1.12.2010

Mighty and Tiny Flax Seeds


Today I would like to talk about one of my favorite seeds...flax seeds!!! I fell in love these a couple of years ago and I eat some every day. I usually sprinkle them on my food, some. For breakfast I use ground up flax seeds w/blackberry added to my oatmeal, which also includes fresh diced apple, raisins, agave nectar and cinnamon. For lunch and dinner, I just sprinkle them on top of my dish. One thing to watch out for: When you shop at the store for grounded flax seeds, make sure they are in the refrigerated section. This is very important because once the seeds are ground up, they start to loose their freshness if not refrigerated. If this is the case at your local market, it would help to let them know. I personally know of 2 markets whom have been told about this but still keep their ground up flax seeds not refrigerated. Some are harder to convince then others!

Now I will share some facts about flax seeds below. I got these from several websites, enjoy!!

Flax seed is one-third oil, the remainder consisting of fiber, protein and mucilage. In our salad dressing section, we have looked at the magical oil that comes from flax. Flax oil, when extracted with care, is one of the greatest sources of essential fatty acids. The protein in flax seeds is easily digested and contains all the amino acids needed for building a strong body. The fiber in flax acts as a broom sweeping the colon of toxic material, metabolic waste and dried mucus. Flax fiber is an excellent food for friendly bacteria in the intestine which keeps disease-causing organisms in check. Flax seed contains lignans that have anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-cancer properties. Flax seeds have the richest source of lignans, 100 times more than the next best source, wheat bran. The majority of lignans is found in the seed, giving it an advantage over flax oil. Flax seed also contains lecithin which emulsifies fat and cholesterol. These little seeds improve digestion, help stabilize blood glucose levels, fight tumor formation and enhance cardiovascular health. Never purchase premade, ground flax. Grind your own flax seeds fresh in a coffee grinder and eat immediately. Info taken from: http://www.freedomyou.com/recipes/flax%20seed.htm

The flax seed carries one of the biggest nutrient payloads on the planet. And while it’s not technically a grain, it has a similar vitamin and mineral profile to grains, while the amount of fiber, antioxidants, and Omega-3 fatty acids in flax leaves grains in the dust. Additionally, flax seed is very low in carbohydrates, making it ideal for people who limit their intake of starches and sugars. And its combination of healthy fat and high fiber content make it a great food for weight loss and maintenance -- many dieters have found that flax seed has been a key to keeping them feeling satisfied.

Note that a) flax seeds need to be ground to make the nutrients available (otherwise they just “pass through”) and b) flax seed oil alone contains neither the fiber nor the phytochemicals of whole flax seed meal.

Flax seed is high in most of the B vitamins, magnesium, and manganese, but this little seed is just getting started. There are three additional nutrient groups which flax seed has in abundance, and each has many benefits.

Flax seed is Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are a key force against inflammation in our bodies. Mounting evidence shows that inflammation plays a part in many chronic diseases including heart disease, arthritis, asthma, diabetes, and even some cancers. This inflammation is enhanced by having too little Omega-3 intake (such as in fish, flax, and walnuts), especially in relation to Omega-6 fatty acid intake (in such oils as soy and corn oil). In the quest to equalize the ratio of these two kinds of oils, flax seed can be a real help.

Most of the oil in flax seeds is alpha linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is an Omega-3 which is a precursor to the fatty acids found in salmon and other fatty cold-water fish (called EPA and DHA). Because not everyone is able to easily convert ALA into EPA and (especially) DHA, it is best not to rely solely on flax for your Omega-3 intake, but ALA also has good effects of its own, and definitely helps in the Omega 3/6 balance.

Flax Seed is High in Fiber: You’d be hard-pressed to find a food higher in fiber -- both soluble and insoluble -- than flax. This fiber is probably mainly responsible for the cholesterol-lowering effects of flax. Fiber in the diet also helps stabilize blood sugar, and, of course, promotes proper functioning of the intestines.

Phytochemicals: Flax seed is high in phytochemicals, including many antioxidants. It is perhaps our best source of lignans, which convert in our intestines to substances which tend to balance female hormones. There is evidence that lignans may promote fertility, reduce peri-menopausal symptoms, and possibly help prevent breast cancer. In addition, lignans may help prevent Type 2 diabetes. Info taken from: http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/whattoeat/a/flaxinfo.htm

I hope this information was useful. Now go get some flax seeds!! You won't regret it!!

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