The reason why flaxseeds are considered as the “most powerful plant foods on the planet” is completely justified. They are rich in micronutrients, dietary fiber, manganese, vitamin B1, and the essential fatty acid omega-3 and can reduce risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes.
The seeds come from the Flax. You can recognize it by its light-blue colored attractive flowers. This plant is easily cultivated and flourishes well both in tropical as well as subtropical climates. Flax is also one of the oldest fiber crops in the world, known to have been cultivated in ancient Egypt and China and was also cultivated in Babylon as early as 3000 BC.
Flaxseed is being fed to chickens in order to help them to lay eggs with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Moreover, the seeds are a great natural source of nutrients, dietary fiber, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that are essential for optimum health.
The main health benefits that the flaxseeds offer are:
- One tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of omega-3s
- Contain both the soluble and insoluble types of fiber.
- Lignans, have phytoestrogen antioxidant qualities, and are found at a percentage of 75 to 800 times more in flaxseeds than other plant foods. They block enzymes that are involved in hormone metabolism and interfering with the growth and spread of tumor cells.
According to the new meta-analysis published in a recent issue of Integrative Cancer Therapy that 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.”
Kelley C. Fitzpatrick, director of health and nutrition with the Flax Council of Canada, reports that recent studies have suggested that flaxseed may protect against breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer.
The journal Gynecological Oncology published a study from 2010 where it was discovered 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”.
The omega-3s contained in the plant can help the cardiovascular system with its anti-inflammatory properties while normalizing the heartbeat, significantly lowering blood pressure, and may be useful in treating arrhythmia and heart failure.
By eating flaxseed daily, It may 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.
The Omega-3s and lignans are able to 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.
According to a 2007 study researching the effects of the seeds on menopausal women, it was learned 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.
Currently the suggested dose is 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed a day.