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Flaxseed Has Natural Benefits
For all of recorded history, flax plants have been used for food and fiber for clothing. Flax seeds have several properties that make them a desirable food source. Ranging from amber to reddish brown, the flax see is larger than a sesame seed with a hard, smooth, shiny shell. If ground the seeds have a soft crunch with a nut-flavored oil that is easily absorbed. Flax seeds high nutritional content includes omega-3 fatty acids, which reduces the risk of hypertension, stroke, some cancers, immunity and inflammatory disorders, and some skin conditions. The unsaturated oil is good for the heart, but it also offers a fiber called lignin that is similar to the hormone estrogen. Once digested by bacteria in the digestive tract, this fiber is converted into estrogen-like substances that may reduce free radicals and prevent tumors. Flax can also be found in soybean oil, walnuts, and canola oil.
Although it is too early to say flaxseed prevents or cures cancer, studies have shown that eating three tablespoons of ground flaxseed a day slowed cancer progress in men with prostate cancer. A similar study in women revealed a slower tumor growth in breast cancer in those who ate a flaxseed muffin daily.
Women especially benefit from the estrogen like properties of flaxseeds. Post-menopausal women can eat flaxseed to improve estrogen function without endangering bone maintenance. In six percent of those women not on hormone replacement therapy, the flaxseeds reduced cholesterol levels, as well. Women trying to become pregnant can use flaxseed to enhance natural ovulation and to extend the progesterone phase of the cycle. This will improve the chance of conception by making ovulation more consistent. If a woman experiences pre-menopausal symptoms (headaches, sleeplessness, breast cysts, fluid retention, anxiety, lowered sex drive, heavy bleeding) the flaxseed can help return the normal balance of hormones.
Heart healthy, flaxseed offers everyone an essential fatty acid that is crucial to cell membranes and regulating blood pressure. Reducing blood clotting, this omega-3 fatty acid reduces the chance of a fatal heart attack and lowers LDL cholesterol, the so-called "bad" cholesterol.
Flaxseed has other benefits, also. Because flaxseed is rich in fiber, it reduces the colon''s exposure to cancer causing chemicals and can relieve constipation and diarrhea associated with irritable bowel syndrome. Stabilizing blood sugar, flaxseed is good for diabetes. The magnesium content can open airways reducing the severity of asthma. Relaxing blood vessels, flaxseed can prevent migraines and promote normal sleep patterns.
With a pleasant taste, flaxseeds can be sprinkled on salads or cooked in vegetables and cereals. The oil is also tasty; however, it is quite expensive. See the following for several ways to use of flaxseeds.
- Make sure to grind seeds. This will preserve flavor and nutrition while allowing them to be better absorbed rather than passing right through the digestive system.
- Baking flaxseed flour with wheat flour will produce a low-carb bread.
- Buy ready-made breads, muffins, breakfast bars and cereals in the grocery store.
- Bottled in dark tinted bottles to preserve shelf life, the oil is still prone to spoil quickly. Pay close attention to the expiration date.
- The oil is not good for frying.
- Women who are pregnant or nursing should not eat a great deal of flax.
- Flaxseed can create an allergic reaction in some people.
- Instead of using supplements, eat the foods that contain the actual flaxseed.
Common Herbs And Some Specific Uses
Pansies contain Vitamins A, B and C, niacin, chlorine, iron, magnesium and potassium, silicon, and trace minerals. Effective for treatment of the bladder and kidneys.
Aids digestion. Effective in relieving allergies by its ability to denaturize proteins.
Known to be rich in Vitamin B and potassium, and tumerous cells cannot multiply in potassium. An excellent diuretic and one of the most excellent herbs for gallbladder as it expels gallstones.
Used as a sedative. Gives a calming effect helping headaches, neuralgia, hysteria and high blood pressure caused by mental attitude.