Seeds of Promise

Seeds of Promise

There is a beautiful blue flowered plant that is becoming more popular as a field crop for its seeds. The fibers of the plant have historically been used to make linen, which is a fine fabric used to make things like underclothes, bed sheets, and table clothes. Its name is Linum usitatissimum, more commonly known as flax. The oil from its seeds is called linseed oil or flaxseed oil. Boiled linseed oil works well for preserving wooden handles on hand tools and many other wood items.

Studies that have been conducted on animals and humans have shown the impact that flaxseeds can have on several aspects of health. A major aspect is cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death.

One of the common ways to check for risk of heart attack and stroke is blood lipid levels including total cholesterol, LDL and HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. Researchers have concluded, based on studies, that flaxseed has great potential as therapy for reducing blood lipid levels. In just one month, levels can be reduced by around 15%. Flaxseed is the richest source of secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG). SDG has antioxidant, antihypertensive, antidiabetic, hypolipidemic, anti-inflammatory and antiatherogenic effects. What that means is it is able to prevent diabetes, reduce inflammation and hypertension, and reverse atherosclerosis in the blood vessels.

Taking as little as 15 mg per 1 kg of body weight a day has been seen to suppress the development of high blood lipids by 73%. Other things that flaxseed has which are beneficial are fiber, omega-3 fats, and other lignans. It contains 800 times more lignans than other food plants. These components help with prostate and breast cancer, stabilizing blood sugar levels, and lowering bad cholesterol levels.

Flaxseed has protein, vitamin B and C, magnesium, calcium, potassium, manganese, copper, and zinc. Both brown and golden seed varieties are relatively nutritionally equivalent. Because it is high in fiber, ground flaxseed can be used to promote healthy bowel function and is therapeutic for constipation.

A small coffee grinder makes a great grinder for flaxseed. Ground flaxseed can go rancid if kept at room temperature. This is because omega-3 fatty acid is polyunsaturated. Oxygen can interact with the fats over time causing oxidative rancidity. Either grind your flax fresh when you use it in food or eat it, or store ground flaxseed in a sealed container in the freezer.

There are many benefits of flaxseed when added to your diet. Try adding ground flaxseed to pancakes or waffles the next time you make them. Adding it to a bowl of cereal in the morning is another great way to eat it.

Written by Daniel Baldwin


Rise Rafferty,


The George Mateljan Foundation,

Summary: Studies have shown the impact that flaxseeds can have on several aspects of health. A major aspect is cardiovascular disease.

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