|Posted by Fritz on October 12, 2010 at 6:42 PM|
Flaxseed, sometimes called linseed or in Spanish linaza, is one of the healthiest and least expensive foods available at Organico. It has recently been labeled a Superfood and is the richest plant-basedsource of the king of the inflammatories, Omega 3s.
At Organico, flaxseed is available as an ingredient to ourfruit smoothies and is a key ingredient in Fritz’s original Raw Dip recipe.(link) We also sell it by weight, groundand whole.
Although flaxseed contains all sorts of healthy components,it owes its healthy reputation primarily to three ingredients:
Omega-3 essential fatty acids, "good" fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. (Flax is the richest source of Omega 3’s in the plant kingdom).Lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. Flaxseed contains 75- 800 times more lignans than other plant foods Fiber. Flaxseed contains both the soluble and insoluble typesAlthough Lilian Thompson, PhD, an internationally knownflaxseed researcher from the University of Toronto, says research indicatesthat flax’s possible health benefits include reducing the risks of certaincancers as well as cardiovascular disease and lung disease. Here are moredetails:
Recent studies have suggested that flaxseed may have aprotective effect against cancer, particularly breast cancer, prostate cancer,and colon cancer. At least two of the componentsin flaxseed seem to contribute, says Kelley C. Fitzpatrick, M.Sc., director ofhealth and nutrition with the Flax Council of Canada.
The lignans in flaxseed may provide some protection againstcancers that are sensitive to hormones. Lignansmay help protect against cancer by:
Blocking enzymes that are involved in hormone metabolism. Interfering with the growth and spread of tumor cells. Some of the other components in flaxseed also haveantioxidant properties, which may contribute to protection against cancer and heart disease.
Research suggests that plant omega-3s help thecardiovascular system via several different mechanisms, includinganti-inflammatory action and normalizing the heartbeat, Fitzpatrick says.
Several studies have suggested that diets rich in flaxseedomega-3s help prevent hardening of the arteries and keep plaque from beingdeposited in the arteries, partly by keeping white blood cells from sticking tothe blood vessels’ inner linings.
"Lignans in flaxseed have been shown to reduceatherosclerotic plaque buildup by up to 75%," Fitzpatrick says.
Eating flaxseed daily may help your cholesterollevels, too. Small particles of LDL or "bad" cholesterol inthe bloodstream have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease,obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome
Two components in flaxseed, ALA and lignans, may reduce theinflammation that accompanies certain illnesses (such as Parkinson's disease and asthma)by helping to block the release of certain pro-inflammatory agents, Fitzpatricksays.
The plant omega-3 ALA has been shown to decreaseinflammatory reactions in humans. And studies in animals have found thatlignans can decrease levels of several pro-inflammatory agents.
Reducing inflammatory reactions associated with plaquebuildup in the arteries may be another way flaxseed helps prevent heart attackand strokes.
One preliminary study on menopausal women, published in2007, reported that 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed (taken twice each day) cutthe women's hot flashes in half. And,the intensity of their hot flashes dropped by 57%. The women noticed a differenceafter talking the daily flaxseed for just one week, and achieved the maximumbenefit within two weeks.
And how much flaxseed do you need? The optimum dose toobtain health benefits is not yet known. But 1-2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeda day is currently the suggested dose, according to the Flax Council of Canada.
Here are more tips for using, buying, and storing flaxseed:
Buy it ground or grind it yourself. Flaxseed, wheneaten whole, is more likely to pass through the intestinal tract undigested,which means your body doesn't get all the healthful components. If you want togrind flaxseed yourself, those little electric coffee grinders seem to workbest.
Add flaxseed to a food you habitually eat. Every timeyou have a certain food, like oatmeal, smoothies, soup, or yogurt, stir in acouple tablespoons of ground flaxseed. Soon it will be a habit and you won’thave to think about it, you’ll just do it.
Hide flaxseed in dark, moist dishes. The dishes thathide flaxseed the best usually have a darkly colored sauces or meat mixtures.No one tends to notice flaxseed when it's stirred into enchilada casserole,chicken Parmesan, chili, beef stew, meatloaf ormeatballs. For a 4-serving casserole, you can usually get away with adding 2-4tablespoons of ground flaxseed. For a dish serving 6-8, use 4-8 tablespoons.
Use it in baking. Substitute ground flaxseed for partof the flour in recipes for quick breads, muffins, rolls, bread, bagels,pancakes, and waffles. Try replacing 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the flour with groundflaxseed if the recipe calls for 2 or more cups of flour.
Keep it in the freezer. The best place to storeground flaxseed is the freezer. Freeze pre-ground flaxseed in the bag youbought it in, or in a plastic sealable bag if you ground it yourself. Thefreezer will keep the ground flax from oxidizing and losing its nutritionalpotency.
Whole flaxseed keeps longer. The outside shell inwhole flaxseed appears to keep the fatty acids inside well protected. It’s agood idea to keep your whole flaxseed in a dark, cool place until you grind it.But as long as it is dry and of good quality, whole flaxseed can be stored atroom temperature for up to a year
Preliminary research suggests that eating a diet rich inflax could slash your risk of ever feeling “down in the dumps”. Follow upstudies show that just 2-3 tablespoons of flax daily can help up to 2/3rds ofseverely depressed women bounce back within eight weeks. Flax, says Udo Erasmus,PhD, has a mood boosting ingredient: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) that isessential for the proper function of brain cells, yet up to 85% of women aren’tgetting enough of it.
Early research conducted by Dr. Martha Clare Morris ofChicago’s Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Centernotes that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids is believed to be important forbrain development. She stated that some participants in the study saw adecreased risk of Alzheimer’s from eating a diethigh in Omege-3 fatty acids.