What Is Flax Seed Oil
Flax seed is 1/3 oil, and the rest of it is made up of fiber, protein, and mucilage. Flax seed oil is a rich source of essential fatty acids – it contains alpha linolenic acid, omega 3 essential fatty acid, and omega 6 essential fatty acid, and flax seed oil contains these 3 EFA’s in just the right proportions. Flax seeds are also a great source of lignans, vitamins, and minerals.
North Americans are usually lacking omega 3 EFA in their diet, and flax seed oil is an excellent supplement for this. The cells of the body need the omega 3 fatty acids from which they build their cell membranes, which protect them. The brain is largely composed of fats called phospholipids, which are made from essential fatty acids. Thus these oils are essential for the function and structure of the brain and improve cognition, memory, moods and concentration.
Research has shown that majority of diets are deficient in Omega 3 essential fatty acids, and this can lead to some serious health problems:
• Coronary heart disease – Omega 3 helps reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, plaque formation, and cardian arrhythmia.
• Arthritis – Studies have found that oils rich in Omega 3 (like flax seed oil) patients can reduce their drug use.
• Cancer – Omega 3 has been found to kill certain cancer cells without harming normal cells.
• Skin problems like acne, eczema, and psoriasis are shown partly to be related to Omega 3 deficiency.
• Omega 3 EFA helps improve your response to stress.
Ecological reasons to opt for flaxseed oil over fish oil
“There are only so many fish in the sea, and we’ve overfished everywhere,” says Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., author of the 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth About What You Should Eat and Why (Fair Winds Press, 2007). “But we can grow a lot of flax, it’s good for the soil and we’re not creating an ecological disaster.”
Just 4 tablespoons of flaxseed meal provide 6 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber. Flaxseeds are also a rich source of lignans, an important antioxidant.
Tips for flaxseed
• Whole flaxseeds can’t be digested because of the thick outer shell, so grind them in a coffee grinder or buy them already ground.
• Store whole flaxseed for up to one year in a dry location and ground flaxseed in a refrigerator for up to 3 months.
• Eat ground flaxseed by sprinkling on salads, cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, trail mix and sothies. They can also be used for baking and coating chicken or fish.
Tips for flaxseed oil
• Keep flaxseed oil in a nontransparent bottle. Chemical parts may break down when exposed to light, heat or oxygen.
• To extend the shelf life of flaxseed oil, add 1,000 international units (IU) of vitamin E to a pint of flax oil, or put a sprig of rosemary or a few drops of rosemary oil in the bottle. This will extend the oil’s shelf life from 2 to 4 weeks to 2 to 3 months.
• Some high-quality flaxseed oils are specially designed to have high lignan content. Look for those to reap antioxidant and other health benefits.
• Never cook with the oil. Take it by the tablespoon as a supplement, or use it on salads or already-cooked vegetables. Omega-3 fats do not stand up to heat.
• For better absorption, take flaxseed oil with foods that have oil in them, and spread your dose throughout the day. Bauman recommends 2 tablespoons twice daily — take more if you’re highly active or have a lot of inflammation.
Side Effects and Cautions
• Flaxseed and flaxseed oil supplements seem to be well tolerated. Few side effects have been reported.
• Flaxseed, like any supplemental fiber source, should be taken with plenty of water; otherwise, it could worsen constipation or, in rare cases, even cause intestinal blockage. Both flaxseed and flaxseed oil can cause diarrhea.
• The fiber in flaxseed may lower the body’s ability to absorb medications that are taken by mouth. Flaxseed should not be taken at the same time as any conventional oral medications or other dietary supplements.
How to take it
Dr. Budwig’s research found that in order for these fatty acids to be fully available to the body, they must be tied to a sulfur based protein; the best source of which is cottage cheese. Depending on the severity of the condition she had her patients use 3 to 6 Tbsps. of Flaxseed oil a day, with at least 4 oz or 1/2 cup of cottage cheese per day.
Read more about dr Budwig’s Flaxseed and Cottage Cheese anti-cancer Diet.