Flaxseed: The Perfect Food

by Dr. David Williams
Filed Under: General Health, Diet
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Flax is one of the oldest cultivated crops. Flaxseed has several properties known to be beneficial in the treatment of high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, and atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries). In one study, participants with chronic high cholesterol were given three slices of bread containing flaxseed, along with 15 grams of ground flaxseed a day. In just three months, their cholesterol levels were lower and their tendency to form blood clots had reduced dramatically .

Consuming certain fish oils, particularly EPA, can help lower the risk of developing high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and clogged arteries. Flaxseed and flax oil can provide the same benefits as eating fish—at a nominal cost. Your body can convert the fatty acid LNA (alpha linolenic acid) found in flax oil into EPA, the beneficial fish oil.

Now, I'm not advocating that you quit eating fish. But it’s nice to have an effective and inexpensive alternative to fish.

Flaxseed is inexpensive, and probably the best way to enjoy all the benefits of flax. It provides fiber, as well as important minerals like magnesium and trace elements. Like most grains, flaxseed should be stored well in air-tight, light-proof plastic containers.

Grind the seeds in a coffee grinder just before using them. If seeds aren't crushed, they will pass through your system intact and you won't get their benefits. You should consume flaxseed as soon as it's ground, as precious oils can oxidize and go rancid.

When using flaxseed, make certain you drink plenty of water because the fiber in flax soaks up water like a sponge. This is great for promoting soft stools and relieving constipation, but without adequate liquids, it can have the opposite effect—constipation.

If you find that grinding seeds every day is inconvenient, take flaxseed oil. It is one of the omega-3 oils and is considered to be a super-unsaturated fat. If not used readily, it has a tendency to break down and become rancid. Store it in the refrigerator, or in the freezer if you don't intend to use it in four to six weeks. Frozen, the oil will last a year or more.

Take a tablespoon of cold-pressed flaxseed oil daily. Drizzling it on salads, bread, or vegetables is one of the quickest and easiest methods of raising linolenic acid levels.

Over the years, I've tried dozens of flax oils. Flora manufactures some of the highest quality, tastiest oil on the market. I can't recommend their product highly enough. It is pesticide- and herbicide-free. During processing, they use very low temperatures, the oil has only limited exposure to air and light, and it is packaged in light-resistant bottles. Unlike many flax oil products on the market, it retains its fresh nutty taste. Flora stamps each bottle with the processing date. Dispose of unused oil within three months.

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