Flax SeedsThe other day I had my husband try flax seeds in his regular bowl of morning wheat berries. I had soaked them overnight in the thermos with the wheat and boiling water, and in the morning, the result was a slimey, gooey bowl of wheat berries and flax seed. My husband was thoroughly disgusted, but ate it anyway. This led him to ask questions about possible other ways of eating flax seeds and so I conducted a study of flax, interested to know all the facts myself.
I’ve known for some time that flax is beneficial to our health, but had forgotten all the why’s, so I looked it up in a few of my health books and also on-line. One very good source I found is on the website http://fatsforhealth.com. There is a library of articles you can look up by topic here and I found them very useful.
Flax is an ancient plant that is grown for it’s fibers and for it’s seeds. The fibers are used for making linen cloth and the seeds are used for various purposes such as linseed oil, flaxseed oil, to be eaten as flax seeds or to be ground into meal.
What’s the Big Deal About Flax?
Flax has many health benefits.
- It contains essential fatty acids which help heart, arthritis, thrombotic disease, improving immune function, cancer prevention, male infertility, and brain function.
- Flax contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, so it is a good laxative
- It is the highest plant source of lignans.
- It contains many vitamins and minerals in natural form.
Lignans are antioxidants that destroy free radicals, reduce the aging process, and protect against environmental toxins. They may also help reduce risk of cancer, especially colon and breast cancers. Lignans are interesting because when they are digested, they become estrogen compounds. These hormonal effects may attribute to many of its health benefits.
Flax Seed Oil
Many people take flax seed oil because of the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids it contains. I have also heard that it is very good at fighting breast cancer. Flax seed oil should be cold-pressed or expeller-pressed (I believe these are the same thing) or it’s health benefits will have been destroyed. It should always be kept in black containers and refrigerated to preserve it’s valuable qualities.
Flax Every Day
Flax is easy to incorporate into everyday living, whether you use the oil, the seeds, or the meal. The oil should never be cooked, as this turns it into a toxin. The raw oil can be used on salads, vegetable dishes or in smoothies. The seeds can be soaked and added to morning breakfasts (chew them very well to break their shell and make all their nutrition available to your digestive processes.) Flax seed meal can be used to flavor salads and vegie dishes, and it can be used in baking, such as bread and muffins.
Enjoy your flax!
To stay healthier, remember to stick with things that are simple and natural. The less processed, the better!
Most of this information was taken from an article by Artur Klimaszewski, MD entitled Flax for Health.