Linseed Tea – How To Make It & Health Benefits

Picture of linseeds and linseed tea on a saucerIn last month’s “Foundations of Health” blog series, I wrote about the importance of water for hydration.  This month, I’m taking a look at linseed tea.  Linseeds (also known as flaxseeds) are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids.  They are also rich in fibre.  But, most importantly, they have an amazing mucilaginous quality that, when made into linseed tea, allows the body to hold onto water.  In fact, linseed tea is one of the most hydrating drinks you can have, coming a close second to water itself!

Importance of hydration

Your body is made up of approximately 75 trillion cells, which need the best possible internal environment to live in to maintain optimal health.  Two things crucial to cell health are oil and water.  We need them both to run our body systems, just like a car!  So linseed tea is an excellent way to re-introduce oil and water to our cells.

Once our cells know that they are getting enough good quality hydration, they can start to release toxins, as long as our routes of elimination are working properly (lovely fluid lymph drainage, fluid blood flow, good liver detoxification processes, good bile production and good elimination via our bowels twice a day).

This is incredibly important for reducing inflammation, which is implicated in pretty much every health condition, including chronic pain, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, cysts, fibroids, endometriosis, neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, etc.

How to drink linseeds

picture of a string mopYou can also drink the seeds whole, which will introduce fibre to bulk out your stools so that you can eliminate more waste as the linseeds gently cleanse the intestinal wall like a mop!  They will pass through whole, so don’t be alarmed if you see them reappear in the toilet!

Because they are so good at hydrating, they really offer a soothing message to our cells, to such an extent that drinking 1 litre of linseed tea a day can actually have a profound effect on anxiety and panic attacks!  I call it liquid Valium because of its calming, soothing effects.

How to make linseed tea

So that’s the benefits, but how do you make it?  Well there are two ways, the traditional way and the cheat method.  The traditional way is even more effective at soothing and calming as it creates a more mucilaginous consistency, but the cheat method is good for those who would find the traditional method another stress – remember, stress = dehydration!

You can increase the amount of linseeds to make a thicker tea (I find the thicker tea more soothing) or reduce them to make a thinner liquid which some people find more palatable.  If making it the traditional way, you can make a batch and store it in glass bottles / jars for up to 3 days in the fridge.

Cheat spelt out with scrabble lettersQuicker method

So, for the cheat method, when you wake up get yourself a litre stainless steel flask (not plastic due to its toxicity), pop 2 tbsp linseeds in, fill the flask to the top with boiling filtered water, pop the lid on and leave for 6-8 hours.  When you’ve let it “brew” for a few hours, sip throughout the day, drinking the seeds whole for their cleansing effect.

The traditional method involves a large stainless steel pan, filled with about 2 or 3 litres of cold filtered water.  I use 5 tbsp linseeds for a thick tea, you might want to start off with 3 or 4 and see how you like the consistency.  Better to start low and build up as many people find the thinner it is, the more palatable.  Bring the seeds and water to boil but as soon as you see it starting to boil, switch the hob to the lowest heat as it can overflow very quickly, leaving a gloopy mess all over your cooker!  Then leave it to simmer on the lowest heat for an hour.  After an hour, turn it off and leave it to stand for 6-8 hours.  After its “brewed”, drain off the seeds and store in glass containers in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Happy hydrating!

 

References

Goyal, A., Sharma, V., Upadhyay, N., Gill, S., & Sihag, M. (2014). Flax and flaxseed oil: an ancient medicine & modern functional food. Journal of food science and technology51(9), 1633-53.

Kajla, P., Sharma, A., & Sood, D. R. (2014). Flaxseed-a potential functional food source. Journal of food science and technology52(4), 1857-71.

Su, K. P., Matsuoka, Y., & Pae, C. U. (2015). Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Prevention of Mood and Anxiety Disorders. Clinical psychopharmacology and neuroscience : the official scientific journal of the Korean College of Neuropsychopharmacology13(2), 129-37.

Water – How Much Should we Drink and What’s the Best Way to Drink it?

Picture of flowing waterIf you think about it logically, we are made from water.  Did you know that our bones should be 40% water, our blood is between 85-90% water, as is our lymph that carries toxins out of our cells and which is a vital part of our immune system.

Our digestive juices, our gastrointestinal lining, the fluid that keeps our discs in our back from wearing away, even the enamel of our teeth contain water.  We have around 75 trillion cells in our body, that need to be around 70% water for optimal health, and the cells in our brain and spinal cord need even higher water content, at around 85%!  So it’s clear to see how lack of adequate water intake can affect our brain function, our backs, the elimination of waste from our bodies, our digestion, even the ability of our cells to make energy!  This alone can lead to conditions such as anxiety, back pain, digestive issues, migraines, the list is endless.

Fluid loss

Again, if you think about it, we lose water on a daily basis through our normal bodily functions such as breathing, sweating, urinating, defecating – 4 pints, in fact, every day!  We lose further water when we cry, when we cut ourselves, when we vomit or have diarrhoea and, for us ladies, when we menstruate.  And did you know that stress dehydrates us too?

The work of Dr Masaru Emoto  shows how thoughts can affect water molecules.  Given that we are made from water, it’s logical to conclude that even our thoughts can dehydrate us!  So it’s easy to see how we can quickly become dehydrated if we are not replacing those 4 pints of water every day.

Many people think that having a juice or a cup of coffee will help them hydrate, but that’s not the case. Water needs to be:

Still

Carbonated water can actually alter our blood chemistry because of the gases within it

Pure

Ideally water needs to either be filtered or glass bottled. Our tap water today contains numerous Picture of plastic-bottled watercontaminants, toxins, hormones, bleach in the form of chlorine and even the remnants of other people’s medications! In some locations it also contains fluoride, of which there is much research of its toxic effects on the brain. Plastic water bottles leach chemicals into the water that mimic oestrogen and play havoc with our hormone balance.  You may have seen a recent study make the news headlines, which found that drinking from a plastic water bottle likely means ingesting microplastic particles (1). When I tested myself some years ago I had traces of plastic in my own system, which is toxic and causes havoc with our health.

Empty

As soon as we put anything in water, it becomes something that our bodies have to work at to break down. Even when we put something as simple as a squeeze of lemon juice in the water or some apple cider vinegar, that water then becomes more like a food that our bodies have to break down, so it does not have such a powerful hydrating effect.  In addition, many fluids such as tea and coffee or sugary juices can actually cause us to lose water instead of helping us hydrate.  Did you know that it takes 128 molecules of our internal water supply to process the 4 molecules of caffeine in a cup of coffee?

Warm

If water is too hot, the body needs to do something with it to cool it down and it can be quite abrasive on our digestive tract, and if it is too cold, then it shocks our system and the body has to use energy to warm it up before it can utilise it. The ideal temperature at which to drink water is body temperature. Mix ¾ pint of cold and ¼ pint of boiling clean water, and our cells will suck it up and utilise straight away.

Timed

The best time to drink water is half an hour before each meal. This will help our digestion as water is essential for us to make our digestive juices. However, drinking too close to a meal or with a meal will dilute our digestive juices and make it harder for us to digest our food. For this reason, it’s a good idea to leave drinking any fluids for up to at least an hour after eating, optimal time being 2 hours, especially for people with digestive problems.

So if we are losing 4 pints of water a day it is crucial that we replace them on a daily basis. But if you are someone who doesn’t drink much water, in the way described above, then it’s a good idea to build up gradually, because as soon as you start to rehydrate your cells will start to let go of any excess toxicity they’ve been holding.  For the same reasons, it’s also a good idea not to drink more than 1 pint in an hour and to keep your maximum intake of water to 4 pints a day, unless advised otherwise by your nutritionist / naturopath.  If you have kidney problems it is recommended to increase your water intake under supervision and at a much slower pace.

Next month I’ll be looking at another drink, that we can introduce in addition to our 4 pints of water, to further increase hydration – linseed tea!

Happy hydrating!

References

El-Sharkawy et al. (2015). Acute and chronic effects of hydration status on health.

Popkin, B. M., D’Anci, K. E., & Rosenberg, I. H. (2010). Water, hydration, and health. Nutrition reviews68(8), 439-58.

Riebl, S. K., & Davy, B. M. (2013). The Hydration Equation: Update on Water Balance and Cognitive Performance. ACSM’s health & fitness journal17(6), 21-28.

S.A. Mason, V. Welch, and J. Neratko (2018). Synthetic Polymer Contamination in Bottled Water. State University of New York.