Women’s Health: Flax Your Power
Flaxseed is one of those wonderful finds that can make a difference in so many ways. It can help women, and men too, with a wide range of health concerns.
Flaxseed comes from the flax plant, which also produces fibers used to make linen fabrics. The flax plant also gives us flaxseed oil, which has both industrial and food uses. When shopping for flaxseed, you might come across golden and brown varieties—both taste lightly nutty, but brown flaxseed has a slightly earthier flavor.
Benefits for Women
It is helpful in treating menopausal symptoms, menstrual cramps, female infertility and endometriosis. Because the hormone-balancing lignans and plant estrogens in flaxseed help stabilize a woman's estrogen-progesterone ratio, they can have beneficial effects on the menstrual cycle, and relieve the hot flashes of perimenopause and menopause. Flaxseed may also improve uterine function and therefore treat fertility problems. In addition, the essential fatty acids in flaxseed have been shown to block production of prostaglandins, hormone- like substances that, when released in excess amounts during menstruation, can cause the heavy bleeding associated with endometriosis.
A two-tablespoonful serving of flaxseed has around 100 calories—but it pulls its weight nutritionally. A serving of flaxseed has nearly 3 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber, plus plenty of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and brain-boosting vitamin B1.
The important thing to know about eating flaxseed is you need to grind it before you eat it. Nothing bad will happen if you eat the whole seeds, but our bodies can’t naturally break them down to digest all the nutritional goodness. To get the health benefits, you’ll either have to chop or grind whole flaxseed. A small spice or coffee grinder will do the trick. Only grind what you need, as flaxseed tends to spoil quickly once it’s ground. You can buy bags of pre-ground flaxseed meal at the store if you need the convenience factor, but it’s best to use up your supply quickly, as it can start to go rancid a few weeks after opening the package.
You can also opt to get your flax fill through bottled flaxseed oil, which is loaded with nutritious omega-3 fatty acids. An added bonus of flaxseed oil: It makes an excellent seasoning choice for your beloved cast-iron pans.
How to Enjoy It
Unlike sunflower seeds or pepitas, flaxseed doesn’t make for the best eating straight outta the bag, since we can’t properly digest it whole. But it’s very easy to add ground flaxseed to muffin, pancake, or waffle batter, as well as to bread dough. Blend ground flaxseed into smoothies and juices, or use it to top hot or cold cereal.
Flaxseed oil has a low smoke point (225°F), so you don’t want to use it as a cooking oil. Instead, use it as a finish for roasted veggies, toss it into salad dressings, or sprinkle a couple of tablespoonfuls with fresh popcorn.
Whether you’re buying whole flaxseed, oil, or ground meal, make sure to look for bottles and bags that have opaque packaging, as light can damage sensitive nutrients in the flaxseed and cause its oils to go rancid. Check the “Best If Used By” date to make sure you’re buying the freshest possible product.
Several studies indicate that flaxseed oil, as well as ground flaxseed, can lower cholesterol, thereby significantly reducing the risk of heart disease. Its use may also protect against angina and high blood pressure. It may help prevent elevated blood pressure by inhibiting inflammatory reactions that cause artery-hardening plaque and poor circulation.
There is strong evidence to suggest that consuming flaxseed every day improves glycemic control in obese men and women with pre-diabetes, according to a study published in Nutrition Research.
As they are high in dietary fiber, ground flaxseeds can help ease the passage of stools and thus relieve constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticulitis. In those with diverticulitis, flaxseeds may also keep intestinal pouches free of waste and thus keep potential infection at bay. Taken for inflammatory bowel disease, it can help to calm inflammation and repair any intestinal tract damage. In addition, the oil may prevent painful gallstones from developing and even dissolve existing stones.
Flaxseed has also been shown to help:
· Countering inflammation associated with gout, lupus and fibrocystic breasts
· Promoting healthy hair and nails
· Minimizing nerve damage that causes numbness and tingling as well as other disorders
One way to get your flaxseed benefits is with our Omega 3-6-9 Complete™ (click here to view) . This is a comprehensive blend of Fish Oil, Borage Oil, and Organic Flaxseed Oil. This combination provides a unique balance of Omega-3 and Omega 6, plus Omega-9 and Vitamin E.
Menopause comes with its share of unpleasant side effects, which may include memory loss, hot flashes, cramps and night sweats. There are a number of ways to approach the problem. Some will choose a natural solution.
A wonderful natural formula to help you live a longer, healthier life is Women’s Natural Balance (click here to view), a safe, and effective daily supplement that contains many of the top ingredients. This specially blended formula contains many safe azsand all natural substances that include black cohosh, soy isoflavones, red clover, Mexican yams and red raspberry extract.