Doctor's Note

What was that about milk and prostate cancer? See my video Prostate Cancer and Organic Milk vs. Almond Milk.

Here’s my video series on flaxseeds for both breast cancer prevention and treatment:

Flaxseeds may also help with cyclical breast pain (Flax Seeds for Breast Pain), prostate cancer (Flaxseed vs. Prostate Cancer), diabetes (Flaxseeds vs. Diabetes), and hypertension (Flax Seeds for Hypertension).

More on the wonders of whole grains in:

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  • Matthew Sobel

    Great as always. Thanks Dr. G. Do pre-ground flax seeds purchased at the store have the same nutritional benefits as freshly ground flaxseeds? Grinding flaxseeds is a pretty good workout.

    • Aaron Sands

      Not a fan of the blender?

    • Clinton McMurray

      Cheap electric coffee grinders are not very good for grinding coffee, but they are perfect for grinding flax seeds and the like. Pick one up for $15 or so, grind them up and keep in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

      • Matthew Sobel

        Perfect. Thanks.

      • Tom Zdrojewski

        I got myself one of these. I love it because I used to have trouble with flax in smoothies, but now I grind them in one of the smaller cups then pour them into a bigger cup with my other ingredients. No more trouble for me :)

        http://www.farberwareproducts.com/products/blenders/rocket-blender-with-single-serve-cup-104558.aspx

      • clive neumann

        for years we have used cheap coffee grinders and blenders in the kitchen – replacing them periodically. We now have a Vitamix. – is durable and fast. It will grind anything – I add flax seeds, nuts, frozen fruit.

        • Clinton McMurray

          I have a Vitamix too, but to blend up a fortnight’s worth of flax, I prefer to use a coffee grinder. It’s just easier to handle and does the job fine. Same goes for cumin, corriander, fennel, sesame seeds etc. Just easier to use a small grinder. For curry pastes and the like, when made for a single use, I prefer to use a small food processor ( a Cuisinart with the cutting/grinding dual action blade, as it happens). For soups and smoothies the Vitamix gets the job every time. Horses for courses.

          • macrumpton

            My one complaint about the vitamix is the container is full of nooks and cranniies, and that makes it hard to get all the ground flax out.

          • Thea

            macrumpton: I totally understand! I have a love-hate relationship with my vitamix. It’s more love than hate, but there’s more frustration than I would like. I’m responding to your post in order to mention the new vitamix model. The jar is shorter and wider. It is a bit easier to get stuff out of it. Just thought I would mention that if you hadn’t known about it already. Not that you would get a new one just for that. But you never know when a new vitamix might be in your future. :-)

          • macrumpton

            thanks for the tip. I wonder if the new container would fit on the old base?

          • Thea

            macrumpton: I don’t know for sure, but my understanding is that the old containers fit on the new base, but not visa versa. :-(

      • macrumpton

        If you already have a Vitamix, you can grind a liter of seeds in about 2 minutes, although I usually do about 1/3 of that since they start to oxidize as soon as the shell is broken. I also like to dry white mushrooms at low heat in my convection oven and then grind them into mushroom powder, which you can add to almost anything without much flavor change unless you cook it which lets the flavor out. It also makes a very fast vegie broth with just some onions, garlic and mushroom powder. Add some barley, lentils and leeks and you have the beginning of a great soup. Also dried mushrooms don’t slime which is a huge plus for me.

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      It depends on how long they have been ground for. Dr. Greger says you can store ground flaxseed for a month at room temperature without spoilage or oxidation.

      • Thea

        Joseph: Very helpful post. My thought would be: Pre-ground flax that people buy in the store has a good chance of having been sitting on the shelf for a month or more. I don’t know if that’s true or not. It just seems likely to me. Or even if the pre-ground flax has been sitting there say just 2 weeks, then the consumer now has only 2 weeks to eat the flax they bought. And how would we know if it’s 1,2,3 or 4 weeks that the product has left to be fresh? Those thoughts put the situation into perspective for me, re whether to buy pre-ground or not.

        For me, if I’m going to be making the effort to get flax into my diet, I’m going to want it to be effective. I just use a cheap grinder and fill an empty peanut butter jar as needed. The jar stays in the fridge and gets used quicker than a month, especially because I share with my dog who loves the stuff. So, I feel confident that I’m getting all the benefits of the flax that I worked to get into my diet.

        Just sharing/talking. :-)

        • JJ

          Hi Thea, your dog eats flax? I thought dogs were carnivores.

          • Thea

            JJ: Whether dogs are carnivores or omnivores seems to be in great debate. But even a carnivore can enjoy and benefit from eating some plants. For example, think of cats, who are committed carnivores. It’s my understanding that cats benefit from having some grasses in their diets. Just because cats can eat, digest and get some good nutrients from certain grasses doesn’t mean that cats aren’t carnivores.

            In that same light, even a dog who generally eats a meat-based kibble could also eat, enjoy and benefit from eating some flaxseed paste. (I mix the ground flaxseed with water to make a slimy paste. I also started mixing in some Golden Paste, which is a turmeric mixture. My dog loves it!) So, regardless of where dogs fit into the scale, giving him flaxseed doesn’t hurt anything. Even a wild dog would eat some plants…

            There is so much confusion about what the terms herbivore, omnivore and carnivore means that I have come to dislike those terms a lot.

            As for dogs being carnivores, I can tell you that many dogs, such as my own, thrive on appropriate vegan diets. My dog has been eating V-dog (a vegan dog kibble) for the last 5+ years. And he gets fruits and veggies for treats. My dog is now a year older than most dogs of his breed ever get to. And he is going strong according to all the bloodwork we have done at the vets office to check on his health. So, whether dogs are technically carnivores or omnivores is pretty irrelevant as far as I’m concerned.

            But it’s a great question in the sense that it brings up a discussion on a topic where there is so much confusion. And your question gives me an opening to point out that while I don’t know if there is a good category for dogs, I can say that humans are clearly herbivores from a biological/anatomical perspective. If you want a great article on humans and where we fit into the scale, check out this page to get you started:
            http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/natural.html

          • JJ

            Hi Thea: Thank you for the explanation and for the link. I didn’t mean to pick on you or challenge you. I’ve never had a pet dog or any pet other than fish, so I’m not familiar with the eating habits of dogs. Since dogs in the wild hunt, I presumed dogs to be meat eaters. Carnivorous diet has little carbohydrates, so carnivores’ digestive system, say a lion’s, doesn’t make a lot of carbohydrate-digesting enzymes. Does you dog seem to digest the large amount of carbohydrates in his food without difficulty?

          • Thea

            JJ: re: “Does you dog seem to digest the large amount of carbohydrates in his food without difficulty?”
            I’m not sure what your question is. I can say that my dog’s bloodwork shows that everything is normal. So, he is digesting the nutrients just fine. And if you are asking about his poops, they got better (more firm and consistent) when I switched to the vegan kibble.

            Did that answer the question?

          • mike at the river

            Just had my older Dog in the Vet, who did lab work, and said that the Dog had Lipodemia (high triglycerides). I said I didn’t know dogs could get this, arn’t they mostly carnivores, and Vet said, no, she’s a Domestic Dog, not a Wolf, with different biochemistry. Switched the Dog to a higher quality, senior-dog food, which has less fat.

          • Thea

            mike at the river: Sounds like you have a smart vet. Glad you nipped this potential problem in the bud.

            Just chatting along these lines: They did a study last year or so that showed that the domestic dog has genetic differences (compared to a wolf) in the digestion system. If I understand correctly, those differences allow dogs to better digest carbohydrates compared to wolves. So, on one hand, dogs are so close genetically to wolves that dogs are considered wolves. And on the other hand, we have a *many* studies and observations that tell us dogs are most definitely not wolves. All very fascinating stuff in my opinion.

            Thanks for sharing.

          • Rhombopterix

            I just don’t understand how a dog and wolf can have different biochemistries. I know a vet told you and I am not a vet. I just wish there was some evidential basis to make a claim like that.

            Look, my cat ate a peanut a few nights ago. I was eating them and she decided she needed one. I gave her another one and she ate that. My wife flipped and said it was unnatural and I should stop. So I stopped. But would she ever just dig up a wild peanut and chomp it down? Is her biochemistry different or is she just copying the behaviour of the …errrm “top dog” of our family.

            because my pet will eat some plant material is not an argument to wean them off eating animals.

          • jj

            My cats like to eat different fruits and veges and some forms of grains etc. One cat loves nectarine and peach skins, cantaloupe but not watermelon. I look at this as healthy treats in addition to their regular food.

          • Thea

            Rhombopterix: It is interesting to me that you write, “…because my pet will eat some plant material is not an argument to wean them off eating animals.” (which I partially agree with), but the argument that eating a peanut is not “natural” (without any consideration for the dog’s health) is considered a reason not to let the dog enjoy a peanut. Please believe that that’s just an observation. *Not* a criticism.

            What I really wanted to comment on is this part, “I just wish there was some evidential basis to make a claim like that.” I believe that there is. I’m not sure if the following description of a study counts as evidence of different biochemistries, but I think it does. So, if you are interested:

            ” Erik Axelsson and colleagues compared the genes of wolves and domestic dogs and found some very interesting differences. One of the differences is related to diet: dogs have three genes that wolves do not that play an important role in the digestion of starch (for those of you who are interested, the genes are AMY2B, MGAM and SGLT1). This result supports the “village dog” hypothesis, (of Coppinger and others) that dogs derived from wolves who began exploiting a new ecological niche: human garbage dumps. And not just any garbage dump, but possibly dumps containing food remains that correlate with the beginning of the domestication of plants.”
            from: http://www.patriciamcconnell.com/theotherendoftheleash/dogs-wolves-diet-and-sociability

            Hope that helps.

          • macrumpton

            When you start arguing about what is natural, only raw foods could be natural, and eating cooked food is unnatural.

          • Thea

            macrumpton: I disagree. One of my favorite theories about how humans developed our big/complex brains is that we started eating cooked foods. It requires a whole lot of calories to keep our brains going and when people do the math, it looks like eating cooked food may be the only practical way to get enough of those calories and still have time to do other things necessary for life. Here’s a TED talk if you are interested in learning more: http://www.ted.com/talks/suzana_herculano_houzel_what_is_so_special_about_the_human_brain Other experts, including one guy who has done research into humans and cooking fires back up this theory.
            .
            What could be more natural than for humans to do an activity that made us human in the first place?

          • macrumpton

            I can easily imagine that some cave dog had a bacterial mutation in its gut that allowed it to digest more than the meat and bones that it was usually given, and that nutritional advantage would be enough to make dogs with that bacteria able to survive better in lean times.

          • Thea

            JJ: I want to add a follow up point in response to, “large amount of carbohydrates”. I’m not feeding my dog a human diet. I’m feeding my dog a vegan kibble that has been specially formulated to contain the amount of carbs, fats and protein that dogs are supposed to get. Not considering treats, I would not characterize my dogs diet as having a “large amount of carbohydrates”. I would guess that my dog gets the same amount of carbs (within a range) as anybody else’s dog.

          • JJ

            Hi Thea: This post cleared it. So, the constitution and composition of nutrients in your dog’s meals are similar to those of regular dog food but derived from plants. It was my misunderstanding. My apologies.

          • Thea

            JJ: Yes! :-) That’s it exactly. The point for me is that I feel confident that my dog is getting the nutrients he needs without the contamination (as explained so well on this site) that comes from eating meat products–any meat products whether organic, free range, etc.

          • HaltheVegan

            Thea: In support of your observation that dogs are omnivores, I had a Golden Retriever who just passed away after an extra long life. I fed him regular commercial dry dog food but in addition he loved to eat vegetables and even fruits. He would raid my garden of fresh cherry tomatoes and eat a pear or two when they would fall off the tree. I appreciate your observations and comments here in this thread and your other continuing contributions to the comments section of this great website.

          • Thea

            HaltheVegan: Sounds like a great dog. And one you had to keep an eye on!

            Some similar stories to back up what you are saying: One of my friend’s dogs would delicately reach out and try to pluck blackberries off of wild blackberry bushes when they walked through the country. I’m sure there were some bloody lips (thorn trouble) at some point… My own dog and many others I have seen like to graze on grass like a cow. He just munches and munches if the grass is juuuust right. And twice I have gotten in trouble when my dog quickly (before I could react) reached over or dragged me over to a planter put out by a business and started eating. One planter contained a set of flowers that were apparently delicious. And the other time was some beautiful ornamental cabbage. Argh!

            Thanks for your kind words about my contributions. So much appreciated!!!!

          • macrumpton

            if anyone doubts we are herbivores, compare biting into a squash or fruit, compared to trying to bite through a raw steak. We lack the proper fangs for ripping. Humans really are the revenge of the nerds. Our fangs don’t need to be big and sharp because our brain is our weapon.

          • Thea

            macrumpton: I get your point. Just for sharing, I couldn’t really bite into a raw un-cut squash either and a steak, even if raw, is still quite a bit processed. I think if I were trying to explain it to someone who didn’t get it, I would word it more like: “Compare biting into a whole, fuzzy peach to a biting into a whole, furry bunny. And of course, you have to pull the peach off the tree and kill the bunny with your hands–after you catch it.” ;-)

          • dogulas

            Dogs are omnivores. They have enzymes in their saliva just for breaking down starch, just like we do. They can thrive on the food humans eat, and they can thrive on a diet without meat etc.

          • Johanna

            Hi, JJ: Our dog helped himself to a whole butternut squash that I *thought* I had left safely on a newspaper on the floor. I did not think he would “indulge” in squash, but I learned fast!

          • Thea

            Johanna: I can *totally* sympathize. In the first year or so of getting my dog, I had left 3 very large, raw sweet potatoes on the counter. I came home from some errands and found one sweet potato completely missing, but a new largish mysterious orange stain the carpet. A second sweet potato was partially chewed up on a different area of the carpet. The third was still on the counter. I don’t know if he was interrupted in his snack when I came home or if he had had enough sweet potato for the day.

            Here’s a quote I won’t get right, but the gist is something like: every moment with our dogs, either we are training them or they are training us.

            My dog trained me a lot in the early years when it came to leaving food out.

          • David Johnson

            My dog loves pumpkin and gets 2 TBL per day. At one point a vet tech told us to give it to her to help her digestion (she had diarrhea). After that we just kept giving it to her.

          • The Vegetarian Site

            Omnivores — There are several veterinarian-approved vegan dog foods on the market, meeting or exceeding AAFCO nutritional standards. It’s that simple. But the same cannot be said of cat foods.

          • Raisa Jari

            I believe that Ami Cat meets AAFCO standards. I would check the package but we always put the kibble in a big container. I think I saw it listed there plus it is mentioned on amazon.com that it does. Our 8 year old cat Shazam has been eating it since he was a kitten and his energy is still off the charts like a kitten and has had no health problems whatsoever. I know that this is only one example but I am very happy with Ami Cat and I know that many others too. My mother in law lives with us and puts out a food with animal products in it or her own cat that our other cat Leonardo will eat in addition to the AmiCat but Shazam prefers to eat only the vegan food.

          • The Vegetarian Site

            Ami Cat may well meet AAFCO standards, but as of July it had not been certified. Do you have any further info from the label itself?

          • macrumpton

            My dogs go nuts when i take a carrot out of the fridge. Not very nutritious for them but it is great for their teeth and the fiber makes them very regular, although it is a little disconcerting to see the color of their poop the first time.

        • Rhombopterix

          Your dog? I keep hearing the WFPB bunch drop little bombs like “my vegan cat likes…”. I can’t remember but I think it was Neal Barnard or someone at the top of the Committee talking about their pet’s vegan diet.

          Thea, bless your heart. I know you are a good and thoughtful person so tell me true. Are you feeding your dog plants?

          • Thea

            Rhombopterix: Please see my reply to the original question.

            But to repeat again: absolutely! I did my research about 5+ years ago when my old meat-based kibble brand was bought out by Purina, and I no longer considered that kibble to be acceptable. I was only a vegetarian at the time and would have kept feeding my dog a meat based kibble if I thought it was the best for his health. But I became convinced that a vegan kibble would be best for his health. And I was right. Not only has my dog lived for a very long time for his breed, but the vegan kibble cured a very serious health problem he had been having for some time and that the vets couldn’t figure out.

            Cats are a lot harder to safely feed a vegan diet. It’s possible with some, but not possible with others. Dogs are different. Dogs are pretty easy. There are some gotchas to watch out for, depending on brand and breed. But someone who does their research is likely (based on my experience as well as experience of some of my friends who feed a vegan kibble and the research I have done) to end up with a very healthy dog.

            If anyone is interested, I can (hopefully) find the link to a talk from a well known vet who helps people/dogs make the transition from a meat-based diet to a vegan one successfully.

          • Rhombopterix

            OK I believe you. your dog is living long for his breed (a big dog I take it?). If I can press you on a point, how do you think of lions and wolves…wild carnivores in general. I’ve heard of a zoo that extends cheetah rations with soy. Good idea? This is not a trap…I really want to know what your thoughts are.

          • jj

            There was a very famous vegetarian lioness called “Little Tyke”. Interesting story.

          • Thea

            Rhombopterix: I have an old, old Great Dane! One who still pounces on toys like a puppy and who LOVES his food and treats.

            Fun question about wild animals in zoos. Putting aside any discussion about whether zoos in general are good or not, I thought about it, and I do happen to have an opinion on what we should be feeding say lions and wolves. But it is not an opinion about specific foods, say soy, but a philosophy.

            Here’s what I think humans owe any animal directly in our care (whether a domesticated pet at home or a wild creature kept in a zoo):
            > a healthy diet
            > a tasty diet
            > a diet that will ensure the long term survival of the species
            > and in the context of the above three conditions, a diet that does minimal harm to other species.

            Then, I consider the following:
            > We know that there is great contamination of the animals on our planet (including us humans). So, a diet containing plants, all else being equal, might be healthier than one containing meat. And we know that carnivores sometimes naturally have some plants in their diets. We also have some anecdotes that feeding plants to lions and wolves works well or might be expected to work well. And our technology is likely far enough along to be able to feed carnivores a vegan diet and still meet their specific nutritional needs.
            > And we know that carnivores often like to eat plants or that plants can be made to be quite tasty for carnivores.
            > And we know that we are at the beginning of the 6th great extinction, a big part of which is due to animal agriculture. That “6th great extinction” means the animals you mention, lions and wolves and just about every animal you can think of, are facing extinction.
            > And finally, we know that animal products represent overwhelming amounts of suffering, both by humans and non-humans. (I read an article the other day about human slavery running rampant in the fish industry, especially fish destined for pet food. 15 year old boys are facing terrible violence with no way off the ship. Sick people being thrown overboard. Meanwhile oceans have “dead zones” that are getting bigger and bigger…)

            I think some people get religious when it comes to this topic. “A
            _wolf/lion/etc__ eats __ in the wild and thus the only right thing to feed
            that animal is __.” That doesn’t make any sense to me. We owe a healthy diet. Not say a squirrel. If a carnivore like a lion or wolf can thrive on a diet that is made up of plants or which is supplemented with plants, then that seems like it would be an awesome idea to me in light of the above considerations. The plants would certainly be worth trying out and carefully monitoring to make sure the non-human animals are as healthy as can be expected in captivity.

            What do you think of that as a general philosophy? What are your thoughts about feeding soy to lions?

          • Vegan-ism is fraught with religiousity so careful how you play that card. I can’t speak for Rhombo-watzit but I harbor a distrust of people in this WPF camp. I wish they would be open about their conflict of interest, to wit: How much does your love of animalia bias your nutrition science? Asking that of the cadre of Dr’s at the Cleveland centre, Esselstyn, Campbell and of course Greger and yourself.

          • Thea

            Gregor: re: “How much does your love of animalia bias your nutrition science?” I can only answer for myself. The answer is an unequivocal: None. And this is true whether we are talking about human health or dogs. Since this conversation has been about dogs, I’ll say: I love my particular dog as deeply as anyone else in my family. I would never do *anything* to harm his health, even if it meant supporting animal agriculture to feed him. In fact, I did feed my dog meat for the first years that he was with me because I thought I had to.

            I think I’ve presented a pretty clear picture of my thinking, with the health of the individual in question being the number one consideration. In other words, I feel that I have already answered your question. If you think I haven’t, then all I can do is refer you back to the post that you just responded to or maybe the entire thread.

            re: “…I harbor a distrust of people in this WPF camp. I wish they would be open about their conflict of interest…” If you are talking about human nutritional science here, then I would say that the science speaks for itself. As does the life history of the people you mentioned. For example, I believe that Campbell grew up on a dairy farm believing that dairy was the perfect food. Anyway, I don’t know how anyone could read the life stories of say Esselstyn and Campbell along with the animal experiments done in the name of nutritional science and come away thinking that a love of animals had *anything* to do with their eventual scientific discoveries. The beauty of this topic is that it just happened to turn out that there is no conflict of interest if someone does happen to want to live cruelty-free. It’s a win-win for everyone.

          • Rhombopterix

            Your philosophy covers a lot of ground. And it is clearly something you’ve thought a lot about. I like your contributions here and I won’t dispute your logic.

            Up until I read your post I found it hard to believe a carnivore could get complete nutrition from plants. I believe you when you say that your Dane is happy/healthy without meat. I was taught that whole animals were best for dogs/cats. including the hair and ick. but that was never supported with science. Of course neither is your anecdote, right?

            Gregor – if you read this, Rhombo-watzit is my robotic, beetle-munching doppleganger in Lake Champlain!

          • mike at the river

            I believe I have heard one or two of our great whole-food, plant based Drs. say that cats were “obligate” carnivores, unlike dogs. Perhaps they were referring to the three genes found in domestic dogs.

        • The Vegetarian Site

          If you don’t want to grind flax seed on your own, note that pre-ground flax seed from the store is sold in air-tight, opaque packaging. At the very least, check the ‘best by’ date and store it in your refrigerator or freezer. If you open the package and store at room temperature, oxidation will accelerate. It’s easy to consume a couple of tablespoons of ground flax per day, so a bag in your fridge/freezer shouldn’t last you too long anyway.

        • macrumpton

          I am surprised that they don’t at least refrigerate it or nitrogen or vacuum pack it (can’t oxidize without oxygen). The folks that are going to go to the trouble of adding flax to their diet are the same ones who will likely find out about the oxidation problem.

          • Thea

            macrmpton: Re: refridgeration, etc. I totally agree. I wish they would do that since people are buying the stuff for their health…

      • george

        Joseph: This is reassuring because what I do is to grind enough flaxseeds for about a month and store in the freezer. If ground flaxseed can last a month at room temperature, in the freezer it should be alright.

      • ron

        We just buy Flax Meal that has been ground. After I open the container, I put the flax meal in a plastic sealed container and that is kept in refrigerator. Saves grinding it each time. I usually use the 16oz. in about 2 months.

        • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

          Should be fine. Storing in the freezer is a good move!

      • uni102

        Ground flax seeds sold in the store have an expiration date of about 9 months, and do not suggest refrigeration. I keep seeing people say that you need to consume ground flax seeds quickly to get the benefit. But I have never seen any scientific studies to support it. What evidence supports this conclusion?

        • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

          Great question there may be an answer in the studies posted under “sources cited” – I can take a look if you cannot find anything, but please give me some time (one week), as I have limited internet access currently. Thanks!

  • Leslie

    What does the science suggest’say these days regarding spending lots of time in the ocean, as far as absorbing bad algae, heavy metals, toxins, etc.? Should this be a concern considering all the toxins in fish and the ocean that this website consistently highlights? Is it as simple as this, the logic, or does the human skin provide an effective enough barrier to entry?

    • clive neumann

      I think that your concern should be nuclear radiation. Helen Caldicott advises against swimming in the Pacific. This might be the last year that any of us swim.
      http://enenews.com/senior-scientist-id-be-worried-about-swimming-ocean-hawaii-starting-2015-maher-youre-scaring-radioactive-dangers-japan-will-be-coming-beach-video

      • Leslie

        Eating seaweed from the pacific, nori, etc.?

        I read the link you sent regarding swimming, but I often came across other noted scientists (with no apparent agendas or bias) who claim swimming in Pacific is harmless, regarding Japan. My concern is less so the Japan issue, but the heavy metal mercury in the water, and algae regarding neurological illness, amnesia causing ocean borne algae.

    • Maureen

      I would be interested in this topic as well since I live close to the Pacific ocean and wonder about whether it is a good idea to go for a swim.

      • Leslie

        Exposing body to algae and heavy metals in ocean? Does the skin absorb this stuff? Who knows, but I think it is pertinent for Dr. Gregor to address this considering he spends enormous amounts space on this website claiming that ocean fish consumption is harmful and to be avoided. It just makes sense.

  • Slim055 .

    I’ve been able to relieve much of my older-guy prostate symptoms over the past year by daily consuming 30 grams of ground flax-seed, with my normal WFPB diet. Dr. Greger has in the past referenced some recent research by Dean Ornish and Wendy Denmark-Wahnefried + some others that says this is a good practice I also eat 10 grams of turmeric with 2 grams of black pepper and add ground flax-seed to loaves of homemade whole wheat bread. Rye grain is a little hard to come by if you’re an average grocery store and Costco-type shopper. But you can order it in bulk and pretty cheaply from places like Azure-Standard and other online sellers of bulk wheat and grains.

    • guest

      Slim005: Ten grams of turmeric is about three teaspoons! How in the world do you manage to consume that much turmeric a day without experiencing side effects, like tummy trouble? Thanks.

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Dr. Demark-Wahnefried is paving the way for flax research and cancer! Sounds like you have done your homework. If I may make one suggestion, too much turmeric may increase kidney stone risk. I would be cautions of more than 1 tsp per day.

      • David Johnson

        I don’t have references but I’ve read men with an increased risk of prostate cancer should not take flax seed, because ALA is supposed to be problematic in that for that group (which I find hard to believe). I’m not sure what is supposed to constitute increased risk although I assume it means high PSA (and perhaps family history, %free PSA, etc.). But my understanding is that Ornish and perhaps others say it is helpful.
        Which is it?
        I take about a 1.5 TBL of ground flax seed per day hoping it will help me with BPH but do have some concern because of contradictory claims.

        • Wade Patton

          I was able to completely get away from Saw Palmetto for relief of BPE symptoms, when I switched to WFPB with flax added. I grind 1/4 cup or so weekly and sprinkle/mix it in with other foods, or just eat it straight. Always loved the smell of linseed oil. Also make ww bread with a healthy dose of flaxseed. I like rye, but flaxseed is so much mellower. I don’t concern myself with the nitty gritty details of what “could” go wrong. I let Dr. G fuss over all of that.

        • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

          Hi David. I think this is the study that found high blood levels of DHA may increase prostate cancer risk. Note is was only high-grade PC. “Docosahexaenoic acid was positively associated with high-grade disease.” We still need ALA, as it’s an essential fat. Eating flax is still a-okay for men and this study alone cannot bypass the enormous amount of literature on the safety and efficacy of flaxseed. I think the amount you are taking is fine. Yes, it’s my understanding PSA can dictate prostate cancer risk and doctors will watch that number to see how fast it increases over the months. Depending on the “doubling time” will determine interventions. For more on BPH if interested.

          • David Johnson

            Thanks very much, Joseph!

      • Slim055 .

        Well thanks for the turmeric dosage correction. Hopefully no great harm done. I hadn’t noticed any ill effects, quite the reverse. No doubt I confused my “spoonful” measure, but thankfully a gram number is precise. I must say though in terms of cooking 3 grams seems a very paltry amount. Probably even more confusion exists as to how much efficacy is lost (or gained) with cooked vs. raw turmeric. Take care, people.

        • jj

          “Now why do I suggest cooking with it rather than just like throwing it in a smoothie? Well this effect was found specifically for heat-treated turmeric. Because in practice, many herbs and spices are only consumed after cooking, they tested both turmeric and oregano in both raw and quote unquote cooked forms, and in terms of DNA damage, the results from raw turmeric did not reach statistical significance, though the opposite was found for the anti-inflammatory effects. So maybe we should eat it both ways. ” http://nutritionfacts.org/video/spicing-up-dna-protection/

          • Slim055 .

            Thanks for the quote & link. ;)

  • Slim055 .

    BTW a good blender, like a Vitamix or Blendtec does a very easy and quick job of grinding flax-seed, as well quickly doing 2-4 cups of whole wheat or rye berries for a loaf or two of fresh whole-grain bread.

  • Tom Zdrojewski

    If I’m getting enough lignans from daily flax and enough fiber from flax and fruit and veggies and all that, do I still need whole grains? What additional benefits are there beyond more fiber and lignans?

    • ToBeAlive

      need whole grains as opposed to eating white bread/pasta or on the plate in general? After ample fruit veg and adequate nuts seeds beans, I use grain to fill up. Sweet potato or other starch could take that space on the plate for variety. Summer days, we often skip the starch in favor of a bed of greens for the main dish such as stir-fried mushrooms.

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Whole grains provide an abundance of B vitamins and minerals. I would still encourage plenty of whole grains in the diet.

      • John

        Wouldn’t sprouted rye be more bioavailable in its nutrients than unsprouted rye?
        Thanks,
        John

        • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

          Sure! Lot’s of people are into sprouting. The best research I’ve found on sprouting and raw foods is probably in Brenda Davis’s book, “Becoming Raw.” She did a guest post about paleo diets, too. My take is that sprouting is totally healthful, but I don’t think it’s necessary.

      • elsie blanche

        Joseph, are raw flax seeds poisonous? Some sources are claiming that raw flax is an issue, while cooked/heated flax
        renders the poisonous properties harmless.

        • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

          Raw flax is not poisonous to my knowledge and you do not have to cook it. Toasted flax is a-okay, too.

          • elsie blanche

            Cool. Thank you for this. I noticed today that someone recently mentioned in a post something
            about certain B12 supplements stealing methyl donors, and I’ve heard of that in the past as well
            from others on here and elsewhere. In your experience, is there any research that suggest this
            being an issue?

  • PaulB

    Rye isn’t only a whole grain full of lignans. It’s the second lowest GI grain after barley. Barley 25 to 28. Rye is 33. Keeping blood sugar low and hunger down will help limit cancer growth. Rye’s resilience is why it was mixed with wheat to produce triticale, a hybrid of rye and wheat. Rye is central to the New Nordic Diet headed up by Arne Astrup of the University of Copenhagen. Lastly, rye krisps are one of the few breads that McGlothin and Averill, authors of the CR Way will eat to keep their blood sugar values low. At the end of the day, rye is a winner among grain along with barley. Both rye and barley are better than wheat on a number of metrics including lower GI index, less gluten, more polyphenols and more chubra.

    • Antinutrient

      Rye has been central to traditional nordic diet for a long time. I’m Danish and rye bread along with oat has been a stable in my diet my hole life, more than any other food. My mom used to bake all the rye bread we ate when I was child. Thanksfully these traditional nordic foods seems to have a revival with the New Nordic Cuisine and the rise of new types of high end, quality bakeries with a hole new variety of rye breads.

      It has always puzzled me a bit why rye bread hasn’t really spread to the rest of the world given its qualities mentioned in the video and by PaulB.

    • MikeOnRaw

      When people say “keeping blood sugar low”, can you expand on what that means? What would be too high for glucose test at home? What would be idea in the mind of people trying to keep blood sugar low?

      • PaulB

        Fasting blood sugar between 70 and 85, post prandial no higher 110.

        • MikeOnRaw

          Interesting. I haven’t tested it in the last 3 months but when I did earlier this summer, I was doing about that without much grains and mostly raw fruits. I get the feeling the idea of keeping it low really means keeping it normal, which isn’t really “low”.
          https://youtu.be/sWKA8rEWOpc

    • pat

      What the heck is chubra?

      • PaulB

        It’s the main clexis found in grufta.

  • Psych MD

    Trader Joe’s has a particularly excellent selection of breads. The beauty is that they are not just whole grain but flourless organic SPROUTED grain. I’m reading the label of their Daily Bread Sodium Free, which contains organic sprouted: wheat berries, barley, spelt, soy beans, millet, and lentils, They do have a sprouted rye version as well. They even have a delcious cinnamon version with the same great combination of sprouted grains and no added sugar.

    • Thea

      Psych MD: Great tip. Trader Joes has some really nice nitch products that I have trouble finding other places, especially for the price I can get at Trader Joes. I’ll have to check out that bread that you are talking about.

      I think it is an important distinction to make concerning bread made with flour vs sprouted grain. Thanks for bringing that up.

      • Psych MD

        Well, I just went there to buy some more and the sprouted rye has been discontinued. Too bad.

        • Thea

          Dang!

          Thanks for letting us know. What bad timing on their part.

    • SeedyCharacter

      Yes, that whole line of wonderful, tasty organic sprouted flourless breads is from Alvarado Street Bakery, which is a cooperatively owned bakery with very high standards. You can get the brand in many health food stores–at least here in California.

  • Kitsy Hahn

    “…and fill an empty peanut butter jar as needed.”

    Mmmmmm, peanut butter. :-)

    • Kitsy Hahn

      That comment should have gone below Thea’s. Oh well.

      • Thea

        I knew/saw it. :-)

        Yes, there are no shortage of peanut butter (and almond butter and etc) jars at my house. Yummmm.

  • mwolfson@kmphones.com

    So why don’t they do the same study with flaxseed instead of rye to see if it’s the lignans or something else in the rye?

  • Joe Caner

    I’m surprised no one jump on it yet:
    Just the flax man. Just the flax… :-)

  • Rodrigo Cardoso

    Subtitled into Portuguese and republished here: http://nf.focoempatico.net/pao-centeio-protege-cancro/

  • lokena

    15 slices of rye bread is not uncommon in the Nordic countries, 3 per meal for men, women a bit less :)

  • LarisaZ

    Just as an interesting note, I found some info on pre-1900 Russian peasant way of eating. It appears that an able-bodied adult male peasant ate 1.5 Kg of rye bread daily! That is about 3 pounds. This is plain rye bread – wheat was not available to the peasant. Since they also had no sugar and salt was precious, the food was very plain – baked turnips, cabbage, cucumbers. Nutritional supplements came in the form of wild greens, berries, and mushrooms. Animal foods (rabbit, eggs, chicken, milk, fresh cheese, pork, goat) were rare treats. Most of the health threats came from wild beasts, accidents, famine, harsh winders etc.

  • macrumpton

    Although, 485gms of rye is a lot, they did not test for lower amounts, and for all we know the good effects start at 4 slices a day and level out.
    Another factor is that the Danes and Swedes love their fats; Lots of butter and cheese and they also drink a lot. It is possible that all that animal products (even among LO vegetarians) would be too much for less than a whole loaf of rye lignans to counteract.
    In any case you can probably tell I am just justifying my love of the whole grain rye breads. BTW I am not denigrating the Danes, since I am one.