Monday, 6 August 2007

Worthy Wisdom: Flax seed to the rescue

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The folks at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona told me all about the merits of flax seed. They told me to sprinkle it here, sprinkle it there, sprinkle it everywhere. While at this desert destination, I did just that. I dipped into the bowls of flax scattered at all dining locations, and I topped my bagels, cereals, salads, and more with this powerful substance. As soon as I got home from this little slice of paradise, I bought my own personal container of flax. I promptly placed it in my refrigerator, have used it a few times, and just recently realized I'd forgotten why exactly it's so good for me.

I've done some research, and now I know a little more about this thing called flax -- and I remember why it must become a part of my everyday life.

Flax, also known as Common Flax or Linseed, is an annual plant that grows to 120 cm tall, with slender stems. Native to the region extending from the eastern Mediterranean to India, its leaves are green, its flowers blue, its fruit round and containing glossy brown seeds. Grown for both its seeds and its fibers, parts of this plant are used to make fabric, dye, paper, medicines, fishing nets, and soap. The seeds, like what sit in my refrigerator, come in two forms -- brown and yellow or golden. The yellow, golden variety is the one most often consumed.

Consumption of flax seed is good for several reasons, thanks to lignans that power it with nutrition. It contains beneficial levels of omega-3 fatty acids, promotes heart health, lessons the severity of diabetes, and has anti-cancer properties. A series of research studies at the University of Toronto have shown that flaxseed can reduce tumor growth in mice, particularly the tumors found in human post-menopausal breast cancer.

Flax seed also serves as replacement for egg in baking -- just mix one tablespoon of ground flax seeds with three tablespoons of water. It can be mixed with oatmeal, yogurt, anything where a nutty flavor is appropriate.

Flax is not a new food -- it's actually quite old and is perhaps one of the original health foods, prized throughout the Roman empire for its healing properties -- but it's currently being rediscovered as a health food.

And that's why you should give it a try.

Thanks Canyon Ranch for your ripe information!

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