shifts your body’s metabolism of estrogen in a direction that helps to protect against breast cancer.  
 
Because flax seeds are very small and hard, you’re unlikely to absorb any significant amount of lignans or alpha-linolenic acid from intact flax seed. We recommend grinding flax seed fresh, just before using it. All you need is organic flax seed (easy to find in health food stores and supermarkets these days) and a simple, inexpensive coffee grinder. Grinding takes about 5 seconds.  

Blueberry Flax Pancakes Recipe 
 
3/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour 
1/4 Cup Soy Flour 
1 Cup Blueberries, Fresh or Frozen 
2 Egg Whites 
3/4 Cup Nonfat Milk or Soy Milk 
1 Tablespoon Ground Flaxseed 
1 Tablespoon Walnut Oil 
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder 
Olive oil spray 
 
In a large bowl whisk together egg whites, milk and walnut oil. Mix in whole wheat flour, soy flour, ground flax seed, and baking powder. Gently fold blueberries into batter.  Heat a griddle or frying pan and coat lightly with olive oil spray. Using a tablespoon scoop batter onto griddle. Cook on medium heat for 3 minutes, then flip pancakes over and press down to flatten. Cook on other side for 4 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Batter should make 8 pancakes. One serving is 4 pancakes.  
 
Recipe by Jonathan Galland 

These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug administration. The product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. It should not be substituted for conventional therapy. 
 
This article is provided for general educational purposes only and is not intended to constitute (i) medical advice or counseling, (ii) the practice of medicine or the provision of health care diagnosis or treatment, (iii) the creation of a physician--patient relationship, or (iv) an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any third party product or service by the sender or the sender's affiliates, agents, employees, or service providers. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your doctor promptly.  


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