Flaxseed has been used for many years for making linen. It’s also known as linseed, one of the ingredients in paint. The closest it came to being food was its use for livestock feed. It’s only about a decade ago that science discovered the many health benefits of flaxseed.
Flaxseed is a rich plant source of omega-3 fatty acids. Apart from supporting good vision, omega-3 also fight weight gain by increasing metabolic rate and they protect against cancer growth. Flaxseed contains a different type of omega-3 than fish. This type reduces the incidence of blood clotting, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. In addition, the omega-3 also appears to help prevent atherosclerosis, increase good HDL cholesterol, lower levels of dangerous LDL cholesterol, and reduce inflammation. They may also help to reduce depression.
Apart from omega-3, flaxseed is also a rich source of compounds called lignans. While many plant foods contain lignans, flaxseed contains by far the most, at least 75 times more than any other plant food. For example, you have to eat 60 cups of fresh broccoli or 100 slices of whole-wheat bread to get the same amount of lignans in ¼ cup of flaxseed. Lignans are important because of their powerful antioxidant properties to help blocking the cell-damaging effects of free radicals. Food rich in lignans can lower the risk of heart disease. A Finnish study of almost 2,000 men found that those men with the highest lignan intake were significantly less likely to die from heart disease than those with the lowest intake.
Flaxseed also shows some potential of reversing kidney damage caused by lupus. A condition by which the immune system produces harmful substances that attack and damage healthy tissues. When researchers at the University of Western Ontario gave flaxseed to nine people with lupus related kidney disease, they discovered that several kidney functions, including the ability to filter waste, quickly improved. The researchers believe that the lignans and omega-3 in flaxseed fight inflammation in the tiny, very fragile arteries that supply blood to the kidneys, helping reduce the artery-clogging process that can lead to kidney damage.
Apart from the health benefits of the lignans in flaxseeds to protect your heart, they also fight cancer in your body. Lignans subdue cancerous changes once’s they have occurred,making them less likely to run out of control and develop into full-blown cancer. Studies at the University of Toronto shows some promise for battling certain types of cancer, in particular preventing typical female cancers, like breast- and ovarian cancer.
Two additional properties of the omega-3 in flaxseed, apart from its cancer-fighting power, is the ability of limiting the body’s production of chemicals called prostaglandins. The importance of prostaglandins is that they speed up tumor growth in large amounts.
To top it all up, flaxseed is also very high in fiber. Three table spoons of seeds contains three grams of fiber, which is about twelve percent of the Daily Value. The important role of fiber in your diet is the ability to block the harmful effects of compounds that over time may cause changes in the intestine that can lead to cancer.
Whole flaxseed provide little benefit. Flaxseed is the one food that provide more nutritional benefits when processed. So instead, buy the cracked or milled forms, which readily give up the nutritious goodness packed inside. Don’t buy the oil. Most of the lignans in flaxseed are found in the non-oil part of the seed. While the oil may contain some lignans, it doesn’t provide as much as the other healthful compounds found in the seeds, such as fiber, protein and minerals.
About the Author: Adrian Joele became interested in nutrition and weight management while he was an associate with a nutritional supplement company. Since 2008 he wrote several articles about nutrition and weight loss and achieved expert status with Ezine Articles.com. He has been involved in nutrition and weight management for more than 12 years and he likes to share his knowledge with anyone who could benefit from it. Get your free report on nutrition and tips for healthy living, by visiting: http://www.nutrobalance2.net
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omega-3, metabolic rate, LDL cholesterol, inflammation, depression, female cancer, heart disease, fiber, protien, minerals,