#1 – Flaxseed has the perfect Omega3/Omega6 ratio
The challenge is on. I’m on a quest to come up with 365 reasons to use flaxseed. I’m balancing the academic pursuit with culinary delights by also seeking out 365 ways to use flaxseed. Along with each reason to use flaxseed, I’m gathering new ways to use flaxseed. If you don’t want to read why flaxseed is so good for you, then skip to the end to get this week’s recipe.
The research begins. First, I reviewed the Flax Council of Canada’s “New Flax Facts” sheet on “Flax – A Smart Choice.”
According to the Flax Council of Canada, increasing Omega-3s and lowering Omega-6s is recommended to help lower the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Because of its high alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) content, flaxseed has a Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio of 3 to 1. In other words, there are three times more Omega-3s in flaxseed than there are Omega-6s. This is one of the reasons why flaxseed is considered a “super seed.”
Flaxseed contains two essential fatty acids (EFAs): alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the parent fatty acid of the Omega-3 family; and linoleic acid (LA), the parent fatty acid of the Omega-6 family. Essential fatty acids are required for a variety of reasons, which will be covered more in depth throughout the 365 reasons to use flaxseed blogs.
Then I went on to Cooking with Foods that Fight Cancer, written by two cancer researchers: Drs. Richard Béliveau and Denis Gingras. It is an excellent book, backed by medical research without sounding like a textbook. The second half of the book includes recipes using the 14 foods identified in the first half. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to learn how to create an environment within their bodies that discourages the growth of cancer cells.
The authors also recommend increasing Omega-3s and decreasing Omega-6s. They point out that an excessive consumption of Omega-6s leads to inflammation, an environment in which cancer can thrive. Omega-3s have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body. However, our bodies cannot convert the Omega-3s effectively if our intake of Omega-6s is too high.
Our modern-day diet has resulted in our consuming 25 times more Omega-6s than Omega-3s. This has disturbed the balance between Omega-3s and Omega-6s. Since flaxseed is the best plant source of linolenic acid (LA), and only two tablespoons of flaxseed supply more than 140% of the recommended daily amount of Omega-3s, reestablishing the proper balance between Omega-3s and Omega-6s can only be of great benefit in fighting chronic illnesses that are associated with inflammation (such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer).
“Wherever flax seed becomes a regular food item among the people, there will be better health.” (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1869-1948).
Flax – A Smart Choice (New Flax Facts), by Dr. Diane H. Morris, Flax Council of Canada, Winnipeg, MB, www.flaxcouncil.ca.
Cooking with Foods that Fight Cancer, by Drs. Richard Beliveau and Denis Gingras, McClelland & Stewart, Toronto, ON (2007).
365 WAYS to use flaxseed: #1 – Yogurt Parfait
- Put 1/8 cup Freaking Fantastic Flax© Trail Mix into a parfait glass or dessert dish.
- Add 3-4 tablespoons plain, unsweetened yogurt.
- Add another layer (1/8 cup) of Freaking Fantastic Flax© Trail Mix.
- Add another 3-4 tablespoons plain, unsweetened yogurt.
- Continue with alternating layers of Freaking Fantastic Flax© Trail Mix and plain, unsweetened yogurt until the desired amount is reached.
- Top with Freaking Fantastic Flax© Trail Mix.
Use ground Canadian Goldenflax Seed© instead of the trail mix.
Add honey or maple syrup to sweeten the yogurt.
Top with berries or other fresh fruit.
Freaking Fantastic Flax©:
This is a trail mix or salad / cereal topping available in Alberta via phone and online orders, or available at local farmers’ markets in the Edmonton area. It consists of the following ingredients:
almonds pumpkin seeds sunflower seeds dried apricots
dried raisins or cranberries Canadian Goldenflax Seed©
For more information on the benefits of flaxseed, check out the following websites:
Just an update on the effects of over-consumption of Omega-6s in our diet.
This is taken from http://www.sott.net/article/242516-Heart-Surgeon-Speaks-Out-On-What-Really-Causes-Heart-Disease
“…Simply stated, without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol would accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel and cause heart disease and strokes. Without inflammation, cholesterol would move freely throughout the body as nature intended. It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped…What are the biggest culprits of chronic inflammation? Quite simply, they are the overload of simple, highly processed carbohydrates (sugar, flour and all the products made from them) and the excess consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower that are found in many processed foods…While omega-6’s are essential -they are part of every cell membrane controlling what goes in and out of the cell — they must be in the correct balance with omega-3’s. If the balance shifts by consuming excessive omega-6, the cell membrane produces chemicals called cytokines that directly cause inflammation. Today’s mainstream American diet has produced an extreme imbalance of these two fats. The ratio of imbalance ranges from 15:1 to as high as 30:1 in favor of omega-6. That’s a tremendous amount of cytokines causing inflammation. In today’s food environment, a 3:1 ratio would be optimal and healthy…”
I now have a new blog to read! Look forward to the 365 recipes ; )
Hi Leanne! You can subscribe and that way you will be notified whenever I post a new blog. I’ll try to put up a new one every couple of weeks. They won’t all be recipes though. Some will simply be suggestions on how to use flaxseed that don’t involve a recipe. I’m trying to find as many recipes as possible and I do invite others to share how they use their flaxseed!
Love the cereal. See you in Dec at market to stock up. Leslie
Thanks, Leslie! There are a few of you who use the trail mix / topping as a cereal. I’m glad that you are enjoying it.
Great Post Martha! Thanks for educating us about flax!!
Thanks, Victoria! And the recipe for the trail mix that I use (with slight variations) is in your new book, Real-Life Vegan (http://www.reallifevegan.com/), right?