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WOMEN OF CHILDBEARING AGE:  Consumers are getting mixed messages about eating fish.  The American Heart Association advises that adults eat two servings of fish per week in order to get enough omega-3 fatty acids.  However, in March, the FDA issued a warning that women of childbearing age should restrict fish consumption to no more than 12 oz. per week.  Widespread mercury levels in fish, which can remain in the body for many years, pose a risk to future children.  Women should be informed about flaxseed, a lesser-known but increasingly popular source of omega-3s.

Flaxseed and flaxseed oil are incredibly good sources of the essential fatty acid known as alpha linolenic acid.  This is one of those substances that is necessary for life and must be consumed in foods because our bodies do not manufacture it.  In this case, alpha linolenic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid, similar but not identical to that found in fish.  Although we don't know exactly why, consumption of fish (and fish oil) has been linked to a reduced risk of fatal heart disease.  We do know that substituting unsaturated oils of almost any type for saturated fat may reduce blood cholesterol and thereby the risk of heart disease.

Flaxseed also contains some important phytochemicals, most notably lignans, which are a type of phytoestrogen and also provide fiber.  It is possible that they may have some antioxidant and anti-cancer properties as well.  

Alpha lipoic acid is one of those supplements that might seem to be new because we are suddenly hearing so much about it, but actually it was discovered almost 50 years ago.  This substance, which is required for normal energy production, is produced by the body in sufficient quantities to meet our basic needs.  However, in the 1980s, it was shown to be a powerful antioxidant when there was more of it circulating in the body than needed.

The following list shows the ingredients of flaxseed per 100 grams (1/2 cup):

    Flax Oil:  35 grams
        Alpha-Linolenic Acid:  20.7 grams
        Linoleic Acid:  4.9 grams
        Oleic Acid:  6.7 grams
        Stearic Acid:  1.4 grams
        Palmitoleic Acid:  1.8 grams

    Protein:  26 grams
    Fiber:  14 grams
    Mucilage:  12 grams

    Minerals:  14 grams
        Potassium:  .74 grams
        Phosphorus:  .70 grams
        Magnesium:  .38 grams
        Calcium:  .21 grams
        Sulphur:  .21 grams
        Sodium:  .046 grams
        Chlorine:  .043 grams
        Iron:  .0077 grams
        Zinc:  .0057 grams
        Manganese:  Trace
        Silicon:  Trace
        Copper:  Trace
        Fluorine:  Trace
        Nickel:  Trace
        Cobalt:  Trace
        Iodine:  Trace
        Molybdenum:  Trace
        Chromium:  Trace

    Water:  9 grams

Our flaxseeds are brown (not golden), edible and are grown domestically in the Midwest.  They have a cadmium (a metal) level of .3mg per kilo.



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