The Case for Flax Seed

By Nancy Andrews

Health Benefits of Flax Seeds

May 8th, 2013 | By Nancy Andrews | Category: Coach Nancy - The Way I See It..., Nutrition & Weight Loss, Supplements

flax seed The Case for Flax SeedSeems like there is a lot of buzz about Chia seeds these days.  Now chia seeds are a very healthful food but today I want to talk about the more neglected super seed: flax.

I’ve been a fan of flax seed for awhile and put a tablespoon in my morning smoothie.  I use whole seed as my Nutribullet is able to pulverize the seed so there are no chunks when I drink it.  Whole seed is nearly impossible for the body to assimilate and passes through us and ground flax seed can go rancid quickly (store in the fridge if you are going to use ground flax).  I also ‘sneak’ ground flax (I grind it myself) into baked goods like cookies.  I just replace 1/4 cup of flour (I use organic, sprouted whole spelt for flour to increase nutrients and fiber for more healthful baked goods) with 1/4 cup of ground flax.  I buy organic golden flax seeds (versus the darker, brown flax seeds because I think they have a lighter flavor).

The reason why I hold flax seed in such high esteem is that, like chia seed, it’s full of good omega 3 fats and has loads of fiber.  Even with my focus on eating properly with pasture raised meat, dairy and eggs, I’m concerned that I am still short of the ideal 3 to 1 ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids.  Too much omega 6 fats causes inflammation in the body and inflammation is the root cause for many ailments like arthritis and allergies.  Inflammation has also been linked to diabetes, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s.  Inflammation causes the body to store more fat.   That should be enough for anyone to take it seriously.

Conventionally raised meat, dairy and eggs have high levels of omega 6 fat.  And add to that many people cook with vegetable oils like canola, corn and sunflower which are also loaded with omega 6.  In fact, I’ve read that the typical American diet has upwards of a 20 to 1 omega 6 to omega 3 fat ratio.  No wonder we are all obese and sick.

Recently I’ve read several studies that link flax seed consumption with the following benefits:

  • Protects against radiation.   This was a study that used mice but now a human trial is underway.  This could be hugely beneficial for people dealing with radiation as a cancer treatment.  And don’t forget that all of us are exposed to radiation regularly whether it’s a TSA screening, an x-ray or just bits from your microwave oven.
  • Reduces cholesterol levels.  The study points out that men got a greater cholesterol lowering effect than women.  However even the women saw an 18% lowering of cholesterol.  And to make it even better, the lowering was all from LDL cholesterol which is considered the ‘bad’ cholesterol.  One note is that a daily serving size was 3 tablespoons which is more than what most people would take so if you are looking for a similar result, you’ll have to consume a similar amount.
  • May prevent osteoporosis.   The International Journal of Food Safety, Nutrition and Public Health, concludes that flaxseed oil has a beneficial effect on bone mineral density and reduces markers associated with osteoporosis.
  • Reduces blood pressure.  The study, out of Harokopio University and Laiko Hospital in Athens, Greece (and published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition) found that subjects on a diet fortified with flaxseed oil experienced reduced blood pressure by as much as 6 percent.

Finally, flax seeds may help our mental health.  Researchers are making links to an omega 3 deficient diet and mental health challenges such as bipolar disorder and ADHD.

As the richest known plant source of omega 3 fatty acids, flax seed is certainly a SUPER seed for sure.  And at prices as low as $3.50 a pound, it’s a cheap way to get this wonderful nutrition in your diet.  (P.S. Shakeology does include flax seed along with chia seed for healthy omega 3′s)

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