Get Your Daily Cleanse with Flax Seed
Having a naturally, free flowing digestion system is a crucial element in maintaining overall health and vitality. Due to poor diets and lack of exercise, many people suffer from various digestive disorders, which lead to reduced energy levels and chronic disease.
With small changes to one’s diet, food itself can act as a gentle daily cleanse. One of the best natural digestive cleansers is ground flax seed. Ground flax seed can be easy incorporated into one’s diet and yields numerous benefits with regular usage.
Flax seed contains a balanced level of soluble and insoluble fiber that, together, act as a natural cleanse and detoxifier. Fiber prevents digestive disorders like constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticulosis. Both soluble and insoluble fiber are undigested. Instead of being used for energy like sugars, fats, and proteins, fiber is excreted from our bodies.
Quite different in their chemical properties, soluble fiber mixes with water in the digestive system and forms a gel, where as, insoluble fiber does not combine with water and passes through our digestive system. Due to the different chemical properties of these types of fibers, they perform different functions in the digestive tract:
- controls and balances the pH (acidity) in the intestines which prevents microbes from producing cancerous substances, thus reducing the risk of colon cancer
- promotes regular bowel movements by preventing waste material from becoming rigid and increases the speed of movement of food and waste through the digestive tract
- binds with fatty acids which reduces the absorption of fats and reduces caloric intake
- surrounds and reduces absorption of cholesterol leading to lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the Bad cholesterol)
- helps prolong stomach emptying time resulting in a slower release of sugars into the small intestines and reduced spiking of blood sugar levels, all of which, reduces risk of heart disease especially in individuals with diabetes
Additional Benefits of Flax Seed
- Along with the benefits of fiber, recent studies have shown that flax seed oil has healing properties for IBD (Crohn’s Disease and Colitis). Flax seed oil seems to be able to heal the inner lining of the inflamed intestines.
- Flax seed contains high levels of alpha linolenic acids, which is a type of plant-derived omega 3 fatty acid, similar to those found in fish. Many studies indicate that consuming alpha linolenic acids can lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the Bad cholesterol) levels. Other benefits show that flax seed may also help lower blood triglyceride and blood pressure. Regular intake of flax seed may also keep platelets from becoming sticky in the circulatory system therefore reducing the risk of heart attacks.
- Flax seed is also abundant in lignan, a type phytoestrogen (antioxidant). Studies suggest that lignan in flax seed has disease-fighting properties including a possible role in cancer prevention especially breast cancer. These studies propose that lignan metabolites are able to bind to estrogen receptors, which then inhibit the onset of estrogen-stimulated breast cancer.
Make a habit of adding fiber rich foods into your diet. The recommended daily intake of fiber is 25g per day with a combination of insoluble and soluble fiber. Part of this daily intake can be enjoyed with flax seed. Just eating whole flax seed yields little health benefit especially when trying to access the soluble fiber and healthy oil instead the seed. Grinding flax seed in a coffee grinder breaks down the seed allowing better access to its’ nutrients and cleansing qualities.
Flax seed oil is susceptible to oxidation and will turn rancid more quickly than other oils. If you pre-grind flax seed and wish to prolong its’ shelf-life, it should then be stored in an air-tight container, in the refrigerator. Do not cook (especially fry) foods with flax seed oil, as high temperatures break will down the oil causing it to lose its’ beneficial properties.
Ground flax seed has a nutty flavor and can be easily added to salads, soups, cereals, baking recipes, smoothies, and stews. Experiment with your recipes using flax seed in moderate quantities.
What Your Food Cravings Really Mean
Ever had a craving you just can’t shake? Is there only one particular food that can always pull you out of an emotional rut? Have you ever wondered where the phrase “Eat your feelings” even comes from?
Of course you have! You’re only human! Most people accept food cravings as a normal part of everyday life without really ever asking “why?” No two bodies are the same, and therefore no two reasons behind a specific food craving are the same. While some may be rooted in nutritional deficits – others may be a deeper signal from our Spirit echoing throughout our bodies.
Your mind, body, and Spirit communicate through an intricate language, which isn’t always easy to decipher. However, with a little effort, you can translate these signals and create the harmony needed for improved health.
For most, we’ve been taught to “overcome” our bodily cues. For example, when a person has a headache, they’re taught to reach for the Advil bottle rather than lying down and drinking lots of water. However, no matter how much you resent, ignore, or overlook your bodily cues – they’re not going to go away.
When looking at food cravings specifically, emotions are one of the most common causes of overeating. Our cravings tend to manifest themselves when we’re feeling vulnerable. Rather than expressing our emotions, we tend to stuff them down with “comfort foods” that give our bodies a false sense of fulfillment. After a while, your body learns this routine and sends cravings in order to create a short-term boost of chemical components. By deciphering the real meaning of your cravings, you can get insight as to what’s truly gnawing at you from within.
Having some knowledge about what our cravings can mean, may help us to reduce unhealthy habits and poor food choices. The following are the three most commonly craved food flavors, and a starting point for you to decrypt what your mind, body, and Spirit are really trying to tell you.