In my blog, “365 REASONS to use flaxseed – #1 – Flaxseed has the perfect Omega3/Omega6 ratio,” I researched how important the ratio between Omega-3s and Omega-6s was for maintaining health. And I discovered that only two tablespoons of flaxseed has more than 140% of the recommended daily amount of Omega-3s. Just what good are Omega-3s and why should we be concerned about getting our daily amount?
Both of the resources I used for my last blog are excellent and have more than enough information on Omega-3s. However, I decided to choose different resources to use for this blog. The first one, Flax: A Health and Nutrition Primer (4th Edition), by Dr. Diane H. Morris, has two full chapters devoted to Omega-3s and flaxseed.
ALA (alpha-linolenic acid, the parent compound of Omega-3s) interferes with the inflammatory processes. Inflammation is connected with many chronic diseases: cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and Alzheimers. Because of the information available on the anti-inflammatory benefits of Omega-3s, I will discuss that benefit in a separate blog on its own.
Omega-3s are also required for maintaining the nervous system. A deficiency of ALA (the parent compound of Omega-3s) results in poor growth as well as neurological problems such as numbness, weakness, pain in the legs, inability to walk, and blurring of vision.
Omega-3s fight wrinkles by helping make the skin thicker and smoother. As we age, our fat cells in the skin’s third layer thin out and tend to get bumpier. Omega-3s help the skin to become fuller.
Omega-3s help to control acne. A deficiency in Omega-3s contributes to skin prone to breaking out.
Omega-3s boots levels of HDL (the good cholesterol) and helps to clear your arteries. This in turn improves your brain function. And helps to alter your neurotransmitters to help reduce depression.
Omega-3s help the cell membranes of our bodies to remain flexible and responsive. The ALA (the essential fatty acid found in flaxseed) helps to increase the other fatty acids that contain Omega-3s: Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosapentaenoic acid (DPA). This makes up the total Omega-3 content of the cell membranes, which alters the way cell membranes behave in beneficial ways.
Omega-3s help lower blood pressure. The Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) that increases due to ALA (see the paragraph above) helps to prevent artery-blocking clots. Omega-3s also make platelets less sticky, stabilizes your heartbeat and reduces triglycerides.
Both flaxseed and breast milk have high ALA content. As a matter of fact, ALA makes up 75-80% of the total Omega-3s found in breast milk. Since Omega-3s are important for the growth and development of infants, both Canada and the US require that infant formulas have a certain percentage of Omega-3s.
Not only do Omega-3s help expectant mothers provide nutrients for proper infant growth and development, but they also reduce the mother’s risk of depression.
And, if that’s not enough, Omega-3s lubricate the joints, and keep your hair and skin healthy.
Flax – A Health and Nutrition Primer (4th Ed), by Dr. Diane H. Morris, PhD, Flax Council of Canada, Winnipeg, MB, www.flaxcouncil.ca.
The Dr. Oz Show, http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/daily-dose-omega-3
Omega-3 Fats are Essential for Infants (New Flax Facts), by Dr. Diane H. Morris, Flax Council of Canada, Winnipeg, MB, www.flaxcouncil.ca.
365 WAYS to use flaxseed: #2 – Pot o’ Gold Dressing
This recipe was created by Victoria Laine, and can be found on page 55 in her latest cookbook: Real-Life Vegan (10 weeks of complete whole-food meals with gluten-free, vegetarian and meat-lover variations). Victoria has also written Health by Chocolate, which is available by e-book. For information on both these cookbooks, see the link at the end of the recipe.
To make a single bottle of the salad dressing:
- Grind 2 tbsp. of whole golden flaxseed in a spice or coffee grinder or use a high-powered blender.
- Add 2 to 4 cloves of garlic to the blender and process.
- Add 1 cup of water, 3/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tbsp. of raw liquid honey or agave nectar, and 1 tsp. dry mustard.
- Process several minutes until thick and golden.
- Store in a salad dressing container and keep refrigerated.
- Keeps for 6-8 weeks when refrigerated.
Add your favourite herbs and spices a teaspoon at a time until you get the desired flavour.
For each 1/2 cup of Pot o’ Gold Dressing, add a handful of spinach, arugula, parsley or cilantro and blend. This will turn your dressing green!
For more information on the benefits of flaxseed, check out the following websites:
For more information on Victoria Laine, Nutrition & Yoga, and her cookbooks, Health by Chocolate and Real-Life Vegan, check out her website at: