Health Benefits of Flax Seed
Flax Fights Cholesterol
The consumption of flaxseed is associated with a reduction in total
cholesterol, including the LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides. Study after
study has shown a positive response to eating ground flax seed daily. Eating low
fat foods, increasing your exercise, limiting the salt, sugar and eating flax
seed daily are a few ways that you can win the battle against high
Flax Fights Diabetes
Nutritionists are instructing their diabetic patients to eat flax daily. It
has been discovered that the omega-3 fat and high fiber in flax may play a role
in the fight against diabetes. In a study conducted by the University of
Toronto, participants who ate flaxseed bread had blood sugar levels 28% lower an
hour after eating than their counterparts who ate bread made with wheat flour!
Flax Fights Cancer
Flaxseed is high in lignans, up to 800 times the amount as in any tested
plant food. Lignans (a phytoestrogen) have been called by H. Adlercreutz (in his
article “Phytoestrogens: Epidemiology and a Possible Role in Cancer
Protection”), natural cancer-protective compounds. Flax seed is also high
in alpha linolenic acid (ALA) which has been found to be promising as a cancer
fighting agent. The American National Cancer Institute has singled out flaxseed
as one of six foods that deserve special study. Flax seed's high fiber aspect is
also beneficial in the fight against colon cancer. Epidemiological studies note
that diet plays a major role in the incidence of colon cancer. Research has
shown that increasing the amount of fiber in your diet reduces your colon-cancer
risk. Flax seed, high in fiber, lignans, alpha linolenic acid, is a key player
in the fight against cancer, particularly breast and colon cancer.
Flax Fights Constipation
Flax is high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. One ounce of flax provides
32% of the USDA’s reference daily intake of fiber. Flax promotes regular bowel
movements because it is high in insoluble fiber. Flaxseed's all natural fiber
helps to absorb water, thereby softening the stool and allowing it to pass
through the colon quickly. When adding fiber to your diet, it is important to
make sure that you are drinking at least eight glasses of water daily. Without
enough liquids, fiber can actually cause constipation! In the fight against
constipation exercise, eat fruits and vegetables, drink eight glasses of water
daily and add two to four tablespoons of flax to your daily regime!
Flax Fights Inflammation
Flax is high in Omega 3 essential fatty acids. That’s good news for people
who suffer from inflammatory disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis. Health experts, such as
former Surgeon General C. Evertt Koop, recommend eating foods high in Omega 3’s
for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. It is the inflammation within
the joints that cause so much of the pain associated with arthritis. The January
1996 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that
the participants in a study that took flax oil daily reduced inflammatory
responses by as much as 30%.
Flax Fights Menopausal Symptoms
Hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, moodiness…ah, the joys of menopause.
Can flax really help? Yes it can! Flax, like soy, is a phytoestrogen.
Phytoestrogens are estrogen-like substances that are found in plants. Flax is
the richest known plant source of phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens act as a
therapy and help to stabilize hormonal levels. This stabilization of
hormonal levels helps to lesson the symptoms of menopause.
Flax fights Heart Disease
Heart disease, the number one killer in America, has claimed the lives of too
many of our family and friends. Years of a sedentary lifestyle, super size meals
and processed foods has finally caught up with us. Can flax help? Yes it can.
Numerous studies have been done on the effect of flax on heart disease, yielding
many positive findings. Flax has been found to help reduce total cholesterol,
LDL levels (the bad cholesterol), triglycerides. Flax helps to reduce clotting
time and thereby reduces the chance for heart attacks and strokes. Regular
intake of flax protects against arrhythmias and helps keep the arteries clear
Flax and the Immune System
Across the table, your co-worker sneezes, no tissue in sight, you feel a
light spray hit your face and shudder. Standing in a crowded elevator, in a busy
mall, or in an airplane, you sometimes feel like you can’t escape getting at
least one or two colds each year…or can you? Research has found that eating flax
daily favorably affects immunity, the body’s ability to defend itself
successfully against bacteria and viruses. Two components of flax, lignans and
ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), have been found to affect immune cells and compounds
that control immune reaction.
Flax fights “The Blues”
It’s that tired feeling that a good night's rest won’t shake… that listless
down in the dumps feeling that you just can’t get rid of. We call it “the
blues”, otherwise known as atypical depression, the most common form of
depression. Preliminary research suggests that eating a diet rich in flax could
slash your risk of ever feeling “down in the dumps”. Follow up studies show that
just 2-3 tablespoons of flax daily can help up to 2/3rds of severely depressed
women bounce back within eight weeks. Flax, says Udo Erasmus, PhD, has a mood
boosting ingredient: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) that is essential for the proper
function of brain cells, yet up to 85% of women aren’t getting enough of it.
Early research conducted by Dr. Martha Clare Morris of Chicago’s
Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center notes that a diet rich in omega-3
fatty acids is believed to be important for brain development. She stated that
some participants in the study saw a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s from eating a
diet high in Omege-3 fatty acids(Flax is the richest source of Omega 3’s in the
plant kingdom). More research is needed in the area of flax and its relation to
depression and brain function, however preliminary research is very promising.
How can Flax
- Flax is very high in lignans, which have anti-tumor properties—lignans act
as antioxidants that could mirror the results of Tamoxifen, the anti-cancer drug
for breast cancer.
- Flax is a natural food that has been consumed for thousands of years by many
civilizations with noticeable health benefits and no artificial drug side
- Omega 3’s—flax is recognized as the richest source of essential fatty acids
(EFAs) such as alphalinolenic acid (ALA and Omega-3 fatty acids).
- Lignans—flax contains high levels of lignans, which are natural compounds
that help prevent many types of cancer, such as breast, colon and prostate
- Fiber—as a whole grain, flax contains high levels of both soluble and
insoluble fiber, which has been recognized by the National Cancer Institute as
an essential part of your diet for the prevention of many cancers.
- Your body cannot make the essential fatty acids, Linoleic
(Omega-6) or Linolenic (Omega-3), from other elements; instead, they must be
consumed as part of your daily diet. Research has indicated that we consume too
much Omega-6’s and not enough Omega-3’s, but flaxseed contains these essential
fatty acids in perfect balance.
- In proper balance, omega-3’s and omega-6’s work to form the membranes of
every cell in your body, play a vital role in the active tissues of your brain,
and control the way cholesterol works in your system.