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Dr Russ Blog - You Might Need Seeds - Flaxseeds
You Might Need Seeds - Flaxseeds
Created on 3/25/2011

Use of flaxseed has been growing in popularity in recent years in large part because research suggests it may offer unique health benefits, but also because it honestly tastes good.

When flaxseeds are ground and added to food they provide a subtle but enjoyable nutty flavor to foods.

But they also add other things - fiber and lignans.

Fiber helps promote normal bowel eliminations and lowers cholesterol levels, among other actions, and lignans possess mild estrogen-like activity that may help protect against hormone-related issues such as breast or prostate cancer. More research is needed in this area but the existing data are promising.

In addition, ground flaxseed is a source of omega-3 fatty acids that help decrease inflammation in the body; however, the best source of omega-3s remains cold water fish, as the conversion from flax into omega-3s is very inefficient.

Remember to grind your flaxseeds before using them - eating unground flaxseeds won't give you the benefits noted above.

Buy a small coffee grinder and dedicate it to grinding flaxseeds, always wiping out the inside after each grind (ground flax can turn rancid easily). Grind a few tablespoons (maybe 7-10) of flax once a week and drizzle a tablespoonful a day onto your cereal, salad, or into your smoothie.

You can also use flax meal, pre-ground flaxseed, but regardless of whether you grind it yourself or use the pre-ground varieties be sure to keep flaxseeds in an opaque container in the refrigerator - exposure to light and heat can turn flax rancid more quickly.

Flaxseed oil is available but the ground seeds appear to be preferable at this time due to health issues that have been raised and not fully addressed specifically related to the oil. Use of the ground seeds appears to be safe and potentially health promoting.

By the way - one sign your ground flax has turned rancid is when it starts to smell like oil paint (!).

Be well.
Dr. Russ
** Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. **


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