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.
The Herb Purslane Is A Nutritional Powerhouse
The lovely, moist succulent known as purslane, is 93% water, features dark magenta stems, and rich green, rounded leaves. Also known as Portulaca oleracea, this nutritious, edible weed has collected some colorful nicknames over the years, including: little hogweed, pigweed, and fatweed.
A first-century historian named “Pliny the Elder” suggested that Romans used purslane as the primary vegetable during dinners and as a crunchy addition to salads. Some 18th-century French farmers were known to hate the plant, saying “it’s a mischievous weed meant for pigs.” The herb can be found in Africa, North America, Asia, and Australia.
Some say that Europe is purslane’s native home, but given its succulence, it most likely originated nearer to deserts. The plant has been native to India, Greece, and Persia for centuries, but may have first appeared in North Africa some 4,000 years ago. Some archeologists suggest the plant is prehistoric. Slightly sour and infused with nuanced flavors akin to watercress and spinach, the fleshy purslane is loved by millions throughout the world.
This jade-like plant can be sautéed, juiced, boiled, pickled, drenched in butter, or featured in a delicious salad with oil, salt, and vinegar. It’s a versatile weed that can be grabbed from the Earth and immediately consumed. As it’s often found in plentiful heaps strewn across the countryside, the plant is easy to grow and has provided helpful sustenance throughout the ages, especially during times of famine.
“I have made a satisfactory dinner on several accounts, simply off a dish of purslane, which I gathered in my cornfield, boiled, and salted.” — Henry Thoreau