Flax Seed – What Is It?
Flax Seed is one of many ingredients in the Tikva product. It is rich in alpha linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fat that is a precursor to the form of omega-3 found in fish oils called eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA.
Flax Seed Health Benefits
High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
Flax seed offers multiple health benefits, including improved cardiovascular health. Researchers in the Netherlands examined dietary phytoestrogen intake and heart health among more than 300 postmenopausal women. The effects of dietary isoflavones, such as those found in soy, were compared with the effects of dietary lignans, such as those present in flax seed. The researcher determined that while isoflavones had no significant effect on blood pressure, dietary lignans were associated with lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure values and a decreased prevalence of hypertension. Even low levels of dietary lignans exerted a protective effect on blood pressure.
Their findings echo those of a Canadian team that studied how supplementation affects blood pressure in postmenopausal women with vascular disease. After consuming a diet rich in flax seed, the women were required to undergo a stressful mental challenge. The subjects’ blood pressure was monitored and results were interpreted in light of the women’s known atherosclerotic disease. Flax seed significantly reduced blood pressure related to mental stress. “ Flax phytoestrogens ameliorate certain responses to stress and thus may afford protection against atherosclerosis,” concluded the researchers. They noted that two components of flax seed—alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid, and lignan phytoestrogens—may play a dual role in this blood pressure-reducing effect.
Endowed with an interesting nutritional profile, flax seed provides an essential fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is converted by the body into the type of omega-3 fatty acids that are found primarily in fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel. Health benefits attributed to omega-3 fatty acids include anti-inflammatory properties and beneficial effects on high blood pressure . Omega-3s make platelets in the blood less likely to stick together and they reduce blood clotting, thereby lessening the chance of a heart attack.
Several studies indicate that flax seed oil, as well as ground flax seeds, can lower cholesterol, thereby significantly reducing the risk of heart disease. Taking flax seed oil may also protect against Angina (chest pain) and high blood pressure. In addition, a five-year study done recently at Boston ‘s Simmons College found that flax seed oil may be useful in preventing a second heart attack. It may also help prevent elevated blood pressure by inhibiting inflammatory reactions that cause artery-hardening plaque and poor circulation.
Control constipation, hemorrhoids, diverticular disorders and gallstones.
Because they are high in dietary fiber, ground flax seeds can help ease the passage of stools and thus relieve constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticular disease. In those with diverticular disease, flax seeds may also keep intestinal pouches free of waste and thus keep potential infection at bay. Taken for inflammatory bowel disease, flax seed oil can help to calm inflammation and repair any intestinal tract damage. In addition, the oil may prevent painful gallstones from developing and even dissolve existing stones.
Treat menopausal symptoms, menstrual cramps, female infertility and endometriosis.
Because the hormone-balancing lignans and plant estrogens (phytoestrogens) in flax seed oil help stabilize a woman’s estrogen-progesterone ratio, they can have beneficial effects on the menstrual cycle and relieve the hot flashes of perimenopause and menopause. In a randomized, double-blind, wheat germ Placebo -controlled clinical trial, flax seed improved mild menopausal symptoms by about 35 percent for hot flashes and about 44 percent for night sweats. Flax seed oil may also improve uterine function and thus treat fertility problems. In addition, the essential fatty acids in flax seed oil have been shown to block production of Prostaglandins , hormone-like substances that, when released in excess amounts during menstruation, can cause the heavy bleeding associated with endometriosis.
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