Flaxseed

A STEP FORWARD ON A JOURNEY BACK TO BASICS Economics of Nutrition In 1977, Joseph Califano, the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, stated that something had to be done about health-care costs in America, which were $229 billion annually--or more than $1,000 per person. Something had been done. By 1989, the health-care figures had ballooned to almost 1.5 billion a day, twice the 1977 figure.

To put more air in the health-care balloon, in 1988 President Reagan signed a bill that included a major-medical type of Medicare that would raise the amount of dollars spent on medical care by, some say, exorbitant amounts. Moreover, the number of people involved in providing health care in the United States--over five million--makes it one of the largest industries in the country.

No other country spends such enormous amounts, actual or per capita, on the health of its citizens. Based on these figures, citizens of the United States should be the healthiest people in the world, right? Not according to surveys on world health. Because of these facts, more focus has now been placed on wellness health care rather than on sickness medical care.

Nutrition is perhaps the most easily modified environmental factor that can directly contribute to improved health. A study conducted by G. Briggs, based on data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, estimated that improved nutritional status of North Americans might reduce the national health bill by one third.

The USDA conducted a study in 1971 that estimated that dramatic potential savings from major health problems would take place if diets could be improved. Examples include: reduction of heart and vascular problems by 25 percent; reduction of the number of people with arthritis by 50 percent; and reduction of the number of deaths and acute conditions from cancer by 20 percent. Today these figures are considered quite low.

The high costs of poor nutrition on one side, and the economic benefits of good nutrition on the other, would seem to support a national concern for the concept that better nutrition is a viable, low-tech, low-cost way to attain the goal of meeting the health needs of the public.

A Change in Dietary Fat Since the beginning of the century, dramatic changes in food consumption in the U.S. have taken place. Fruits, grains and vegetables have been replaced by processed, nutritionally deficient, fatty foods and refined sugar.

In 1909, the average person in the U.S. consumed about 125 grams of fat per day. Today, the consumption is closer to 175 grams, an increase of some 40 percent, or about 50 pounds extra per year. Fat consumption has risen from about 33 percent of total calories daily to almost 50 percent, and is still increasing. Of the total increase in the consumption of fats and oils, shortening, margarine, refined salad oil and cooking oils account for 50 percent.

These statistics, when combined with the dramatic increase in degenerative diseases in this country, point conclusively to the link between good diet and good health.

Flaxseeds fit into the picture of good health perfectly because of the high content of essential fatty acids, or good fats, Omega 3 and Omega 6. Due to their volatility, these essential fatty acids have been purposely processed out of most foods in order to extend the shelf life of the products. A process that is profitable for manufacturers, but hazardous to the American consumer.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has entered into a three-year, $2 million contract with the National Cancer Institute to study the effect of flaxseed on various health concerns. As part of the Institute's ongoing Designer Foods program, the FDA will conduct experiments confirming flaxseed's role in fat and cholesterol metabolism, bone mineralization, and in the immune system. The research will make flaxseed one of the most intensively-studied nutrients used in any food product.

Flaxseeds supply the body with the essential fatty acids. Not only are flaxseeds richer in Omega 3's than fish oil, but they pack more fiber ounce for ounce than oat bran. How the body responds to the essential fatty acids is remarkable. The list below is just a sample of the countless studies conducted using flaxseed in the diet and the benefits observed.

Dr. Johanna Budwig treated seriously ill cancer patients with flaxseed oil and low-fat cottage cheese. Over a period of approximately three months, tumours gradually receded. Symptoms of cancer, liver dysfunction, anaemia and diabetes were completely alleviated.

In Great Britain, Dr. Sinclair conducted specific research and determined that even a relative deficiency of the essential fatty acids plays an important part in the causes of arteriosclerosis, coronary thrombosis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes mellitus, hypertension and certain forms of malignant diseases.

In Canada, Dr. Horrobin found that alcohol does its damage to the fetus and to the liver by interfering with normal essential fatty acids metabolism.

A research project in Australia used low concentrations of flaxseed oil to successful combat strep infection in hospitals. In 1982, Dr. J.R. Vane shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his work proving how the metabolism of Omega-3 fatty acids helped prevent heart problems.

In the U.S., Dr. Donald Rudin found that Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency is the basic cause of major mental illness, because fatty acids provide the substrate upon which niacin and other B vitamins act to form the prostaglandin-3 series tissue hormones (special mission fatty acids) which regulate neurocircuits through the whole body.

Again, in the U.S., Dr. Patricia Johnston found that a diet containing 10 percent flaxseed oil could drastically change the prostaglandin content of serum and the fatty acid context of human breast milk by a factor of ten, within five days. Flaxseed, with its rich concentration of essential fatty acids, is truly a dietary need whose time has come LV Publishers, Inc., and are not intended as a substitute for a consultation with your physician.

In case of medical questions or uncertainties, the reader is encouraged to seek the advice of his/her own physician or health care practitioner. The products listed have not been evaluated by the FDA and, therefore, cannot claim to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease.

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