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WHY LINSEED IS SO
IMPORTANT FOR US
WOMEN

WHY LINSEED IS
SO IMPORTANT
FOR US WOMEN

Flaxseed poured out of the jar
Flaxseed poured out of the jar

If you’ve ever taken a Body Reset class, you already know how much I swear by those little brown and sometimes golden things. In fact, every female family doctor should prescribe them to each of her female patients. And that goes for the male colleagues and the men just as well.

Here is an overview of all the good things in flaxseed and why I recommend it for daily consumption. Below I give tips on how you can best break down the flaxseed to really benefit from the ingredients.

LIGNANS

Lignans are phytoestrogens. They have very positive properties. They can have both estrogenic and antiestrogenic effects in the body. And so, for example, the lignans from flaxseed or the isoflavones from soybeans – both of which belong to the phytoestrogens – have a proven anticarcinogenic effect. They are probably the main reason why Asian women have significantly less breast cancer than we do here in Europe (canceratlas.cancer.org).

What exactly is happening? The lignans contained in flaxseeds – they are located in the hull – are converted into enterolactone by intestinal bacteria, and this substance is then absorbed through the intestinal wall. This works better the smaller the flaxseeds have been broken down. This means that when people eat whole flaxseeds, hardly any enterolactones reach the body. However, if they are eaten crushed, a lot of them arrive. That’s where the recommendation to eat the flaxseeds coarsely ground comes from.

“There is preliminary evidence that flaxseed lignans may inhibit the growth of hormone-sensitive tumors in particular, i.e., breast, endometrial, and prostate. However, these findings need to be verified in high-quality clinical trials (Goyal et al. 2014; Zittermann 2003).” For more on this, see the S3 guideline Complementary Medicine in the Treatment of Oncology Patients (source).

The German Cancer Research Center writes: “Many studies attribute anti-cancer properties to phytoestrogens, plant constituents with hormone-like effects. Scientists at the German Cancer Research Center have now been able to demonstrate for the first time that the substances also reduce the risk of mortality and the risk of developing metastases or second tumors by up to 40 percent in post-menopausal breast cancer.” To read the study, “Plant ingredient lowers breast cancer mortality,” from the German Cancer Research Center, go this way.

Breast cancer patients have very low enterolactone levels.

Want to learn even more about phytoestrogens? I have written about it in detail in this article.

OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS

“The fatty acids of flax seeds are a particularly important ingredient. These are substances that we must take in daily in sufficient quantities with food, since the body cannot produce them itself. Omega-6 fatty acids (linoleic acid) are found in abundance in various vegetable oils. Omega-3 fatty acids (linolenic acid), on the other hand, are too seldom taken in through food, as they are mainly found in sea fish, for example in salmon, and in algae. They can also be found in small amounts in walnut or linseed oil.” eat-the-world.com
And here, every gram counts.

FIBRE

Flaxseed is one of the top suppliers of fibre, with 27 grams per 100 grams. The hull contains many mucilage substances. These swell in the intestine and stimulate digestion. According to the DGE, we should get at least 30 grams of fibre per day. Flaxseed can contribute exactly to this.

GOLD OR BROWN?

I asked a Linusit expert about this: Alexandra Zodel from Quality Assurance. However, this article was not sponsored. I merely asked and received a competent answer. The idea came to me when Anja asked me on Instagram, “What do you think of the Linusit flax seeds from the health food store?”

“Our golden linseeds are a special yellow linseed variety, which was bred in particular with regard to a very good swelling behavior. The linseed variety used swells very well and for a long time, and the gel formed partially dissolves in water. As described above, the swelling effect is further optimized by the fine break-up. Thus, Linusit® golden linseeds are very well suited for use as an accompanying dietary management for intestinal sluggishness with typical symptoms such as constipation, mucosal irritation and/or diverticula.

The cultivation of our golden linseed takes place exclusively with long-term contractual partners. Each raw material batch is intensively tested. Each batch of finished product is also subject to extensive quality control. In particular, this ensures that the swelling effect always meets our high standards.” – Linusit Expert

And supplementally, I researched further:

“Golden linseeds contain less of the omega-3 fatty acids, yet more of the omega-6 fatty acids (linoleic acid).”

“The brown ones swell far more weakly than the golden ones. With plenty of liquid, you should still consume both types of flaxseeds.”

“The golden flaxseeds taste milder than the brown flaxseeds.” all from eat-the-world.com

HYDROGEN CYANIDE IN LINSEED?

In the case of ground flaxseed from Alnatura, the packaging states:

“Flaxseed contains substances that release prussic acid when crushed. When eating ground flaxseed, prussic acid can be absorbed by the body.”

To this I again let the expert from Linusit speak:

“Flaxseed does not contain prussic acid in the actual sense, but its precursor, the so-called cyanogenic glycosides. These can only be converted when the enzyme necessary for this comes into contact with them. In the case of linseed, the cyanogenic glycosides and the enzyme are located in completely different places in the seed. Therefore, as you also described, prussic acid can only form in crushed flaxseed. In this regard, however, it is important to know that the enzyme in flaxseed, called linamarase, is very inert. This means that even if both substances meet through chewing or grinding of the flaxseed, the transformation into hydrocyanic acid takes place only very slowly.

Furthermore, the enzyme, which consists of protein components, is very sensitive to heat and acid. Thus, it would be inactivated by the very acidic stomach acid during cooking, baking or in the stomach. Small amounts of prussic acid, which are nevertheless formed, are completely harmless to the organism, since they are detoxified in the liver by the enzyme rhodanase and excreted in the urine. The linseeds in Linusit® GOLD linseeds are only finely broken up, i.e. neither crushed nor ground, and should be taken unchewed for full effect (note: e.g. in case of intestinal sluggishness). By the way, finely broken up means that only the outer seed coat is scratched to optimize the swelling effect.”

CADMIUM IN LINSEED?

The Linusit expert writes: “Linseeds are among the oilseeds known to absorb relatively high levels of cadmium from the soil. For this reason, our cultivation takes place exclusively on soils that are low in cadmium. Our contract growers have a great deal of know-how in flax cultivation and can still reduce the uptake with suitable measures if necessary. As a result, we have been able to ensure compliance with a very low limit value, which is still well below the legal requirements and the specifications of the European Pharmacopoeia. Each individual flaxseed batch is tested for cadmium content and only released by our quality control department if our internal limit value, and thus of course also the legal limit value, is complied with.

In general, the cadmium content of a linseed depends on the variety, the cadmium contamination in the soil and the cultivation conditions. Accordingly, there is a wide range of variation in the content. In principle, of course, every food manufacturer must comply with the relevant legal requirements. However, it is up to them to decide how to ensure this.

In principle, the best way to ensure a defined quality is for the manufacturer to know as much as possible about his linseed, especially about the raw material supplier or, preferably, the grower (the shorter the supply chain, the better), and the better he checks the quality. As a consumer, you can ultimately only get information from the producer (homepage, ask if necessary) and thus get an idea of the producer’s quality standards.” – Alexandra Zodel, Linusit

FLAXSEED HORS D'OEUVRE FOR HEARTBURN

The NDR has produced a really good article on the subject of nutrition for heartburn. And linked in it is also a recipe for golden flaxseed gruel:

“To protect the esophagus and stomach lining often helps a flaxseed infusion. To do this, place 1 tablespoon (approx. 10 g) of light-colored flaxseed (golden flaxseed) in a tea bag in a mug, pour 150 ml of boiling hot water over it and let it swell for 20 minutes. Squeeze the tea bag with a teaspoon and remove it. Drink the slightly nutty tasting infusion in small sips throughout the day. Freshly ground flaxseed is most effective for many people. Use should extend over four to six weeks.” NDR 2: Anti-reflux nutrition: end with heartburn and here.

It goes certainly also with brown linseeds, if you have the golden ones just not at hand. The golden flax seeds have an even higher swelling capacity, which is why they are preferably recommended here.

THIS MUCH FLAXSEED PER DAY

Eat two tablespoons of finely ground flaxseed a day (but no more than 20 grams) – you can divide this into several servings or eat it all at once – sprinkle it on your salad, soup and cereal. This was my breakfast every morning on vacation.

And if you have a partner – female or male or anywhere in between – please pass this right along. Flaxseeds are healthy for everyone.

mein Frühstück am Morgen: Joghurt mit Leinsamen, Nüssen, Mandeln und Obst

THIS IS HOW GRIST GOES:

Geschroteter Leinsamen von Alnatura

You can buy ground flaxseed – usually this is only crushed to protect the delicate seed from oxidation. It is best to decant it into a jar at home and put it in the refrigerator.

You can use germinated, ground flaxseeds from Linusit* – the high-end product for “I’m doing something really good for myself”.

This flaxseed mill with Peugeot grinder* makes good forearm muscles: I manage 2 tablespoons in “only” 5 minutes.

Someone wrote to me that she grinds the flaxseed with a hand blender and that it works wonderfully. Unfortunately, I can no longer find who it was.

Nicole asked me: “… if I can also break up the flaxseed in the mortar?”. Sure you can, also makes good forearm muscles.

Kaffeemühle Rommelsbacher

And my favorite is this small coffee grinder EKM 125* from Rommelsbacher with stainless steel container – I bought it now, although I have a Vitamix* at home. And in fact, I now quickly just throw on the small grinder instead of the much larger power blender.

I find particularly good that the container is made of stainless steel. The manufacturer writes: “With a lot of power, coffee beans, but also spices, sugar, nuts and other dry grinds, thoroughly crushed.”

GRIND FRESH EVERY DAY?

Freshly ground flaxseed is the very best, because simply the oxidation could not yet progress so. As a compromise, grind your supply for a week and then store it in the refrigerator.

Leinsamen mit der Leinsamenmühle schroten

THIS IS HOW TO STORE

Always keep ground flaxseed refrigerated, tightly sealed, in a glass, stainless steel or porcelain jar.

If it is too warm, then the bacteria that promote oxidation of the omega-3 fatty acids will also multiply.

If they are stored open, then too much oxygen gets to the delicate germs as well.

If they are stored in light, oxidation is also promoted and, in addition, this destroys delicate vitamins.

If you store them in plastic containers, the fats they contain could dissolve substances from the plastic, for example softeners like BPA, which are very harmful to you. Therefore, glass, stainless steel or porcelain are preferable for storage.

MY 5 TIPS FOR FLAXSEED

  1. when buying flax seeds, look for organic quality from EU agriculture or Canada.
  2. buy sometimes brown and sometimes golden flaxseeds. Both are healthy. The mixture makes it.
  3. don’t be afraid of cadmium and hydrogen cyanide, but …
  4. buy checked quality. I’m off to the health food store now or look online directly at Linusit. And if you live in the UK, I recommend Linwoods products. They are just as picky about their flaxseeds as Linusit.
  5. If you have time, grind your own fresh every day. And if you don’t have time, it’s still better to eat ready ground flaxseeds than none at all.

QUESTIONS

And in my euphoria over the little wonder-bag-like things, I guess I wasn’t clear. This question reached me from the somebodytoldme newsletter community:

“… I’m confused, because on the one hand you recommend to grind flaxseed daily or at most weekly, but on the other hand you also advertise Linusit, which in the 250 gram package then takes much longer to be consumed? Maybe I’m on the line and you can untangle me?”

And because you may have wondered the same thing, here comes hopefully more clarity:

  1. grind flaxseed very fresh and eat directly is best. It would be even better if you would germinate flaxseed and eat freshly germinated, well chewed. But then you have the “problem” that you have much more germs than you can eat. Now you could dry them and grind them … it will be very time-consuming.
  2. If you have no time or leisure for it, then you grind it either at home daily or for a few days in stock or you buy ground or crushed flaxseed. And then store them in the refrigerator as described above.
  3. And if you have little time or leisure and want to do something extra good for yourself, you can buy germinated, ground flaxseeds such as those from Linusit – Leinaktiv – or those from Linwoods if you live in England. What is special about germinated flaxseeds? The sprouting process activates enzymes and creates even more vitamins and secondary plant compounds that you can take advantage of. You also store these ready-bought, ground flaxseed sprouts in the refrigerator because you want to reduce further oxidation as much as possible.

No matter which of the options you choose, eating flaxseed daily will put you way ahead of the game.

“Do I need to put my oatmeal in the fridge now, too?”

No, they don’t have to. But they should be stored in a cool and dark place. In principle, of course, they can also oxidize, but they do not contain as many unsaturated fatty acids as flaxseeds, which are among the top performers here.

Foods with a high content of unsaturated fatty acids are important for us because we need just the omega-3 fatty acids for survival and cannot produce them ourselves.

Oatmeal has only been flattened, which means the germ, which contains the most fatty acids, can still be preserved and thus the fatty acids are also protected. But it would be even better if you squeezed your oatmeal fresh yourself in the morning with a grain squeezer. It could not be fresher and more protected.

“Dear Susanne, how important do you think breakfast is? Especially if you also want to lose weight? I sometimes make myself the muesli with the flax seeds for lunch. But then hardly manage the vegetables in the evening. No food until noon would be a bit of interval fasting then, or just a small amount of flaxseed with seeds and a few berries?” – Andrea

If you don’t feel like breakfast, don’t eat until you’re hungry. Breakfast is overrated in our Western culture. The Hadza in Tanzania hardly eat breakfast. Only if you skip it, then I would go for vegetables rather than muesli already at noon. That way you’ll get your 500 grams of vegetables.

“Do flaxseeds need another food to be well absorbed?”

No, they bring everything. Seeds are the perfect food. Only the crushing is important so that everything reaches you: “The effective ingredients are in the flax seeds, more precisely in the seed coat. There are abundant mucilage substances, which are composed of the sugars xylose, galactose and galacturonic acid, among others. In addition, the seeds contain about 25 percent dietary fibre, about 25 percent protein and 30 to 45 percent fatty oil. It consists mainly of oleic, linoleic and linolenic acid. The latter belongs to the omega-3 fatty acids. It also contains small amounts of lignans.” apotheken-umschau.de

YOUR QUESTION:

You want to know something else about flaxseed, phytoestrogens & Co? Then write me your question in the comments and I will answer it here soon.

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