(NaturalNews) Flax seed is considered as one of the prime "seeds of health" among a lot of people nowadays. A lot of people have discovered that flax seeds are really beneficial when taken regularly. Some even call it one of the most powerful foods that come from plants ever seen. There have been studies that showed proof that it could help to reduce a person's risk to develop cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. For a small seed, this is already remarkable.
What is flax seed?
It has been reported that the cultivation of flax seed could be traced up to 3000 B.C. in Babylon. The seed is reddish brown in color and has a warm and earthy taste. The seed is a bit larger than a sesame seed and it comes in a hard and shiny shell. Flax seed is considered one of the major sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. It contains a lot of alpha-linoleic acid (or ALA), which is essential for the promotion of good heart health. It has been a subject to more than 1,000 studies in order to find out about the other health conditions that it could help prevent or treat.
The Omega-3 fats are actually essential for the body to produce hormone-like substances that have anti-inflammatory abilities, particularly the Series 1 and 3 prostaglandins. These are helpful in reducing the inflammation that occurs in osteoarthritis, migraine headaches, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma. Omega-3 has also been found to help in reducing the formation of blood clots in the body, which then reduces the risk of suffering from stroke and heart attacks especially those with diabetic heart disease or atherosclerosis.
Flax seed also has high amounts of lignans, which is a substance that has antioxidant abilities, as well as plant estrogen qualities. Flax seed has about 800 times more lignans than other food that are plant-based. It also contains a lot of fiber, from both the insoluble and soluble types, which is helpful for the lowering of cholesterol.
The importance of grinding your own flax seed
Back in the eighth century, even King Charlemagne believed in the health benefits that flax seed could bring that he made laws that require everyone under his rule to regularly consume it. Nowadays, flax seed could be found in a lot of food, from oatmeal to crackers. It is even estimated that about 300 new flax-based products were released in Canada and the United States in 2010.
Studies show; however, that flax seeds retain more nutrition when they are freshly-ground. Flax seed may lose its nutritive value when there are too many processes involved and when it is not consumed right away. Flax seed should not be heated so that it will not go rancid. Experts also say that ground flax seed is better digested than the whole ones. You could grind flax seed using a coffee grinder or a spice mill. If using a coffee grinder, the seeds should be ground until they turn into a fine powder. It should then be stored in a cool, dry place. Vacuum packs are best. Others also store them in the freezer for longer shelf life. It could then be used as an additive to oatmeal or yogurt, as an egg substitute for various baked goodies, and even added to mayonnaise or mustard in sandwiches.