Health Benefits of Flax Seeds

7 HEALTH-PROMOTING PROPERTIES OF FLAX

Flax oil, flax seeds, and the omega-3 fatty acids they contain are good for your health. Here are some of the ways flax helps your body.

1. Flax promotes cardiovascular health. The ultra-high levels of omega-3 fatty acids lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Fish oils and algae are also good sources of essential fatty acids.

2. Flax promotes colon health. It has anti-cancer properties and, as a natural lubricant and a rich fiber source, it lowers the risk of constipation.

3. Flax supplements can boost immunity. One study showed that school children supplemented with less than a teaspoon of flax oil a day had fewer and less severe respiratory infections than children not supplemented with flax oil.

4. Flax provides fats that are precursors for brain building. This is especially important at the stage of life when a child's brain grows the fastest, in utero and during infancy. A prudent mom should consider supplementing her diet with a daily tablespoon of flax oil during her pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

5. Flax promotes healthy skin. I have used flax oil as a dietary supplement in my patients who seem to have dry skin or eczema, or whose skin is particularly sun-sensitive.

6. Flax may lessen the severity of diabetes by stabilizing blood-sugar levels.

7. Flax fat can be slimming. Fats high in essential fatty acids, such as flax, increase the body's metabolic rate, helping to burn the excess, unhealthy fats in the body. Eating the right kind of fat gives you a better fighting chance of your body storing the right amount of fats. This is called thermogenesis , a process in which specialized fat cells throughout the body (called brown fat) click into high gear and burn more fat when activated by essential fatty acids, especially gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). I have personally noticed that I crave less fat overall when I get enough of the healthy fats. A daily supplement of omega 3 fatty acids may be an important part of weight control programs.

Flax can be added to your cooking in its milled or whole seed form. When you add flax to your cooking, you add a pleasant, nutty taste.
• Whole flax seeds - The small, reddish-brown seeds of flax add nutrition when added to bread doughs, pancake, muffin or cookie mixes. When sprinkled on top of any of these before baking, they also add crunch, taste and eye appeal.
• Milled flax - Grind a desired amount of flax seeds to a free-flowing granular consistency in a coffee bean grinder. Added to any foods, the milled flax enhances the flavour, appearance and food value of the finished product.

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