An ally in the campaign for good health comes in the form of flaxseed, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been credited with combating heart disease by lowering blood pressure and helping to keep arteries clear. Studies also are being conducted to investigate its role in "dissolving" tumors, combating diabetes, treating and preventing arthritis, in addition to several other ailments.

North Dakota State University, Fargo, is conducting studies that substitute a portion of the wheat used in pasta with ground flaxseed. "Our, goal as researchers, is to seek information on the product's stability and to see if the ingredients can withstand processing," explains Clifford Hall, Ph. D., assistant professor. Another experiment involves replacing the milkfat in chocolate ice cream with ground flaxseed. While a formal study has not yet taken place, Hall says an informal survey has determined that about 50% of the tasters couldn't detect the change, while the other half said they picked up a "grain-like" flavor. “We are able to give the flaxseed a slightly nutty taste that complements not only vanilla ice cream but baked items."

Flaxseed should be ground up before digestion to be most efficacious and to maximize the intake of dietary fiber. Whole seeds are not digested by the body, and are expelled in their original forms. The flaxseed's hull is rich in ligans, components found in the cell wall material of flax, which have been found to possess anticarciogenic properties, says Hall. While there is no daily requirement for flaxseed, it is suggested that people take 25 to 50g.

Kaye Effertz at 701-663-9799 • AmeriFlax • Write in 233