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Flax Seed Nutrition / Flaxseed Nutrition
Flax Seed provides the essential omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), that has a beneficial role in brain and vision development in babies. University research suggests that Flax Seed can have a wide range of biological and metabolic effects in humans, and can be useful in the treatment and prevention of disease and maintenance of optimal health.
The Nutritional Value of Flax Seed
Two thirds of the fiber in flax seed is insoluble and this aids digestion by increasing bulk and reducing the time that waste remains in the body. These characteristics seem to have a role in protecting against cancer. A High Fiber diet enhances our ability to use other dietary nutrients and goes through our digestive tract almost completely undigested. Once it reaches the colon and/or the large intestine, fiber is then broken down. Insoluble fiber is helpful in maintaining regularity and protects against bowel cancer. American Institute for Cancer Research, Mayo Clinic Dietitian - Facts on Flax
Low Fiber Diets can lead to:
- Weight Control problems
- Heart Disease
- Chronic Constipation
Lignans: The phytoestrogens (phyto=plant) called LIGNANs, bind to estrogen receptors in the body and may have a role in preventing hormonally related cancers of breast, endometrium and prostrate. They are molecules with anti-cancer, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties. Flax Seeds are the richest source of lignans, containing “75-800 times that of 66 other plants.” American Institute for Cancer Research, Mayo Clinic Dietitian - Facts on Flax
Diets high in lignans and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) enter the digestive tract and convert bacteria into phytoestrogens that may block the growth of hormone related cancers especially breast and colon tumors.
An Overview of the properties of Flax Lignans
Secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG) is a plant lignan University of Saskatchewan, has shown that SDG reduces total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol, and has a tendency to raise HDL-cholesterol in animal models. Additionally, SDG has shown the ability to lower blood pressure, and has demonstrated that it is effective in preventing diabetes mellitus and endotoxic shock.
The research into lignans and their benevolent properties continues to grow, increasingly opening the door to a treasure trove of medical marvels found in the flaxseed lignan
Women's Health Benefits:
Lignans are phytoestrogens and are effective in treating several health issues for women. If there is little estrogen in the body (for example, following menopause), lignans may act like weak estrogen; but when natural estrogen is abundant in the body, lignans may instead reduce estrogen effects by displacing it from the cells. This hormone displacement can help prevent breast cancer.
A clinical study has shown that SDG phytoestrogen in particular, exhibits agonist/reactive properties to the estrogen receptor.28. This propriety is of specific value to post-menopausal women, which typically exhibit low estrogen levels.
Women consuming lignan-rich flaxseed oil products generally report a reduction in breast tenderness, bloating, hot flashes, sweating, vaginal dryness, and other symptoms related to PMS and menopause.29. This is due to the lignan estrogenic activity. For years, people have been trying to regulate menstrual cycles. Lignans in flaxseed have been shown to regulate the menstrual cycle. In one study, women consuming lignans in flaxseed did not miss a single cycle, compared to the control group that missed several cycles.38.
In another study women supplemented their diet with a dose of 10g/day of flaxseed. It resulted in elevated progresterone/estradiol ratios in the luteal phase: this was due to a decreased estradiol concentration. The concentration of lignans measured in the urine showed the level of lignans absorbed. Thus flax lignans clearly has a significant impact on controlling the menstrual cycle.31.
References: Courtesy of Premium Gold Packaging, Inc.
28. Brzezinski, A., and Cebi A., Eur. J. Obst. Gyn. Reprod. Biol., 1999, 85:47-51.
29. Knight D. C. and Eden J. A., Obstret. Gynecol, 1987 (5pt.2), 897-904
38. Lampe JW et al. "Urinary lignan and isoflavonoid excretion in premenopausal women consuming flaxseed powder." Am. Jour. Clin. Nutr., 1994: 60:122-8
31. Phipps, W. & Martini, M., Jour. Clin. Endocrinol Metab., 1993, 77:1215-1219. Lampe, J., Am. Jour. Clin. Nutr., 1994, 60:122-128
Men's Health Benefits:
The biological properties of lignans have several beneficial effects for men.Their potent anti-estrogenic effect has drawn the interest of bodybuilders who are looking to increase their testosterone to estrogen ratio. The lignans provide an economical, natural way to alter the ratio without adverse effects either physically or legally.
Lignans may also offer a benefit to those men who are athletic, do heavy lifting or strenuous work by preventing damage to muscles. It was demonstrated that rats that were pretreated with a lignan-enriched extract were protected against physical exercise induced muscle damage.36.
Prostate Cancer is a disease that primarily occurs in men over sixty years old. By the age of eighty, 80% of all men have prostrate cancer to some extent. Fortunately, in most cases it is a slow growing cancer. The rate of prostrate cancer is rising in the USA in part because of a high -fat diet and exposure to chemicals. Flaxseed ingestion produces large amounts of mammalian lignans with weak estrogenic /anti-estrogenic properties. In tests these properties reduced adult relative prostrate weight and cell proliferation, suggesting potential protection against prostatic disease, without affecting hormone levels.19.
Researchers from the University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff, United Kingdom, determined the concentration of lignans in prostrate fluid from Portuguese, Chinese and British men. The mean concentration or entrerolactone and other plant estrogens were very high among Portuguese and Asian men, respectively. The research team concluded that the levels of lignans and related plant estrogens may be responsible, in part for lower incidences of prostrate cancer in men from Mediterranean countries.20.
A very recent study involved twenty- five patients with prostrate cancer, which were given a lignan-rich flaxseed supplementation. The results show a favorable affect on prostrate cancer biology and associated biomarkers.21.
References: Courtesy of Premium Gold Packaging, Inc.
36. Ko, K. M., Duncan, H., Phytotherapy Research, vol. 10, Issue 5, 1996, pp.450-452.
19. Tou, J et all., Jour. Toxicol Environ, Health 1999, 56(8):55.
20. Morton, M. S., et al. "Lignans and Isoflavonoids in Plasma and Prostratic fluid in men: samples from Portugal, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom" Prostrate, 1997: 32(2):122-8.
21. Denmark-Wahnefried, W., et al., Urology, Jul., 2001, 58(1):47-52.
All of which just might translate into increased health benefits in the areas of heart disease, menopause symptoms, arthritis and breast, colon and prostate cancers.
Protein: Every 100 grams of Flax Seeds = 25-30 grams of protein. Cold milled processed Flax Seed yields a High Protein content plus retains 48%-53% Flax Oil (Omega 3 oil), and offers a longer shelf life (20 months), than conventional ground flaxseed (6 months); which is why it is used to enhance the nutrient value of food industry products.
Vitamins and Minerals:The vitamins and minerals found in flax seeds are zinc, iron, vitamin E, carotene, B-group vitamins, magnesium, calcium, sulfur, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, silicon, copper, nickel, molybdenum, chromium, and cobalt.
Fat, OMEGA 3 Oil: Flax Seed is one of the best sources for alpha linolenic acid that is both an essential fatty acid and an Omega 3 fatty acid. Researchers are interested in Omega 3 fatty acids for their role in reducing risk factors of heart disease and stroke (regulation of cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, blood clotting, immune and inflammatory disorders.)
How to use Flax Seed: Fresh Flax Seeds recommends for great results use freshly ground flax seeds, and stir into a beverage of choice, add to smoothies, yogurt, cereal, pasta, vegetables, apple sauce, cottage cheese, basically any food or drink.
See Recipes for Substitution Tips for baking with flax seed.
Start with 1 Tablespoon (T) ground flax seed and work up to 3T (¼ cup) of ground seed per day. Take the time to let your body adjust to the fiber content to determine the best time frame for you. Freshly ground Flax seeds allow your body to absorb the nutrients easily for maximum health benefits.
- Shelf life of Whole Flax Seed is several years at room temperature in cool, dry storage
- Shelf life for cold milled processed Ground Flax Seed is 20 months
- Shelf life for conventionally Ground Flax Seed is 6 months, refrigerated and unopened
The cold milled processed Flax Seed yields a high protein content and retains 48% - 53% Flax Oil (Omega 3 & 6 oils(10%)); while retaining a longer shelf life (20 months) than conventionally ground flaxseed. This ground Flaxseed Meal/Flour product enriches the omega 3 value of food products and of animal feed formulations.
|Heart – Healing Omega 3 & Omega 6(Essential Fatty Acids)
Colon Cleansing Fiber Source (1 cup)
Just a 1/4 cup of Flax Seed contains as many lignans as.....
.....90 pounds of cabbage
.....82 pounds of bananas
.....75 pounds of strawberries
.....25 pounds of broccoli
.....12 pounds of wheat
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