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The Amazing Flaxseed

By Larraine Roulston:

Flaxseed has an interesting history. It was first cultivated in Babylon in 3000BC. Believing that it had strong health benefits, King Charlemagne during theearly Middle Ages passed laws requiring his subjects to consume it. Recently,the demand for flaxseed has increased. The Flax Council estimates that in2010, approximately 300 new flax-based products were launched in Canadaand the U.S.

When I discovered the many health benefits, I incorporated flaxseeds into everyday uses such as salad and breakfast toppings, as well as an ingredient inmy smoothies. The value of the flaxseed is found inside its shell, and shouldnot be exposed to air, light, temperature fluctuations or a lengthy timeframebefore use. Many people grind the seeds daily in a coffee grinder to achievemaximum freshness. It is recommended that flaxseeds not be heated.

The following emphasizes the potential of flaxseeds and flaxseed oil whendigested or rubbed on your skin.

Studies have shown that their consumption is beneficial, with the potential toprevent strokes, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. There isevidence that it may lower cholesterol levels, protect against radiation andimprove memory loss. Research has discovered that 40 grams per day maybe similar to hormone therapy that could improve mild menopause symptomssuch as hot flashes. For those with lupus, flaxseeds have shown to improvethe function of the kidneys. With any health condition, consulting with a medical professional when taking supplements alongside prescription drugs is important.

In 2005, the journal Clinical Cancer Researchpublished studiesinvolving flaxseed and a placebo. Over a period of 32 days, breast cancerpatients who received muffins containing 25 grams of flaxseed observed areduction in tumor markers and an increase in programmed cell death. Theauthors concluded “Dietary flaxseed has the potential to reduce tumor growthin patients with breast cancer.”

Flaxseed produces a gel when soaked in water. To help with constipation,soak a tablespoon of flax in a glass of water overnight and drink it in themorning. As a cautionary note, too much flax taken dry could have a bindingeffect.

As flaxseed is high in omega-3 fatty acids, it is used to feed egg-laying hens.It is rich in Bvitamins and minerals, and is an antioxidant form of vitamin E.  All of these helpreduce inflammation when applied externally.

To relieve the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome, apply flaxseed oil to the handsand wrists. The flax has been shown to reduce inflammation, as illustrated in a2014 report published in the DARU Journal of Pharmaceutical Studies. Onehundred patients, ages 18-25, with mild to moderate symptoms of carpal tunnelsyndrome were divided into two groups. One group was treated withflaxseed oil while the other received a placebo. After 4 weeks of wearingsplints at night and applying oils, the flaxseed-using patients experienced significantimprovement over those in the placebo group.

Simple foods often outperform chemical drugs. To quote Thomas A. Edisonsprediction: “The doctor of the future will give no medication, butwill interesthis patients in the care of the human frame, diet and the cause andprevention of disease.”
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Larraine writes a childrens illustrated book series on composting and pollinating. To view, visit www.castlecompost.com.

About Larraine Roulston

A mother of 4 with 6 wonderful grandchildren, Larraine has been active in the environmental movement since the early l970s. When the first blue boxes for recycling were launched in her region, she began writing a local weekly newspaper column to promote the 3Rs. Since that time, she has been a freelance writer for several publications, including BioCycle magazine. As a composting advocate, Larraine authors children's adventure stories that combine composting facts with literature. Currently she is working on the 6th book of her Pee Wee at Castle Compost series, which can be viewed at www.castlecompost.com. As well, Larraine and her husband Pete have built a straw bale home and live in Ontario.

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