top of page
A Humble Flax Seed - the Powerhouse of Nutrition 

It may or may not be a well-known fact that despite its size, the tiny flax seed (also known as linseed) contains large amounts of protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals, omega 3 fatty acids and lignans.

Omega 3's are crucial for keeping our heart and brain healthy, adding nourishment to the skin, nails and hair and lowering inflammation in the body. Every cell in the body needs omega 3's to function well.

 

And what about those lignans?

Can they balance hormones or support overall immunity?

The simple answer is YES.  

Lignans are powerful antioxidants. As we know, oxidation in the body means stress, ageing and damage on the cellular level. Our humble flax seeds, thanks to the omega 3's and lignans, can take care of arthritis, rheumatism, eczema, psoriasis, some studies even show their beneficial effect on lupus. 

Lignans are also known as phytoestrogens. Estrogen has been getting bad reputation recently - but let me tell you one thing: plant based estrogen behaves very differently to the artificial one, derived from plastics, heavy metals or medication. Both, women and men, we naturally have some levels of estrogen in our bodies. Of course, it's women who need high levels of NATURAL estrogen for fertility, but also to look feminine (estrogen gives us our typically feminine figures) and have a regular and smooth monthly cycle. 

Artificial estrogen

The problem occurs when we have high levels of artificial estrogen. These xenoestrogens mimic the natural estrogen and bind themselves to the estrogen receptors in the body. Normally, our body eliminates/ detoxifies any used up estrogens as needed. However, xenoestrogens are tricky to be eliminated, especially when they block the receptors. 

The only way to detox these estrogens from the body is through lignans and fibre. The phytoestrogens in flax seeds are able to bind themselves to the artificial ones and remove them from the body.  The fibre is important to speed up the waste removal. This process is very gentle yet powerful. Phytoestrogens never behave aggressively in the body. In fact, I have not found one SINGLE study showing the we can overdose on phytoestrogens and cause estrogen dominance this way. 

So whether there is too much or not enough estrogen in the body, flax seeds can balance both conditions. 

And how about men, should they be worried about getting too much estrogen from flax? Well, it turns out that flax seeds are also able to balance the testosterone levels in the male body. Good, healthy levels of testosterone mean good fertility and prostate health.  (I will attach links to clinical studies on improving prostate health with flax.)

I mentioned estrogen dominance. This is a condition where the estrogen levels become unnaturally high and start causing problems. It can be anything from constipation to premenstrual tension and painful and/ or heavy periods.  Frotender breast to uterine and breast cancers... Estrogen is a growth hormone. If there is too much of it, it will cause weight gain as well as all sorts of other growths - fibroids, cysts, tumors. 

I have been on a hormone balancing journey for many years. Especially the last two years I worked really hard on it - tried supplements, herbs, foods, drinks and all sorts of other things to balance my hormones. It cost money and effort. Trial and error. (I will delve deeper into how to balance the hormones in my next article.)

And at the end of the day I discovered that none of the expensive supplements had such a deeply balancing effect on my body as a daily serving of the humble flax. 

Don't just take my word for it - try it! 

Phantom (or false) Pregnancy

Our dog used to go into phantom (or false) pregnancy twice a year, after her heat, every time. It would take weeks for the symptoms to go away. I did extensive research on that and could not find any practical information, besides putting her on a hormonal therapy or spaying her. Apparently, this is very common in female dogs and is perfectly natural. Well, I didn't think there was anything natural about my dog suffering so much twice a year, despite eating a natural canine diet (based on animal protein and vegetables) and being generally healthy and strong.

As flax seeds work so well on humans I decided to test them on our dog, too. I have been giving her about 1 teaspoon of ground flax every day for the past few months and I am happy to say that she no longer has any problems with her hormones. 

Just to sum up 

 

Flax seeds can strengthen the immunity, lower inflammation, balance hormones and lubricate the body where needed, joints as well as the bowel. (I personally tried flax tea in the last 3 months of my second pregnancy and I can testify that it helped lubricate the birth canal.)

Let's not forget to mention that flax can lower your blood pressure and bad cholesterol, too. As a source of good fats, it will help balance your blood sugar levels and help nourish your hair, nails and skin. There is also evidence that flax has the ability to lower cortisol - the hormone of stress. 

Types of flax

There are two types of flax - BROWN and GOLDEN. Their nutritional profile is very similar but the TASTE is totally different.

I would only swallow the brown seeds  whole as a laxative or prepare a late pregnancy tea from them.

For a delicious and nutritious addition to a meal (porridge, salad, smoothie etc.) I always use the golden flax. 

Freshly grind your flax

In order to get all the powerful benefits you need to FRESHLY GRIND your flax.  Due to the high fat content flax will start oxidation process as soon as exposed to the air. So ideally, we consume the flax meal within 20 minutes or less.

Sure, you can buy already ground flax, processed in a protective atmosphere. However, as soon as you open the bag the oxidation process will set in.  Trust me on this one - you want the ground flax as FRESH AS POSSIBLE. 

I use a coffee grinder attachment to prepare flax for sprinkling on foods. You could also use a Nutribullet to grind the seeds. For adding to a smoothie, simply put a couple of tablespoons in the blender with the rest of the ingredients.

You need the fibre

If you are taking flax oil you are still getting the anti inflammatory and lubricating effects, plus vitamins and minerals. However, for balancing hormones you need the FIBRE. Fibre is crucial for efficient elimination and detox. Constipation or even regular but inefficient elimination plays quite often a role in estrogen dominance. 

How much ground flax to take? I started with 1 tablespoon a day and quickly realised that my body just LOVED and craved flax. I have been taking 2-3 tablespoons of golden flax in my smoothie every day for the past few months and totally loving it.

As I keep saying - don't just take my word for it - try it for yourselves! 

Further reading: 

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/avoid-drugs-surgery-prostate-issues-flaxseed

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/11/02/lignans-save-lives.aspx

https://www.lignans.net/health-benefits.html

bottom of page