Paavo Airola - Nutrition Forum - Let's Live - August 1977 Index

Flax Seed

Q. I would like some information on flax seed. I understand it is very beneficial, and I would like to know its value, such as protein, carbohydrates, and the value it has to our bodies. I am hypoglycemic, and I have to keep my carbohydrates extremely low so that I feel better. Would I get benefit from flax seed if I use it as one of my snacks? A.C., Macomb, ILL.

A. Flax seed is one of the best possible foods, not only for hypoglycemics, but for anyone. Although in America, flax seed is hardly ever used for human food, in many countries, notably eastern Europe and South America, flax seed is consumed in many forms as a staple food.

Flax seed (or linseed, as it is also called in Europe) is valuable mainly for its high quality oil. It is the richest natural source of two very important essential fatty acids: linoleic and linolenic acids. It contains 44 percent linoleic, 17% linolenic, and 27% oleic acids. These fatty acids are often referred to as Vitamin F. Flax seed is low in carbohydrates and high in excellent quality protein. It has been considered in many cultures (for instance, in ancient Greece and Rome) as both a delicacy and a nutritious endurance food. The Indians of the Andes use it extensively as their favorite food - ground flax seed with barley, cooked as a porridge-like dish.

Because of the high content of very perishable unsaturated fatty acids, flax seed, when ground, or in the form of flax seed oil, turns rancid very rapidly - in about one day. Therefore, flax seed oil is almost impossible to obtain fresh; and, if flax seed is ground, it should be consumed right away.

Flax seed is a highly mucilaginous food and has always been used in folk medicine as a gentle treatment for constipation. One tablespoon of flax seed and one tablespoon of raw bran, soaked in one glass of water overnight and drunk the first thing in the morning, will help to relieve most cases of intestinal sluggishness and constipation. Ground and cooked as a thin cereal, flax seed has been used in treatment of peptic ulcers. In biological medicine, ground and boiled flax seed is also often used as a poultice on swellings, bruises, and boils.

The best way to use flax seed as a part of the Optimum Diet is to grind about 1 tbsp. of seeds in a seed grinder and sprinkle on yogurt, fruit, or vegetable salad, or other dishes. Or, also ground, it can be mixed with juices or plain water. In the hypoglycemia diet, such a drink can be used as an in-between meal snack. Finely ground, flax seeds can also be added to soups, cereals, and other dishes. However, by far the best way, nutritionally speaking, to consume flax seed is in its raw form, ground and mixed with drinks or soured milks such as yogurt and kefir. Flax seeds are sold in health food stores.

Low Blood Pressure

Q. I would like to see something on low blood pressure. Mine, at age 69 is 100-110/55-65. My doctor says don't worry about it. The insurance agent says "good", but it sure is no fun. Everybody writes about high blood pressure, but nary a word on hypotension. - A.I.S., Corpus Christi, Tex.

A. I must agree with your doctor and the insurance agent. Don't worry about it, your blood pressure is good and within normal range. Consider yourself as being very fortunate. People with low blood pressure outlive those with high blood pressure.

Raw Bone Meal

Q. In many of your writings, you recommend raw bone meal as a supplement. I have been unable to procure it. Would you please advise where I can purchase this type of bone meal. - Mr. I.E.P., Rock Springs, Wy.

A. I have received many similar inquiries. Normally, we do not mention brands in this column. Exceptions to this rule are made when such mention would really be of tremendous help to a great number of readers and when a product is really difficult to obtain.

Throughout the years, there have been several brands of raw bone meal available. Personally, I have been using one called Peak. My bottle lists the manufacturers as Essential Foods Inc., Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53233. I suggest you inquire at your health food store for this brand, and if they don't have it, they can order it for you through the above-mentioned company. The kind I use is labeled "raw veal bone meal." It comes in tablets or powder form. Needless to say, I am not in any way affiliated or associated with Essential Foods Inc., nor with the health food industry.

Fasting For Children

Q. I have never read any advice regarding fasting for children. I have a nine year old daughter who needs to lose 10-12 pounds. She is quite active, playing basketball in winter and swimming almost daily in summer, plus all the rope jumping, hula hooping, etc., normal for her age. Yet, when she diets, she can't seem to lose more than 4 or 5 pounds, and they always creep back on. We don't eat junk food, but my husband insists on having potatoes and gravy frequently. And, of course, there are always junky refreshments at Brownie Scout meetings. When school is out this summer, could she fast on juice for maybe one week each month until she reaches the ideal weight? I would fast with her for moral support.

She is energetic, but has had several colds and ear infections every winter - fewer this year than before. I have her on lots of vitamins and minerals, plus thymus gland extract. Should she continue with the supplements while fasting? - H.F., Lonsdale, ARK.

A. You are asking questions which are all answered in detail in my two-part article on fasting elsewhere in this issue and in the September, 1977, issue of Let's LIVE.

In a nutshell, here is what I recommend:

  1. Children, up to about age 14, should not fast unless so prescribed and supervised by a physician. The reason: fasting can have a therapeutic value only if its philosophy and medical justification are intellectually understood and fully accepted - otherwise, it is a starvation, with negative results on the body as well as the mind.

  2. As a general rule, supplements or drugs are not taken during fasting.

Grains And Phytates

Q. In reference to your Nutrition Forum in February, 1977, Let's LIVE, concerning grains and phytates, can phytates be destroyed by pouring boiling water over the ground grains - or must they be cooked for a certain length of time?

This is extremely important to our family, because we have been using raw ground grains. - D.C., Ridgefield, Conn.

A. Pouring boiling water over grains will not break down phytates sufficiently to make minerals and trace elements, assimilable, although this method is slightly better than just soaking grains overnight in room temperature water. Grains, whole or ground, must be actually cooked, as in cooked cereals or breads. But, if you insist on eating grains raw, the sprouting of grains will also break down the phytates and release the minerals for easier assimilation.

Eggs: Raw Or Cooked

Q. I understand that recent research has shown that you would have to eat 40 eggs (raw) for the whites to interfere with your absorption of biotin in the intestines. Do you now recommend taking both egg white and yolk raw? What is a palatable way to do this? - M.M., Occidental, CA. I

A. The best ways to eat eggs are:

  1. Soft boil eggs in shells for 2% minutes. The white will~be cooked, while the yolk will be raw, just warm.

  2. Separate yolk from white, poach white only, then mix with raw yolk and eat as sort of scrambled eggs.

White Vinegar

Dear Dr. Airola: I have found white vinegar to be a marvelous beauty help. Rubbed on the fingernails, it prevents splitting nails, if applied and left on the nails several times a day. White vinegar is also a marvelous skin softener for the feet, where hardened calluses are caused by wearing nylon hose or sandals. I thought maybe your readers might like to have these tips. By the way, your column has helped me more than once. - Mrs. D.H. Ackerman, Dayton, Ohio

Preventive For Hysterectomy

Q. What would you suggest as a preventive for hysterectomy? - V.B., Detroit, Mich.

A. Hysterectomy is a surgical removal of the uterus - it is not a condition or disease. To avoid hysterectomy, you must avoid anything and everything that leads to a uterus so badly diseased that it must be removed.

Here are some of the causes that have been shown to be involved or linked to the pre-cancerous or cancerous development which is the most common reason for hysterectomies:

  1. Prolonged use of birth control pills.
  2. Prolonged use of any birth control device, such as I.U.D., foams, diaphragms.
  3. Prolonged estrogen replacement therapy as treatment for menopause or post menopause, even with such "natural" preparations as Premarin.
  4. Untreated vaginal infections and disorders.
  5. General lowered resistance to disease due to health-destroying mode of living - inadequate diet, smoking, lack of exercise and rest, emotional and physical stresses, etc. '

The total avoidance of the above-mentioned contributing factors and adherence to a health-building lifestyle and Optimum Diet as advocated in this Forum, will give you the best possible assurance in the future that hysterectomy can be prevented.

Sexual Abstinence

Q. In your fine book, How To Get Well, in the section "Prostate Problems", you state: "Avoid undue abstinence from sexual gratification. Develop sexual regularity". Does this mean that only these of us who are single and live a high ethical standard of reserving sex for marriage are in danger of developing prostate problems? Highland Park, NJ.

A. In my book, I mentioned "the undue abstinence from sexual gratification and sexual irregularity" as one of many contributing causes to prostate problems. Even married men may at times, for many reasons, have irregular sexual gratification. Contrarywise, many single men enjoy regular sex. I don't think marital status necessarily assures sexual regularity, although in most cases it may be a contributing factor. By the way, the total long-term abstinence from sex (we are talking in terms of decades, even a lifetime) may not be as bad as irregularity. Deviation from the established rhythm and sexual excitation without the natural conclusion in the form of ejaculation are the most harmful practices. Of course, the maintenance of a healthy prostate also depends on optimal nutritional supports and specific nutritional factors, as specifically outlined in my book.