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Flaxseed

With 50% alpha linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid, flaxseed has the highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids of all of the plant oils.

Flaxseed are the seeds of the common flax, Linum usitatissimum. A thousand seeds weigh less than nine grams. Different types of flaxseed are planted, including spring seeds, winter seeds, Indian flax, and Ethiopian flax, and raised as either food or fiber crops. Here we discuss the flaxseed grown to produce oil for consumption. There are two main varieties: brown and yellow or golden. Flaxseed is slightly nutty in flavor and has a fat content of 40%. And with 50% alpha linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid, flaxseed has the highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids of all of the plant oils.

Nutritional value:

From Wikipedia“In a 100 gram serving, flaxseed contains high levels (> 19% of the Daily Value, DV) of protein, dietary fiber, several B vitamins, and dietary minerals. Flaxseeds are especially rich inthiamine, magnesium, and phosphorus (DVs above 90%).

As a percentage of total fat, flaxseeds contain 54% omega-3 fatty acids (mostly ALA), 18% omega-9 fatty acids (oleic acid), and 6% omega-6 fatty acids (linoleic acid); the seeds contain 9% saturated fat, including 5% aspalmitic acid. Flaxseed oil contains 53% 18:3 omega-3 fatty acids (mostly ALA) and 13% 18:2 omega-6 fatty acids.”

Medicinal uses:

“Flaxseed has proven effective as a natural laxative to relieve constipation. For this, the seeds have to be crushed and then ground to a flour. Before consuming, you should then mix with some water so that you have a type of flaxseed paste. The laxative effect occurs because flaxseed contains fiber and a substance called mucilage. This substance causes flaxseed to absorb water, which in turn makes the stool softer. The absorption of water increases the volume and this stimulates the stretch receptors found in the intenstinal wall and causes an emptying reflex.

In the case of gastritis, flaxseed mucilage can protect the stomach lining. You can take it as a special treatment in the morning (after which you lie on your back for 10 minutes and then on your stomach for 10 minutes and then rest on your side) or spread it out during the day. Some studies have shown than flaxseed mucilage can help to prevent prostate cancer.

Flaxseed contains cyanogenic glycosides (linustatin and neolinustatin). These hydrocyanic acid precursors convert to yield about 50 mg of hycrocyancic acid in 100 g of flaxseed. The low water content of the seeds, the acidic pH in the stomach, and the fact that this acid is broken down by x ensures that you will not get food poising from these as long as you eat normal amounts of flaxseed. And heat in the form of backing, cooking, or frying also destroy the glycosides.

Uses:

“Flax is grown for its oil, used as a nutritional supplement, and as an ingredient in many wood-finishing products. Flax is also grown as an ornamental plant in gardens. Flax fibers are used to make linen. The Latin species name usitatissimum means "most useful".”

Health effects:

“Consuming flaxseed or its derivatives reduced total and LDL-cholesterol in the blood, with greater benefits in women and those with high cholesterol.”

History:

“The earliest evidence of humans using wild flax as a textile comes from the present day Republic of Georgia, where spun, dyed, and knotted wild flax fibers were found in Dzudzuana Cave and dated to the Upper Paleolithic, 30,000 years ago. Flax was first domesticated in the Fertile Crescent region. Evidence exists of a domesticated oilseed flax with increased seed size by 9,000 years ago from Tell Ramad in Syria. Use of the crop steadily spread, reaching as far as Switzerland and Germany by 5,000 years ago. In China and India, domesticated flax was cultivated also by at least 5,000 years ago.”