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I was told to enrich my diet with flax seed and to combine the usual therapy with either oil or ground flax seed. My LDL cholesterol level is very high and flax should help me in keeping it under control. I usually don’t take recommendations of this type for granted, so I want to learn something about flax seed, the difference between ground seed and oil and why is the latter considered to be less beneficial.

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Flax is proven to be rich in essential fatty acids (EFA's) as well as in lignans and fiber. Alpha linolenic acid - one of essential fatty acids - reduces the level of LDL cholesterol, helps in lowering blood triglyceride level and it can also play important role in regulating blood pressure. Lignan, on the other hand, may play an important role in the prevention of cancer, especially when it comes to breast cancer. In order to make your organism capable of using all these ingredients you must use ground seeds, not whole seeds, because whole seeds are just too small and can pass the intestine intact (however, you should always buy whole seeds and grind them right before you intend to use them). Flaxseed is also rich in protein, B vitamins, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium etc. One tablespoon of seeds can give one teaspoon of oil. Flaxseed oil looses much of its healthy components if exposed to light or heat, so it cannot be used in frying process, it must be kept in dark bottles and in the refrigerator. During the extraction of oil from the seeds much of the beneficial ingredients are lost - e.g. lignans and fiber. This is why people usually go for the ground seed. On the other hand, flax seed oil can help in healing the inner lining of the inflamed bowels, and it is also proven to be beneficial in treating Crohn's disease and colitis.
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