Good things come in small packages – certainly this is true of flaxseeds. Just a bit larger than a sesame seed, flax is naturally packaged in a smooth and shiny shell the color of the sunset. Do not be fooled, the value in flax goes far beyond the beautiful exterior. Flaxseed, whole or ground, offers a variety of health benefits on top of the great taste. Flax is high in omega 3 fatty acids which is essential in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, a robust immune system, and a happy heart.
Flaxseed has long been a medicinal staple in countries around the world offering alternatives to traditional, more expensive medical care. In recent years flaxseed has been the subject of intensive research which has revealed that flax helps to prevent cancer, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and may aid in the treatment of menopausal symptoms. While there is no quantitative data regarding how well flaxseed can prevent cancer or which cancers it works best with. It does offer hope for the future. Additionally, patients with autoimmune diseases, like lupus, who suffer severe kidney damage have responded well to the regular incorporation of flaxseed into their diets. Flaxseed acts as an anti-inflammatory agent much like aspirin but without causing stomach problems.
Flaxseed oil is also used in the treatment of skin disorders including eczema and other dry skin conditions. Crushed flaxseed is added to boiling water until a gel is formed. Then the flaxseed oil is applied to a wet cloth and then wrapped around the injured skin. Many hospitals employ this particular application of flaxseed oil in the treatment of burns caused by radiation therapy in cancer patients. Flaxseed is now considered an extremely successful adjunct therapy to traditional medical treatment.
Beyond the treatment of serious disease, flaxseed is a great snack – earthy and sweet in taste. It is a great topper for salads or blueberry muffins and a good fiber source. Use flaxseed powder to supplement baked sweets or toss them whole into a stir fry. A healthy lifestyle begins and is built a single step at a time. Why not incorporate flaxseed into your daily menu – tasty and healthy – who could resist?
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