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The Many Health Benefits of Flaxseed

Flaxseed has been used for many years for making linen. It’s also known as linseed, one
of the ingredients in paint. The closest it came to being food was its use for livestock feed.
It’s only about a decade ago that science discovered the many health benefits of flaxseed.

Flaxseed is a rich plant source of omega-3 fatty acids. Apart from supporting good vision,
omega-3 also fight weight gain by increasing metabolic rate and they protect against
cancer growth. Flaxseed contains a different type of omega-3 than fish. This type reduces
the incidence of blood clotting, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
In addition, the omega-3 also appears to help prevent atherosclerosis, increase good HDL
cholesterol, lower levels of dangerous LDL cholesterol, and reduce inflammation.
They may also help to reduce depression.

Apart from omega-3, flaxseed is also a rich source of compounds called lignans.
While many plant foods contain lignans, flaxseed contains by far the most, at least 75 times
more than any other plant food. For example, you have to eat 60 cups of fresh broccoli
or 100 slices of whole-wheat bread to get the same amount of lignans in ¼ cup of flaxseed.
Lignans are important because of their powerful antioxidant properties to help blocking the cell-damaging effects of free radicals.
Food rich in lignans can lower the risk of heart disease. A Finnish study of almost 2,000 men found that those men with the highest lignan intake were significantly less likely to die from heart disease than those with the lowest intake.

Flaxseed also shows some potential of reversing kidney damage caused by lupus.
A condition by which the immune system produces harmful substances that attack and
damage healthy tissues.
When researchers at the University of Western Ontario gave flaxseed to nine people with
lupus related kidney disease, they discovered that several kidney functions, including
the ability to filter waste, quickly improved. The researchers believe that the lignans and
omega-3 in flaxseed fight inflammation in the tiny, very fragile arteries that supply blood
to the kidneys, helping reduce the artery-clogging process that can lead to kidney damage.

Apart from the health benefits of the lignans in flaxseeds to protect your heart, they also
fight cancer in your body. Lignans subdue cancerous changes once’s they have occurred,making them less likely to run out of control and develop into full-blown cancer.
Studies at the University of Toronto shows some promise for battling certain types of
cancer, in particular preventing typical female cancers, like breast- and ovarian cancer.

Two additional properties of the omega-3 in flaxseed, apart from its cancer-fighting power,
is the ability of limiting the body’s production of chemicals called prostaglandins.
The importance of prostaglandins is that they speed up tumor growth in large amounts.

To top it all up, flaxseed is also very high in fiber. Three table spoons of seeds contains
three grams of fiber, which is about twelve percent of the Daily Value.
The important role of fiber in your diet is the ability to block the harmful effects of
compounds that over time may cause changes in the intestine that can lead to cancer.

Whole flaxseed provide little benefit. Flaxseed is the one food that provide more
nutritional benefits when processed. So instead, buy the cracked or milled forms, which
readily give up the nutritious goodness packed inside.
Don’t buy the oil. Most of the lignans in flaxseed are found in the non-oil part of the seed.
While the oil may contain some lignans, it doesn’t provide as much as the other healthful
compounds found in the seeds, such as fiber, protein and minerals.

Health Benefits of Brown Rice

Rice is the main ingredient in cuisines around the world
with an estimated 40,000 varieties available worldwide.
In the United States you can buy white and brown basmati rice
from India and Pakistan, Arborio rice from Italy, Valencia rice
from Spain and “sticky”” rice from Japan, to name just a few.

Brown rice is the most nutritious kind of rice, which contains
abundant amounts of fiber, complex carbohydrates and essential
B vitamins. Brown rice retain all four parts of their original
grain kernel – the germ, the bran, a protective layer called
the aleurone, and the starchy endosperm – intact.

White rice only has the high-carb, nearly zero fiber endosperm.
What’s missing? Not just fiber, but hundreds of health-protective
phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals.
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, whole
grains can have 10 times the amount of vitamin E, four times
the potassium, magnesium and zinc; three times the vitamin B6,
and twice the selenium of white rice.

No wonder when you eat at least three servings of brown rice
a day, you cut your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and
overweight.

The body need small amounts of cholesterol for different functions,
for example for making cell walls and for manufacturing essential
hormones. In order to supply the necessary amounts, the liver
produces cholesterol every day. But when we eat a high-fat diet,
the body churns out more cholesterol than it can use.
As a result, the risk of heart disease goes up.
We can avoid this from happening by eating brown rice.
A compound in the bran layer of rice, called oryzanol, has been shown
to reduce the body’s production of cholesterol.
This compound is actually chemically similar to cholesterol-lowering
medications.

In a study at Louisiana State University, people ate 100 grams of
rice bran a day for three weeks. At the end, levels of harmful
low-density Lipoprotein (LDL), cholesterol decreased by 10%, while
levels of beneficial high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
stayed the same. That means a 30% reduction in risk of heart attack.
Ïn combination with a low-fat diet, brown rice is one of the best
foods you can eat for lowering cholesterol”, says Dr.Hegsted.

Fiber offers powerful protection against type 2 diabetes.
Studies show that eating at least three servings of brown rice a day,
cuts the risk for this condition by 21% to 30%. Because fiber slows
digestion and keeps blood sugar low and steady.

In contrast, carbohydrates from refined grains ( white rice) send
blood sugar soaring after a meal, and triggering the release of
more insulin to force the sugar into cells.
Over time, higher blood sugar and insulin levels put you in the
danger zone for diabetes – and also for high blood pressure and
even some forms of cancer.

The insoluble kind of fiber in brown rice acts like a sponge in the
intestine, soaking up large amounts of water, according to Dr. Hegsted.
As a result, stools are getting larger and wetter, so they pass
more easily. Also, larger stools move faster through the colon.
As a result, any harmful substances that they contain, have less time
to damage cells in the colon wall, which may reduce the risk of cancer.

Some researchers estimate that if people would increase the amount of
fiber in their diets to 39 grams a day, they could drop the risk of
colon cancer by 31%.