From the category archives:


Flax seeds: The Good and The Bad

by Ed

Ground flax seeds are a great nutritional supplement to most people’s diet. Flax oil is not.

The Good:

  • Flax is high in ALA, an essential fatty acid that has some health benefits.

  • Flax is high in protein

  • Flax is high in lignans, a phytonutrient that protects against breast cancer and other estrogen related cancers.

  • Eating ground flax seeds slows the growth of prostate cancer.

  • Flax is a good source of many vitamins.

  • Flax improves cardiovascular and colon health.

The Bad:

  • Most of the benefits of ALA are only realized after being converted to EPA and DHA, which the human body does very poorly. Fish oils are a much better source of these fatty acids.

  • The oils in flax seeds go rancid very quickly. Flax oil is almost useless for this reason. If you use ground flax seeds, it is best to use them immediately after grinding. Otherwise store them in an airtight, opaque container, in the refrigerator.

  • Flax seed oil actually increases the risk of prostate cancer. This may be due to an excess of ALA in the body. Ground flax seeds do not seem to have this problem.

If you are going to eat flax seeds, the ideal amount is about two tablespoons a day, of ground flax seeds. Although flax oil is very unstable, it seems that the seeds are much less so. Apparently it is ok to eat flax seeds after cooking them. People who find raw flax seeds to be too laxative, have no problem with eating them cooked. So put them in muffins or sprinkle them raw on your cereal or salad.

Alliums against cancer

by Ed

There are a lot of good reasons to eat garlic, onions, and other alliums, such as lowering cholesterol. I recently read that research in China suggests that eating alliums frequently, especially scallions, lowers the risk of prostate cancer.

That makes three vegetables, now, specifically reducing risk of prostate cancer. So tonight, make a nice broccoli, with scallions and tomato sauce

Prostate Health

by Ed

Prostate problems are much more commonly talked about, these days, than they were 10 years ago. There are basically four problems you can have with your prostate. Younger men are more likely to get acute or chronic prostatitis, and older men, benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH or enlarged prostate) and prostate cancer. If you have any urinary symptoms, such as difficulty starting or stopping or weak flow of urine, it is important to get your prostate checked by your doctor. Once you know what you have, it may be better to go with alternative medicine than western.

For acute prostatitis, if you are not a frequent user of antibiotics, and your immune system and digestive system are in good shape, antibiotics are probably the fastest and best way to treat your condition. Be sure to take a probiotic, such as acidophilus, after the antibiotics, to rebalance the intestinal flora. For other men with acute and for all men with chronic prostatitis, I recommend Chinese Herbal Medicine. For the chronic condition, antibiotics have a very poor success rate, and you will have to be on them far too long for the health of your gut and immune system. Chniese herbs are very effective at killing the bacteria in the prostate, with a much lower impact on the good bacteria in the intestines. However, you will still want to take probiotics to keep the intestines healthy. Chronic prostatitis will take many months to resolve, and your herbalist may recommend various lifestyle changes to help the process.

For BPH there are several excellent herbal formulas available now. Ask your health food store to recommend one, if you do not have a herbalist. At the very least, take saw palmetto for the symptoms. It is not a bad idea for any man over 50 to take saw palmetto to keep the prostate healthy.

Cancer is a scary subject for most people, and often a difficult condition to treat. Luckily most prostate cancer is very slow growing. In fact, more men die with it than of it. However, there are some faster growing ones, which seem to be on the rise. Also, with men living longer than before, even the slower growing ones are life threatening. Older men would do well to get their PSA levels checked regularly. Personally, I would choose Chinese herbs at the first signs of potential cancer, but I would certainly not rule out Western Medicine. If you have a slow growing cancer and Chinese herbs work, you will be a lot better off than if you treat it with Western Medicine.

Finally, unresolved emotional issues can be a contributing factor in prostate problems, especially chronic prostatitis and BPH. For younger men, I would ask myself if there were any childhood messages about sex being bad or dirty, or if you are aware of any guilt or shame around sex. For older men it is more likely to be feelings of losing manliness along with virility. Working through those issues can be very helpful in reducing symptoms and overcoming the disease.