Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum) is the seed of the flax plant. It is composed of omega 3 fatty acids and with lignans (this is similar to fiber). The normal person’s digestive tract has bacteria. These bacteria will act on these lignans, converting them into hormone-like substances. To get the same amount of lignans that you find in just a 1/8 of a cup of the seed, you’d need to consume 60 cups of fresh broccoli. Too much? How about 100 slices of 100% whole wheat flour?
The normal recommended dose of flaxseed for an average adult will depend on the manner in which it is consumed:
Oil– 1 to 3 tablespoons a day
Capsules– 1 300 mg a day
Ground meal– 30 grams a day
The oil must be kept in a dark bottle and refrigerated. The ground meal will also need to be in an air tight container and refrigerated. Exposure to air will make the oils turn rancid very fast. Better to get a coffee bean grinder especially for flaxseed and grind right before you go to use it.
The omega 3 fatty acids have been proven as an anti-inflammatory. Flaxseed’s omega 3’s convert to EPA/DHA, the active ingredients in fish oil. EPA/DHA (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) are the two ingredients that are said to reduce inflammation and stiffness making it a godsend for more arthritis and joint pain sufferers. DHA is important for brain function and provides essential fatty acids are a form of polyunsaturated fat and needed by the body/
Flaxseed is good to ease joint pain, by lubricating the joints. It will lessen the stiffness for arthritis patients. It has been shown to lower total cholesterol and can be a great helper in the fight against heart disease. Due to the lignans, it is also a reducer of the risk of heart disease and cancer. Flaxseed is also a good fiber source, as was shown in the broccoli comparison earlier.
Care should be taken when using flaxseed because it is a natural laxative; use slowly and drink lots of water with it. It may act as a blood thinner so do not use if you are already on blood thinners. Do not use if you are a woman with hormone sensitive uterine or breast cancer. People with high cholesterol and taking cholesterol reducing drugs should not take it. Talk to your health care provider about using flaxseed or having it replace a current medication.
The composition of flaxseed is 38% oil, 28% fiber, 19.5% protein, 6.5% carbohydrates, 4% ash, 1.8% minerals, 0.32% vitamins, 0.15% lecithin, 0.01% flavonoids, and 0.01% phytic acid.
For more information on Omega-3, Flaxseed, and Lignans:
Omega 3 information service
Prairie Flax Products