Weight Loss Wednesday - The Flax, M'am... Just the Flax...
Posted Dec 23 2008 9:31pm
July & August are traditionally the family's months to vacation - be it just lots of trips for the day or an actual "vacation". My brain certainly needs a vacation from the weight loss game for the month or so (my whole being needs a vacation when the kids are home for the summer!), so during the month of July and part of August, Pink Lemonade will be featuring some of our previous weight loss tips. We'll be back in August (After the kids go back to school!) with many more weight loss info.... Enjoy today's " Best Of - Weight Loss Wednesday"....
W hen I was a kid and had a splinter, my Grandmother would make a poultice of ground flaxseed and hot water. She would apply it to my splinter, bandage it up and send me home to let it sit overnight - and without fail, the splinter would be gone in the morning. Now, I'm not a scientist, but I'm guessing that the removal of the splinter had something to do with the hot water softening the skin and maybe a gentle suction as the poultice dried and hardened during the night - but however it worked doesn't really matter - just that it worked. How was I to know in the early 1970's, that the ground up seeds that Grandma was putting on my splinter would prove to be a very powerful tool in the weight loss arsenal of the 21st century.
It has been estimated that 85% of the U.S. population is Omega-3 deficient. Omega-3's are vital to the functioning of our bodies - we need these good fats for our brains, our internal organs, and our nervous systems (just to mention a few). When we supplement our diets with these healthy Omega-3 oils, good things happen to our bodies.
Flaxseed is rich in a vegan source of Omega-3 fatty acids (in fact, it is the richest source of any Omega-3), which makes it a viable alternative to fish oil for just about everyone. Flaxseed is nothing new, it has been dated as far back as 3,000 B.C. where it was cultivated in Babylon. In fact, burial chambers depict flax cultivation and clothing from flax fibres. The healthy oils in flax help you to feel full longer and help keep your blood sugar at a more steady level, thus eliminating the spike and crash that would come from simple sugars and carbohydrates. If you feel fuller, longer, you as a result, will eat less than if you had eaten a low or no fat meal. The oils in Flaxseed are converted to compounds that fire up the metabolic processes in our cells. sort of like a furnace, once they get going, the cells generate more heat and burn more fuel, in this case, calories.
Flaxseed is highly nutritious and high in fiber. The essential nutrients in flaxseed oil also increase oxygen consumption at the cell-level resulting in increased energy and stamina, and feeling of well-being. Flax expands five times in bulk when ingested - we all know that fiber is our friend in the weight loss game, and what a painless way to add extra fiber to you diet.
We're not saying that flaxseed is " the" miracle-fix for everything, but it has been touted to help with much, much more than just weight loss. Some other benefits of flaxseed are:
Flaxseed is full of lignans (potent cancer fighters).
Flaxseed helps to improve your immune system.
The Omega-3's in flaxseed help to lower your blood pressure.
Flax has been shown to lower blood levels of triglycerides and very low density lipoproteins.
Flaxseed (because of the Omega-3's) has anti-inflammatory properties.
The good oils in Flaxseed help to control skin problems (such as eczema and psoriasis).
To obtain the most benefit from flaxseed, it should be consumed in oil form ( available at your health food store or a natural grocer like Whole Foods ) or purchased in whole seed form and ground in a dedicated coffee grinder immediately before consumption. Working about 3Tbsp. of flaxseed (before grinding) per day can add up to some really awesome health benefits. If you choose oil, make sure the oil is expeller-pressed (also called "cold-pressed"). Expeller-pressed seeds produce the highest-quality flax oils and do not involve the use of chemicals to extract the oils. Grinding your own flax is your best source of lignans, but if you'd rather use oil (for salad dressing, etc.), the bottle should state "with lignans". Try to work your flax into dishes that do not have to be cooked (top your cereal or oatmeal with it, or blend it into a smoothie), as heat can diminish some of its healthy properties (although you'll still get the fiber benefit).
So, what are you waiting for?? Get out there and get yourself some flaxseed - your body will thank you for it (and you'll probably drop a few extra pounds too)!