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Benefits of Flax seed (http://www.healthcastle.com/flax.

shtml)

(HealthCastle.com) Its high content of alpha linolenic acids has made the ancient flax
seed become our modern miracle food. Alpha linolenic acid (ALA) is a type of plant-
derived omega 3 fatty acid, similar to those found in fish such as salmon. Benefits of
flax seed as shown in many studies include lowering total cholesterol and LDL
cholesterol (the Bad cholesterol) levels. Other benefits show that flax seed may also help
lower blood triglyceride and blood pressure. It may also keep platelets from becoming
sticky therefore reducing the risk of a heart attack.

Other Benefits of Flax seed

Aside from alpha linolenic acid, flax seed is rich in lignan.


Lignan is a type phytoestrogen (antioxidant) and also
provides fiber. Researches reveal that lignan in flax seed
shows a lot of promise in fighting disease -- including a
possible role in cancer prevention especially breast
cancer. It is thought that lignan metabolites can bind to
estrogen receptors, hence inhibiting the onset of estrogen-
stimulated breast cancer.

Recent studies also showed positive benefits of flax seed oil in IBD (Crohn's Disease
and Colitis). Flax seed oil seems to be able to heal the inner lining of the inflamed
intestines.

Moderately include flax seed in your diet. Indeed, a lot of food products contain flax seed
such as bread, cereal and bakery goods. Bakers may use flax seed flour or include flax
seed in baking.

Note: Flax seed oil is not the same as flax seeds. Flax seed oil is a concentrated source of
ALA, which has been questioned for its potential association of increasing prostate
cancer risk.

Include in other recipe when nutty flavor is preferred

• Sprinkle ground flax seed on your cereal and salads.


• Substitute flax seed mixture for eggs in home baking such as muffin and pancake
(1 tbsp milled flax seed, plus 3 tbsp water = 1 egg). Final products will have less
volume and taste gummier.
• Ways to include flax seed in home cooking
( http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/whattoeat/a/flaxinfo.htm)

It may be tiny, but it’s mighty: 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.

Flax Seed Nutrition

Yes, 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.

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 Safety and Side Effects

Concerns about flax seed revolve around four potential issues.


However, remember that a lot of research about the wonders of flax
show little or no problems from eating it –- to the contrary, it has
shown many benefits.
Big Fiber Load: Since flax has such a high fiber content, it's best to
start with a small amount and increase slowly, otherwise cramping and
a "laxative effect" can result. People with irritable bowel syndrome
may have an especially strong reaction to it, and should be extra-
careful. More about fiber, including tips to prevent problems.

Oxidation/Rancidity: The oil in flax is highly unsaturated. This means


that it is very prone to oxidation (rancidity) unless it is stored correctly.
The very best way is nature’s own storage system – within the seed.
Flax seeds not exposed to large amounts of heat stay safe to eat for at
least a year. However, flax meal, and especially flax oil, are a different
story. The meal, stored away from heat and light, will keep fresh for a
few months, and the oil must be protected by refrigeration in dark
containers, preferably being consumed within a few weeks of opening.

Actually, the surprising thing about flax is not that the oils go rancid,
but that they don’t go rancid as quickly as we would think, considering
how unsaturated they are. The oils are quite stable when the seeds are
used in baked foods, for example. Researchers theorize that this is due
to the high levels of antioxidants in the seeds.

Hormonal Effects: Lignans contain phytoestrogens. Although


research has shown them to be beneficial so far, it is unknown what
effect high doses of phytoestrogens might have.

Cyanide: Like many other foods (cashews, some beans, and others),
flax contains very small amounts of cyanide compounds, especially
when consumed raw. Heat, especially on dry flax seeds, breaks these
compounds down. However, our bodies have a capacity to neutralize a
certain amount of these compounds, and the US government agencies
say that 2 tablespoons of flaxseed (~3 T of flax meal) is certainly safe
and is probably an “effective dose” for health purposes. Various
researchers who have used up to 6 daily tablespoons of the seed in
different studies indicate that the amount they were using was safe.

Everything you wanted to know about FLAX.....


(http://www.cse.iitb.ac.in/~suranga/flax.html)
Here is some more useful information : Flaxseeds are known as ALSI in Hindi, Gujarati,
and Punjabi, Ali Vidai in Tamil. In Marathi, it is also known as jawas, alashi, and linseed.
n Bengali, it is known as Tishi, in Oriya its Pesi. In Kannada, its called Agasi, and telugu
people call it Avise ginzalu. Finally, in Kerala, the Malyalis call it Cheruchana vithu

We, in India have an amazing capacity to ignore our plant Kingdom riches and consign
them to the archives, till someone from the developed countries publishes exciting news
about the medical and other uses of such things.

Take FLAX.

There was so much one read about flax seeds, all the time. How useful they were, how
best to take them, how NOT to take them, the quantities, the various recipes, and so on
and so forth...

I found out what flax was in Marathi (my mother tongue) and then had an enlightening
discussion with the lady who sometimes comes to help me with my daily housework. She
saw the flax seeds that I had brought and told me that right from her childhood in the
plains of Maharashtra, it was always routine for houses to have earthen pots in which this
flax seeds chutney was stored, for eating along with jowar bhakri . It was like people in
the west store their fruit preserves and stuff.

Turns out that flax seed has been used for a very long time here in India.

Why am I going on about Flax seeds ?

Read what Dr Udo Erasmus has to say about this..

Thyroid Hormone Receptors

According to Dr. Erasmus, essential fatty acids are critical to thyroid function
because, first, they are required for the integrity of the structure for every
membrane of every cell. Second, they increase energy levels in the cell. And
third, there is some evidence that essential fatty acids, especially Omega 3s,
improve the efficiency of the hormones on the receptor sites.

To understand the importance of the receptor issue, think about the situation of
diabetes. Pre-diabetes, the condition that is considered a marker for future
diabetes, is also known as insulin resistance. Insulin is in the body, but it isn't
being utilized because saturated fats block insulin receptor function, and
ultimately receptors become desensitized -- and ultimately immune to and
unable to receive -- insulin. Essential fatty acids are required for receptor
function and can make diabetics more insulin sensitive. So diabetics taking
essential fatty acids may need less receptors, and ultimately, less insulin.

Dr. Erasmus believes that this same mechanism takes place with other
hormonal functions, such as the androgens, pineal glands, adrenal glands -- and
specifically, the thyroid.

There are practitioners who believe that thyroid hormone resistance is not a rare
occurrence, and is actually a more common sign of impending thyroid disease,
much like insulin resistance is a precursor to diabetes. This issue of receptors is
critical, because according to Dr. Erasmus, "With proper essential fatty acid
nutrition, what will sometime happen is that you get fewer receptors but they
work better." This would mean that proper levels of essential fatty acids might
make the thyroid hormone receptors work better, so that thyroid hormone
actually accomplishes its mission.

When thyroid function goes down, the metabolic rate goes down, and the body
burns fewer carbohydrates. Dr. Erasmus believes that people with
hypothyroidism should switch from grains and starches to green vegetables as
their primary source of carbohydrates. Green vegetables, plus good fats and
proteins, should form the core of the diet.

Sufficient essential fatty acids help increase energy and suppress appetite,
thereby aiding in weight loss. In addition, they have been found to block the
genes that produce fat in the body (saturated and Trans Fat do not have this
same effect) and increase thermogenesis -- the burning of fat.

Dr. Erasmus actually feels that Omega 3s work better than the heralded
conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). He feels that CLA may have some negative
side effects, particularly at higher doses.

My Experience....
Flax seeds are one of the best sources of Omega-3 fats. In our typical Indian
vegetarian diet, one of the typical fats we miss out on, in Omega-3 fats. Those
who are fish eaters, are slightly better off, as Fish are one of the best sources of
these Omega -3 fats.

Essential fatty acids are a must for glandular health, and they often improve
overall health. These can be Omega-3's or Omega-6's from marine sources, flax
oil, flax seeds, black currant seed oil, evening primrose oil or borage oil.

Why do we need these Omega -3 ? Well, ever heard of Cholesterol ? Indians


are notoriously prone to high levels of cholesterol and particilarly a thing called
lp(a). Its a genetic thing. The Omega-3 fats are the fats the body needs, They
help to regulate your cholesterol. Increase the HDL and lower the LDL.
Omega-3 fats also wage war on your triglyceride levels.

Anyone, and particularly a woman with thyroid problems, is subject to things


like weight gain, lipid abnormalities etc. It goes without saying that if she can
keep her lipid profile under control through dietary stuff, she would really be
taking care of some cardiac risk factors as a thyroid patient. There are some
lipid lowering medicines that are actually contra-indicated if you are on thyroid
medication.

I have myself tried using flax seeds for 1-2 months, with an encouraging
lowering of my diastolic blood pressure; it was not alarming to start with, but
when you are 50 plus, and little signs show up here and there, you need to be
on the watch.