Thursday, March 4, 2010

A little flax, a little sunshine ...




I ended up taking today off from work because I wasnt sure how CR was going to get home and one of the options involved me going to FL and driving him back. Thankfully another, simpler option emerged. It is lovely and sunny out today. One of those days that instantly makes you feel better.

I did a quick tennis workout this morning and came home for lunch. It is interesting to me how my perspective has changed on food lately now that I have been trying to keep it healthier. I find myself having internal debates on whether I really want to stop and get fast food and would it be worth it? In most cases, I would have stopped for something easy on the way home and not thought twice about it. Now, I don't partially because I just don't have a taste for it. All I can say is it is kind of amazing.

For lunch I roasted some asparagus and tossed together a yummy salad.






In other news... Apparently there was a Brady Bunch reunion in the works. It was canceled "earlier in the week, reportedly because of a longstanding feud between Eve Plumb (Jan Brady) and Maureen McCormick (Marcia Brady)". Good to know disfunction exists even among the Bradys...

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DO YOU KNOW THE JOY OF FLAX?
In the 8th century, that King Charlemagne believed so strongly in the health benefits of flaxseed he passed laws requiring his subjects to consume it. Flaxseed’s healthy reputation is because of three primary things:

·Omega-3 essential fatty acids, "good" fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s.

·Lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. Flaxseed contains 75- 800 times more lignans than other plant foods

·Fiber. Flaxseed contains both the soluble and insoluble types.

There are also possible connections to other health benefits include reducing the risks of certain cancers as well as cardiovascular disease and lung disease. Check it out:

Cancer

The lignans in flaxseed may provide some protection against cancers that are sensitive to hormones by blocking enzymes that are involved in hormone metabolism and interfering with the growth and spread of tumor cells. Some of the other components in flaxseed also have antioxidant properties, which may contribute to protection against cancer and heart disease.

Cardiovascular Disease

Research suggests that plant omega-3s help the cardiovascular system via several different mechanisms, including anti-inflammatory action and normalizing the heartbeat. Several studies have suggested that diets rich in flaxseed omega-3s help prevent hardening of the arteries and keep plaque from being deposited in the arteries, partly by keeping white blood cells from sticking to the blood vessels’ inner linings. Lignans in flaxseed have been shown to reduce atherosclerotic plaque buildup by up to 75%.

Eating flaxseed daily may help your cholesterol levels, too. Small particles of LDL or "bad" cholesterol in the bloodstream have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.

Inflammation

Two components in flaxseed, ALA and lignans, may reduce the inflammation that accompanies certain illnesses (such as Parkinson's disease and asthma) by helping to block the release of certain pro-inflammatory agents. The plant omega-3 ALA has been shown to decrease inflammatory reactions in humans. And studies in animals have found that lignans can decrease levels of several pro-inflammatory agents.

Hot Flashes

One preliminary study on menopausal women, published in 2007, reported that 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed (taken twice each day) cut the women's hot flashes in half. In addition, the intensity of their hot flashes dropped by 57%. The women noticed a difference after talking the daily flaxseed for just one week, and achieved the maximum benefit within two weeks.

Tips for Using Flaxseed

Many experts believe it's better to consume flaxseed than flax oil (which contains just part of the seed) so you get all the components. The optimum dose to obtain health benefits is not yet known. One to two tablespoons of ground flaxseed a day is currently the suggested dose.

Buy it ground or grind it yourself. Flaxseed, when eaten whole, is more likely to pass through the intestinal tract undigested, which means your body doesn't get all the healthful components. If you want to grind flaxseed yourself, those little electric coffee grinders seem to work best.

Milled = ground = flax meal. Don’t be confused by the different product names for ground flaxseed. Milled or ground flaxseed is the same thing as flax meal. Many supermarket chains now carry ground flaxseed (or flaxmeal). It’s usually in the flour or "grain" aisle or the whole-grain cereal section, often sold in 1-pound bags.

Keep it in the freezer. The best place to store ground flaxseed is the freezer. Freeze pre-ground flaxseed in the bag you bought it in, or in a plastic sealable bag if you ground it yourself. The freezer will keep the ground flax from oxidizing and losing its nutritional potency.

Whole flaxseed keeps longer. The outside shell in whole flaxseed appears to keep the fatty acids inside well protected. It’s a good idea to keep your whole flaxseed in a dark, cool place until you grind it. But as long as it is dry and of good quality, whole flaxseed can be stored at room temperature for up to a year.

Flaxseed is so easy to incoporate into you diet. A little sprinkle here, a little sprinkle there.

4 comments:

AZ said...

That's funny. Today I stopped at a restaurant (not quite fast food) because I thought it would be better for me than what I would make at home.

fitandfortysomething said...

Flax is amazing....I put it in everything. Thanks for reminding me how great it really is!
Love your lunch-good choice and much better than fast food!

Marathonman101108 said...

Thanks for the facts on flax! I guess I better go buy some ASAP! Thanks also for commenting on my blog.

Patrick Mahoney said...

Hiya,

I was going through a bunch of your posts and the bits and bobs on food are great. Thank you!!