To many, the aroma of freshly-baked bread is so pleasant that it’s almost intoxicating!
According to historical record, soldiers of the Roman Empire marched with rations of bread baked with flaxseed meal and flax seed oil 3000 years ago. They most likely felt the “grounded” feeling, a feeling of mental stability after eating their bread, just like we do today when we add it to our foods.
Additional records prove that flax was also used in India, China, Syria and Turkey for its seed and fiber to make fabric, dye, paper, fishing nets, cattle feed, medicines and soap. It’s extremely useful to us, just like coconut.
Flax may be responsible for why the Romans were so successful in their conquests.
One major reason why is that the type of fat consumed is linked with your state of mind.
In the early 1980’s, Dr. Donald O. Rudin, Director of the Department of Molecular Biology at Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute found that within two hours, patients who had various mental disorders experienced improved mood and their depression lifted with flax seed oil.
Certainly, we wouldn’t want those with mood disorders in our own military, but when you consider that omega-3s are involved in IQ and behavior, how one reacts to allergens, the status of the myelin sheath surrounding the nerves, inflammation, the ability to mentally focus, cardiovascular health and hormone modulation, flax seed meal and oil become more and more important.
One of Dr. Rudin’s patients experienced dramatically improved moods after only three days. Her marked sense of increased physical energy and unique exuberance was also exhibited in other patients in varying degrees. After six to eight weeks, most of them were sleeping better and were more energetic. They also were less anxious and depressed. Switching them back to a high omega-6 fat diet, such as one found in the American diet, resulted in a return of their symptoms.
Not Just Mental Attitude, But Other Illnesses Helped
The brain is composed of 60% fat, and nerve cells are extremely rich in omega-3 fatty acids, containing five times more omega-3 fatty acids than red blood cells.
Flax seed contains 18 carbon omega-3 fats, which can be converted to other omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA (20 and 22-carbon chain fats), although the conversion rate is low (2-15%). Still, for some who don’t eat fish, which may be a much better source of EPA and DHA because it needs no conversion in the body, adding flax seed oil may kick start health benefits. Taking 1-2 tablespoons of flax oil daily fulfills the requirement for linolenic acid, EPA and DHA, three essential fats important for preventing cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis and auto-immunity, as well as boosting our brain’s ability to think clearly without the need for mood elevators. Flax seed oil is the plant world’s most abundant source of omega-3 fats, about 55% by weight.
Researchers studied different sub-groups of the population to find possible correlations of low omega-3 fats and different health issues, and see if the addition of flax seed oil and omega-3 fats might help. Their results showed a definite correlation to those with high blood pressure, those on statin drugs that deplete the omega-3 brain fats, violent criminals, children with ADHD, women with PMS, those with calcium deposits and low bone density, and even moms who just gave birth. In addition digestion and elimination was also significantly improved.
Now that we know how to gain better focus and a happier state of mind, how about becoming more beautiful? The addition of flax oil in many people’s diets has been known to create radical improvements in skin conditions. In many cases ecxema and dry skin have disappeared. With adequate supplementation of flax oil in the diet men and women alike are enjoying radiant skin, moist and lubricated for a healthy glow and shine. And, it doesn’t stop there. Hair and nails also benefit from Flax oil.
Delicious and Healthy!
Omega 3’s, which are abundant in Flax oil, are an Essential Fatty Acid (EFA). Essential Fatty Acids are absolutely necessary for healthy cell function, and the only place we can get them is through our food. What does this mean? It means that we must put good fats, like flax oil, in our daily diet to receive the benefits of healthy cell function. The good news is now we can enjoy the healthy fats that our bodies need and our palate craves.
Many low fat diets are deceiving people into depriving themselves of the good fats that contain Essential Fatty Acids. It is true that you would benefit by cutting out trans fats and other unhealthy fats, but that does not mean you have to cut out the good fats too. Bringing good fats into you life will not only benefit your health but can enhance all your meals into becoming a delicious and satisfying adventure.
We all love a good sauce on anything. Using flax oil for sauces and dressings can be one of the best ways to include more vegetables and whole foods in your diet. Making quick and easy sauces and dressing with an excellent flax oil along with a couple other ingredients is actually what started my culinary career. Upon tasting my recipes, people often remarked, “What did you put on these vegetables, they are absolutely delicious”? I would answer, “Oh just a little flax oil, tamari and sesame seeds”. When they tasted my salad dressings, which were also made from a flax oil base, they would say, “What is in this dressing, I want to drink it”?
Most people are so deficient in Essential Fatty Acids that when they taste a sauce or dressing made with high-quality flax oil, their body loves it.
When counting calories and reading labels for low fat ingredients, don’t skimp on the good fats. Flax seed oil, along with some other specific ingredients, will deliver the most delicious sauce and/or dressing for steamed veggies, raw salads, grains and even fish.
Milling the Fresh Way!
Beware, all flax oils and other artisan oils are not created or “milled” equal.
Most oils and particularly those rich in Omega 3’s are very sensitive to light and heat. They go rancid and can loose their integrity easily. In other words, they loose their effectiveness if not milled, stored and used correctly. Some manufacturers have gone to great lengths to mill their flax oil in ways that give the oil a long shelf life so they can withstand the transportation and distribution process. These processes often change the natural nutty flavor of the flax oil. I like Barlean’s Organic Oils because they mill their oils at the time you or the store places their order. Once pressed, they are delivered straight to your door or to the store. This type of fresh express milling and delivery guarantees great tasting oils with a high level of integrity.
You can also include flax seeds in your diet. You can purchase them already ground, or grind your own. Sprinkled on top of fruit salad, cottage cheese or breakfast cereal will add great taste and a more satisfying meal. The ability of the seeds to swell up and draw water to itself also makes it an excellent binding agent for burgers, cakes and muffins. One tablespoon flax seeds together with three tablespoons water added to a recipe can substitute for one egg.
Today we have the opportunity to learn from the Romans and give ourselves excellent foods for stamina, focus, and beauty!
VIDEO: Susan’s shares a great recipe:|
Delicious Lemon Tahini Tamari Flax Oil Dressing!
About the Author
Susan Teton Campbell, a food professional with over twenty years experience co-authored the Healthy School Lunch Action Guide winning endorsements from USDA, California State Child and Nutrition Department and Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Her new six part DVD series Essential Cuisine is available at www.chefteton.com.