Flax & Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Flax and Omega 3 Fatty Acids
One of the major deficiencies in the American diet today is that we are not getting enough omega 3 fatty acids necessary for many functions in the body. The evolution of the human species was accelerated through a diet rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, where seeds, nuts, and fish were always eaten. Then omega 6 to 3 ratio was close to 1:1, which is ideal for a diet. The problem with the American diet is that the omega 6 to 3 ratio is now 16:1 which is horrible.
As this problem has gradually transitioned to the forefront, more and more flax and fish oil advocates have stepped up to reduce this deficiency. Flax seeds, both milled and whole, have been found to assist in many metabolic processes in the body. Freshly ground flax seeds will provide the best source of omega 3 fatty acids that a seed possibly can. Another way to boost the omega 3 content in your diet is to consume fish oil pills. 6-12g of fish oil can be taken per day. Small fish like krill are less likely to have the toxins that bigger fish may have been exposed to.
What is Flax?
Flax is a seed that contains ALA (Alpha Linolenic Acid) which is an omega 3 fatty acid. Flax is also classified as a polyunstured fat. Whole seeds are used for digestion problems, and the milled flax seeds can be used for a source of omega 3 fats and have been seen to reduce Low Density Lipoproteins, or bad LDL cholesterol, using flax seed over a long period of time.
Where can I find it?
Most stores have milled flax seed next to the baking area. Whole seeds may be found by the supplements or in the seed and nut isle. *Ideal stores will have bins full of whole flax seeds*
How do I use it?
You may sprinkle milled flax on salad, mixed in shakes, used as egg alternatives in baking and many other uses. Use your imagination in the kitchen!
What are the benefits of flax?
- Alleviate constipation
- Reduce hot flashes in menopausal women
- Lowered LDL
- Raise HDL
What are the disadvantages of flax?
The ALA in flax seeds can be converted into EPA, a very powerful omega 3 fatty acid. In order for this conversion to take place there needs to be delta-6-desaturase. Delta-6-Desaturase is inhibited by alcohol, high blood sugar, high saturated fat, and constipation. So if your diet is poor there is a lower chance that the flax seeds will convert into omega 3 fatty acids.