Monday, November 29, 2010

Discovery: Flax

I've known about flax for a while now but I've basically only known two things:

it contains great fiber
it contains healthy fats

It was only after I recently met someone (our goat milk lady) that I wondered about its potential. She has briefly explained to me that she had cancer and that she overcame it through natural means. One of those means was through a diet which included kefir and flax on a daily basis.

Soon after, I chanced upon a book titled Fantastic Flax by Siegfried Hursch which provided so much valuable information (including some fabulous looking flax recipes).

Flax is an ancient seed that is considered a "nutraceutical" - a food with many nutrients and pharmaceutical properties and has been a part of the human diet for over five thousand years (that right there says something to me).

It's considered a nutritional powerhouse - a super healing food containing vitamin A, B1, B2, C, D, E and many minerals, trace minerals, carotene, lecithin phospholipids.

There are three different important qualities to flax which benefits our bodies in different ways as well. There's flax mucilage, flax fiber and flax lignans.

Flax mucilage helps with:

stomach ulcers
repairs damage done by antibiotics
helps intestinal flora to re-establish itself (good for candida patients)

Flax Fiber:

cleans out the intestines
reduces cholesterol levels
regulates blood glucose levels
helps prevent colon cancer

Flax Lignans (plant estrogens) help with:

prevention of breast, prostate, uterus and colon cancers
maintains healthy and strong bones
prevents formation of gallstones
protects body from estrogen-driven cancers by expelling excess estrogen from the body and interferes with tumor cell growth
lignans are anti: bacterial, viral and fungal
helps boost the immune system

Flax oil ts made up of almost entirely very good poly-unsaturated essential fatty acids and the oil is just as nutritious as what has been mentioned above. Flax oil can be used for cold dishes such as salad dressings, potato salad, grated carrot salad, coleslaw, raw sauerkraut or can be poured over a baked potato.

The recommended portion for flax oil is one tablespoon per day.

Some tips to purchasing flax oil are:

look for the statement that says, "cold expeller-pressed"
look for a pressing date and don't purchase the oil after six months of the pressing date
buy small containers of flax oil and consume within three weeks

It's hard shell will keep it fresh for many years. But once the seed is broken and the oil is exposed to oxygen it will spoil fairly quickly. (That's why it's best not to purchase already ground flax.) Extra ground flax seed can be kept in the fridge.

The flax contains a high quality protein - but it isn't a complete protein. The amino acids that make up the protein in flax combine incredibly well with those contained in milk (yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, or cottage cheese) thus creating a complete protein!

There are two main flax seeds: Golden flax and Brown flax.

The Golden flax has a higher protein content but does not yield as much oil. It is best used for cereals and breads. The Brown flax is best for producing flax oil.

Now, I don't believe that flax is THE cure-all for every ailment out there but I love knowing about this seed. I have begun incorporating its oil and ground seed into our every day diet and I feel so good about having this inexpensive yet valuable seed, in bulk, in my home.

Recipes to come!

No comments:

Post a Comment