Flaxseeds (or linseeds) are the seeds of the flax plant which is used to make linen cloth. Flax was first domesticated in the Fertile Crescent region. Flax was cultivated extensively in ancient Egypt where linen was used in priestly and royal clothing and temple walls had paintings of flowering flax.
Many people are adding flaxseeds and ground flaxseed meal to their diets as flax is gluten-free and low-carb. The flax seed also carries a big nutrient payload. While it’s not technically a grain, it has a similar vitamin and mineral profile to grains and has more fiber, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids than most grains. In addition, it does not contain gluten.
Although flaxseed contains all sorts of healthy components, it owes its primary healthy reputation to three of them:
- Omega-3 essential fatty acids, “good” fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s.
- Lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. Flaxseed contains 75 to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods.
- Fiber: Flaxseed contains both the soluble and insoluble types.
- Cancer: Recent studies have suggested that flaxseed may have a protective effect against breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer.
- In animal studies, the plant omega-3 fatty acid found in flaxseed, called ALA, inhibited tumor incidence and growth.
- Cardiovascular Disease: Research suggests that plant omega-3s help the cardiovascular system through several different mechanisms, including anti-inflammatory action and normalizing the heartbeat.
- Diabetes: Preliminary research also suggests that daily intake of the lignans in flaxseed may modestly improve blood sugar
- Inflammation: Two components in flaxseed, ALA and lignans, may reduce the inflammation that accompanies certain illnesses (such as Parkinson’s disease and asthma) by helping block the release of certain pro-inflammatory agents.
- Hot Flashes: One study of menopausal women, published in 2007, reported that 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed mixed into cereal, juice, or yogurt twice a day cut their hot flashes in half. The intensity of their hot flashes also dropped by 57%. The women noticed a difference after taking the daily flaxseed for just one week and achieved the maximum benefit within two weeks.
Considered as generally safe.
Unknown, please consult your nutritionist.
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Source: Magee MPH RD, Elaine ; WebMD, “The Benefits of Flaxseed”, www.webmd.com/diet/features/benefits-of-flaxseed