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Flaxseed One of Nature’s Miracles

After 22 years as an RN, I now write about medical issues and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, treatment, and lifestyle are important.

Photo Courtesy of Wickmedia - brown flaxseed

Photo Courtesy of Wickmedia - brown flaxseed

Benefits of Flaxseed

Flaxseed, known as common flax (or linseed)is in the family of Linaceae, which comes from a family of flowering plants. It’s native to the eastern Mediterranean to India. It is an erect annual plant typically 3-11 ft. tall with slender stems. The plant itself and the un-spun fibers of the plant are both referred to as flax.

Flax seed benefits are numerous as it’s really a modern miracle food due to its high content of Alpha linolenic acid which is a type of plant derived omega 3 fatty acid. Omega3 typically comes from fish, such as salmon. Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown through medical trials to improve cardiovascular outcomes but lowering lipids (triglycerides in blood). Flaxseed is high in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and phytochemicals.

USDA Nutirent Database From Wickipedia

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)

  1. Energy 2,234 kJ (534 kcal)
  2. Carbohydrates 28.88 g Sugars 1.55 g
  3. Dietary fiber 27.3 g Fat 42.16 g
  4. Protein 18.29 g
  5. Thiamine (Vit. B1) 1.644 mg (126%)
  6. Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.161 mg (11%)
  7. Niacin (Vit. B3) 3.08 mg (21%)
  8. Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.985 mg (20%)
  9. Vitamin B6 0.473 mg (36%)
  10. Folate (Vit. B9) 0 μg (0%)
  11. Vitamin C 0.6 mg (1%)
  12. Calcium 255 mg (26%)
  13. Iron 5.73 mg (46%)
  14. Phosphorus 642 mg (92%)
  15. Potassium 813 mg (17%)
  16. Zinc 4.34 mg (43%)

Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database

Purchasing Seed or Oil

According to Mayo Clinic ground flax seed is healthier than whole seeds as you may not digest the seeds as well; however, whole flaxseed has a longer shelf life. It comes in prepackaged containers and it can be found in bulk bins, particularly in health food stores, like Whole Foods. If you buy whole seed from a bulk bin, make sure the bin is covered and it is best if the store is busy with a quick product turnover so you can get a fresh product.

Once you have the flaxseed, store it in a tight container in a dark, cool place where it will stay fresh for several months. Ground seed is available refrigerated and non-refrigerated. It is best to purchase the ground seed in a vacuum sealed bag. You can also buy whole seeds and grind it at home, but keep it sealed in a tight container.

Flax seed oil contains only the thealpha-linolenic acid component of flaxseed and not the fiber or lignan components. Therefore, the oil may not lower the lipids (fat) in the blood and does not have many of the benefits of the seeds, plus it treats some specific diseases.

Flaxseed oil has some other benefits. It comes in capsule form. There are some benefits to taking flaxseed oil which include the dry eye syndrome the Sjogren syndrome patients experience. It may be helpful for high blood pressure and heart disease, but the flaxseed is the better choice.

There is some evidence that flaxseed oil helps with menopausal symptoms reducing hot flashes by about 60%. There is some evidence that the oil will help treat ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases as it reduces inflammation.

Flax Seed

linseed flaxseed - golden

linseed flaxseed - golden

Using Flaxseed

Easy ways to add flaxseed to your diet is to sprinkle it on your cereal (either hot or cold) and salads. Substitute flax seed mixture for eggs in home baking in muffins, cookies or pancakes (1 tbsp. milled flax seed, plus 3 tbsp water for 1 egg). Include in other recipes when you want a nutty flavor. You can also add flaxseed to a breakfast shake or a smoothie. Put a little on cooked vegetables for a nutty flavor. About 2 tbsp. is considered a good safe amount to eat daily.

Some people do have flatulence or bloating when they first start using flaxseed, so if this is a problem try starting with just a teaspoon and work your way up to a higher dose. When you increase your fiber intake in any way it is a good idea to increase your liquid intake, particularly water. Women who are pregnant should consult with their doctors about taking flaxseed if they are taking high amounts.

Flaxseed is Nature's Miracle

Flaxseed possesses laxative properties as well, but a large amount of water is necessary to avoid a bowel obstruction. Besides heart disease and hypertension, flaxseed has also been shown in one study to help with ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder).

It is also helpful with diabetic patients, and some studies show relief from menstrual breast pain. It is useful in treating obesity, but it should not be used by patients with prostate cancer. However, it has been shown to help prevent some other cancers, such as stomach cancer.

Summary

Flaxseed and flaxseed oil are quite amazing due to all the positive effects on a great number of diseases. There is a lot of research being done today since so many recent studies have shown positive results.

It is always preferable to treat a disease naturally than with artificial medication. I use flaxseed, and I’ve had no problems with it. I think it helps with some medical problems I have, but my findings are hardly a scientific study. I hope you will try it if you haven’t as it’s easy to use, and it’s tough to argue with all these physical benefits.

Flaxseed Poll

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Comments

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 10, 2011:

Sunshine, I grind my own flaxseed also. They are very healthy and I appreciate your comments.

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on December 09, 2011:

In my home I'm known as the Flaxseed Fairy. I purchase the seeds, grind them once a week and store the ground seeds in the freezer to retain strength and freshness and use as needed straight from the freezer. I sprinkle on 3 meals a day. Even pizza. I've been doing this for about 5 years now. I'm an addict. I began using it because I have a family history of colon cancer and so far 2 colonoscopies and I'm good to go. The fiber in the seeds is very beneficial something the oil doesn't offer. Thanks for the hub Pam...Flaxseed deserves the shout-out!:)

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 28, 2010:

hbayoulady, Thanks for the suggestion. I will try that also. I appreciate your comments.

bayoulady from Northern Louisiana,USA on June 27, 2010:

Great breakdown of nutritional information.I LOVE using flaxseed. My newest favorite way to include it in cooking is in meatloaf or ground beef patties.I use very lean (93/7) ground beef, and the added flaxseed (4 T a lb)gives a moister product.

Works well in cornbread,too.(3 T per cup)

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 08, 2010:

Support Med, Thank you for your comments.

Support Med. from Michigan on June 08, 2010:

Between you and katiem2, I have learned a lot about flaxseed. Really enjoyed reading about its help for dry eyes (a must try for me). Voted-up/rated!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 07, 2010:

Nancy, I am glad you know about flaxseed now as it is so healthy for you. Thank you for your comments.

nancy_30 from Georgia on June 06, 2010:

Great hub. I learned a lot from it. I had heard of flaxseed before, but I didn't really know what it was. Thanks for the information.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 04, 2010:

Tony, Thank you so much for your comment.

Miata, Thank you very much for your comment.

prettydarkhorse from US on June 04, 2010:

wow, excellent source of omega 3, Nice hub, Maita

Tony McGregor from South Africa on June 04, 2010:

Useful information here. I liked it. Thanks for sharing.

Love and peace

Tony

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 03, 2010:

Hello, Thanks for your comment.

Habee, I use flaxseed regularly also as it is so healthy. Thanks for your comments.

Sandy, Thanks for your comments.

Sandy Mertens from Wisconsin, USA on June 03, 2010:

I have some in my cupboard. Thanks for reminding me.

Holle Abee from Georgia on June 03, 2010:

I take flaxseed oil daily. I also use the ground seeds for pie crust with low-carb pies! Great hub!

Hello, hello, from London, UK on June 03, 2010:

Thank you for such an informative hub. Will try it.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 03, 2010:

Akirchner, Thanks for your comments. I would like to try some Greek yogurt.

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on June 03, 2010:

Totally agree and have been eating this along with my Greek yogurt every day - super hub!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 02, 2010:

Katiem, Yes, I like it too. Thanks for your comments.

Katie McMurray from Ohio on June 02, 2010:

You know I love flaxseed and take it everyday, great stuff this flaxseed. :)

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 02, 2010:

Money Glitch, Thank you for your comments. I actually started about 6 months ago when I read about it and I think it helps also.

Cari, Thank you for your comments. That is a good idea to use the seed in your smoothies. I am going to try that. Thanks.

Cari Jean from Bismarck, ND on June 02, 2010:

Pamela - great hub - lots of great info. I like to add ground flaxseed in my fruit smoothies. I do notice a difference when I have it on a regular basis.

Money Glitch from Texas on June 02, 2010:

Great hub, Pam! I just started using ground flaxseed a month ago for the Omega 3 benefits, and it is suppose to improve the overall health of your hair, according to Dr. Oz. I really like how it's beginning to make me feel and its good to know that it does so much more. Thanks for sharing, rating up! :)

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 02, 2010:

Amber, Thank you for your comments. I thought the guy in the video was an excellent example of a healthy male.

Hanna, I think we don't eat nearly enough fish in this country and flaxseed is at least a way to get the omega 3. Good nutrition is so important to child development.

HealthyHanna from Utah on June 02, 2010:

Omegas are hard to get enough of. I have seen studies that show our children are so deficient in Omega 3 that it doesn't even show up in their blood tests! It is linked to ADHD and learning disabilities. ...very important for parents to know.

Amber Allen on June 02, 2010:

Hi Pam

An excellent hub and the guy in the vidoe wasn't bad either! I've not tried flaxseed before but you've put forward an excellent case.

Amber:)

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 02, 2010:

Kay, Thank you for your comment. I think if you try it you'll find it doesn't tasted bad and its easy to blend a little into cereal or sprinkle it on salads.

Anginwu, Thank you so much for your comments.

anglnwu on June 02, 2010:

The health benefits of flaxseed are well-known and you've made a very strong case for trying it out. Thanks for sharing and rated it up for u.

Kay Creates from Ohio on June 02, 2010:

You've made a great case for flaxseed. I really should be using this as I don't eat the types of fish that have the concentration of Omega 3s.

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