Flaxseeds are a rich source of micronutrients, dietary fiber, manganese, vitamin B1, and the essential fatty acid omega-3. Compelling evidence suggests it may help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Some call it one of the “most powerful plant foods on the planet”.
The seeds come from the Flax. It is an annual plant that bears light-blue colored attractive flowers. It is one of the easily cultivated crops that flourishes well both in tropical as well as subtropical climates. The flax, is one of the oldest fiber crops in the world, known to have been cultivated in ancient Egypt and China. Flaxseed was cultivated in Babylon as early as 3000 BC.
In 2010, the introduction of over 300 new flax-based food products hit the North American market. Agricultural use has also increased. Flaxseed is fed to chickens to help them lay eggs with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
The seeds are an excellent source of numerous health-benefiting nutrients, dietary fiber, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that are essential for optimum health. The three primary health benefits include:
1. Omega-3 essential “good” fatty acids. One tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of omega-3s that are shown to have heart-heathy benefits.
2. Lignans, have phytoestrogen antioxidant qualities, and are found at a percentage of 75 to 800 times more in flaxseeds than other plant foods.
3. Flaxseed contains both the soluble and insoluble types of fiber.
The Truth About Flaxseed that Every Cancer Patient Must Know
Flaxseed kills ALL cancers
The new meta-analysis (Flax and Breast Cancer – A Systematic Review) was published in a recent issue of Integrative Cancer Therapy, and investigated more than 1,800 records from various academic sources all relating to breast cancer and the effects of flax.
“Current evidence suggests that flax may be associated with decreased risk of breast cancer,” said the researchers. “Flax demonstrates antiproliferative effects in breast tissue of women at risk of breast cancer and may protect against primary breast cancer. Mortality risk may also be reduced among those living with breast cancer.”
The seeds contain lignans, a phytoestrogens considered to have antioxidant and cancer preventing properties. Lignans work by blocking enzymes that are involved in hormone metabolism and interfering with the growth and spread of tumor cells.
Kelley C. Fitzpatrick, director of health and nutrition with the Flax Council of Canada says, recent studies have suggested that flaxseed may protect against breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer.
A 2010 study published in the journal Gynecological Oncology found that hens fed with a 10% flaxseed-enriched diet for 1 year had “a significant reduction in late stage ovarian tumors”, as well as “overall better health and reduced mortality”.  The study authors concluded “These findings may provide the basis for a clinical trial that evaluates the efficacy of flaxseed as a chemo-suppressant of ovarian cancer in women”.
Plant omega-3s help the cardiovascular system with its anti-inflammatory properties while normalizing the heartbeat, significantly lowering blood pressure. They may also be useful in treating arrhythmia and heart failure. Atherosclerotic plaque buildup has been reduced by up to 75% due to the lignans in flaxseeds.
Eating flaxseed daily may also help your cholesterol levels. A study of menopausal women showed a decrease in LDL “bad” level after the women ate 4 tablespoons of ground flaxseed each day for a year.
Daily intake of the lignans in flaxseed may improve blood sugar
Two components in flaxseed, Omega-3s and lignans, may reduce the inflammation associated with Parkinson’s disease and asthma, by helping block the release of pro-inflammatories. Flax seed oil consists of approximately 55% Omega-3s.
One study in 2007, of menopausal women, reported that 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed twice a day cut their hot flashes in half as well as the intensity. The women noticed a difference after taking the daily flaxseed for just one week and achieved the maximum benefit within two weeks.
How much flaxseed is recommended
1 to 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed a day is currently the suggested dose.
If you want to get all the benefits of flaxseed—omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, anti-oxidant and cancer-fighting properties—choose ground flaxseed.