Health benefits of flaxseed
- 08-24-2006, 12:18 AM
Health benefits of flaxseed
Health benefits of flaxseed
The Blade, Toledo, Ohio
Aug. 22--Flaxseed is a trendy ingredient used to help prevent cardiovascular disease.
It's a topic that is close to the heart of graduate dietitian Bethany A. Dario. Last spring the Boston University alumna assisted in a food presentation for the Perrysburg Schools Wellness Committee as part of her nutrition therapy dietetic internship at the Cleveland Clinic.
She thinks the benefits of flax are evident, yet the public knows little about flaxseed, which is composed of 42 percent fat. The majority of the fat in flaxseed is polyunsaturated, which helps protect against sudden death from heart attack. Most of this is in the form of alpha-linolenic acid, which the human body cannot create and which is a precursor to omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3s can help protect against stroke and help people lower their triglycerides, too.
"I began by recommending purchasing ground or milled flax, because the hull of the whole seed is very difficult to digest," Ms. Dario says. Ground or milled flax may be bought, or whole seeds may be ground in a coffee grinder.
Ms. Dario recommends adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of flax to ready-to-eat products such as oatmeal, salad, yogurt, cereal and milk, pancakes, French toast, waffles, or trail mix. Ground or milled flax also may be used to coat fish or chicken, or mixed into a gravy or stuffing.
Ms. Dario told of how a chef incorporated ground flaxseed into a whole-wheat bread recipe. After the bread was baked, the chef sliced it and coated it with an egg white, milk, nutmeg, and cinnamon mixture. He then prepared French toast with an organic maple syrup. Thus a generally high-fat, high-cholesterol food was transformed into a heart-healthy, reduced-calorie dish.
"Flaxseed has its own flavor and nutty taste," she said in a phone interview.
Note that too much flax produces too much fiber. Though flax is considered a digestive aid, for some people it has a laxative effect, according to the Food Lover's Companion.
Despite the healthy nature of flaxseed, both ground or milled, few cookbook recipes use it. Those that do are often in the "healthy cooking" category.
- 08-24-2006, 01:47 PM
I eat a quarter cup a day. Just through it in a coffee grinder buz it a few seconds throw it on oatmeal or a salad.
Everyone at work is always like what the hell is that??
- 08-31-2006, 11:35 AM
08-31-2006, 03:00 PM
It's best to grind it, yes. The seeds are very tough and most will not break open in your digestive track.
It's best to grind a small amount that you are going to use right away to keep it fresh.
If you grind extra amounts..freeze it or it will go rancid quickly.
08-31-2006, 05:13 PM
Thanks Bioman. I have a couple pounds of flaxseeds that I have not used at all. The label said the same thing - grind them. The lazy person in me was hoping I could just eat the seeds by themselves or tossed in tuna salad or something whole. You think they last a week ground in frig? I would prefer to gind 7 days of servings at once vs every couple of days.Originally Posted by bioman
08-31-2006, 05:19 PM
If I remember right the hull of the seed has glucocyanide in it, or something along those lines. Basically a cyanide varient in it that could become toxic at extreme doses or with certain amino acid deficiencies. Maybe someone with more knowledge can speak to this issue, as far as I can remember the oil is either totally devoid of this stuff or has so little as to make no difference, it's specific to the hull of the seed.
09-01-2006, 09:17 PM
yup basically what bioman said. Its not that bad I grind mine every morning and take it to work then throw it on my salad at lunch.Originally Posted by sock
09-01-2006, 09:50 PM
If I remember correctly there is a board sponsor who sells HEALTHY but REALLY great tasting chocolate chip cookies which are made with a healthy dose of 100% milled Flax seed and whey protein powder.
I actully know they are for sale at Custom Nutrition Warehouse and NutraPlanet
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09-01-2006, 10:14 PM
If you want EFA's, rely first on fish oil. It's the only direct source of EPA and DHA. Flax requires a conversion that has poor efficiency for these.
09-01-2006, 10:20 PM
Some thoughts related to this topic...
Not sure how many of you have noticed a recent trend of "flax bashing" based around its low conversion rate to EPA/DHA. Lately I've heard lots of folks advocate the abandoning of flax in favor of fish oil. FYI, fish oil is not the holy grail of health perfection that many have been marketed to believe.
Although ALA from flax oil has poor conversion to EPA/DHA, flax still has multiple potential health benefits:
Health aspects of partially defatted flaxseed, including effects on serum lipids, oxidative measures, and ex vivo androgen and progestin activity: a controlled crossover trial -- Jenkins et al. 69 (3): 395 -- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
On the potential downside of fish oil for geezers, EPA has been observed to decrease natural killer cell (NK) activity in elderly subjects, which has negative immune implications. ALA from flax was not seen to have any decreasing effect on NK:
Dietary supplementation with eicosapentaenoic acid, but not with other long-chain n-3 or n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, decreases natural killer cell activity in healthy subjects aged >55 y -- Thies et al. 73 (3): 539 -- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Here's some negative immune potential from DHA suppressing T-lymphocyte activation:
Effects of oils rich in eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids on immune cell composition and function in healthy humans -- Kew et al. 79 (4): 674 -- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
More negative effects on immune response.. EPA suppresses prostaglandin-E2 in young subjects, and decreases neutrophil respiratory activity in older subjects:
This is not to blanketly counter-bash the fish oil proponents though. Having both flaxseed & fish oil in your diet is probably a good idea, in moderate amounts. Both have their unique benefits. If not exceeding target fat grams is an issue, these need not be taken on the same days. Rotational dosing through the week is fine; our bodies don't work on a 24-hr clock.
09-01-2006, 10:24 PM
09-01-2006, 11:07 PM
09-02-2006, 12:23 PM
I never understood why they were compared. Its like comparing apples to oranges IMO.Originally Posted by alan aragon
For answers to board issues, read the Suggestion and News forum at the bottom of the main page.
09-02-2006, 03:31 PM
i sure am glad youre here. keep up the good work alan! i personally love flax so its always nice to see someone like you or bobo speak of it weather it be good or bad. this thread seems to be on the pro-flax side which i am happy to seeOriginally Posted by alan aragon
09-02-2006, 03:58 PM
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