Health Benefits of Flax Seeds
Include Cancer Prevention

Are you aware that one of the most important health benefits of flax seeds is prevention of chronic inflammation? How the human body benefits from eating these healthy seeds is known since the time of Emperor Charlemagne. So healthy it was that he even passed laws requiring people to plant flax and to make milled or ground flax seeds a part of their diet. Nutrition comes from the seeds as well as the oil that the seeds produce. Flax seed oil is one of the healthy oils like olive oil that can prevent chronic inflammation inside the body.

What is flax seed?

Flax seed comes from the flax plant. It is not a grain but is called whole grain because its nutrients are similar to grains. Flax seed looks like sesame seeds although it is slightly bigger. It can either be brown or golden yellow.

Both varieties offer health benefits of flax seeds because they have the same amount of Omega 3 fatty acids except for the one yellow variety known as solin. The solin variety contains super low Omega 3 fatty acids.

What is recommended: whole or ground flax seeds?

Whole ones can add a crunchy texture to your food but milled or ground flax seeds offer better and easier absorption of their nutrients.

Whole flax seeds can be kept at room temperature up to a year as long they are dry, of excellent quality and stored in a dark place. Milled flax seeds can be stored at room temperature up to 4 months without any disturbance in quality as long as they are dry and stored in a vacuum-packed opaque bag.

Ground flax seeds can be stored at room temperature only for a week. To avoid ground flax seeds from becoming rancid and from losing its nutrition, always store them in a well-sealed container and inside the freezer.

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Why use milled or ground flax seeds? Your digestive system can't break down the whole ones. If you're worried about cost and spoilage, here's what you can do: Buy whole flax seeds because they are less expensive and grind them yourself. This ensures that you can always have fresh ground flax seeds.

By the way, you don't need a big expensive machine for grinding. I have tried using a small electric coffee grinder to get freshly ground flax seeds whenever I need some and I can honestly say it does the work effectively.

What are the health benefits of flax seeds?

According to Lilian Thompson, PhD, a well-known researcher on flaxseed, evidence of its health benefits on cancer is not conclusive yet. But still, studies that have been or being done show that the use of flax seed and cancer prevention are positively related.

Health benefits of flax seeds come from . . .

Alpha Linoleic Acids (ALA): ALA is one of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids that provide health benefits. Flax seeds are rich in ALA. The ALA in flax seeds can . . .

  1. Reduce inflammation. Inflammation feeds the unhealthy cells in your body. When these cells become cancerous, they feed on inflammation for them to grow and spread. It also triggers other inflammatory diseases.

  2. Prevent cancer. Studies show that ALA can delay the growth of breast tumors. If you have female relatives who were diagnosed with breast cancer, (especially the inflammatory type), or you have been diagnosed and are undergoing treatment, consider adding flax seeds to your diet.

  3. Protect your heart and brain. ALA together with EPA and DHA can increase good cholesterol in your blood, reduce triglycerides and controls blood pressure. It delays or stops plaque and blood clots to develop in the arteries of your heart and brain. It also enhances your memory and prevents depression.

Lignans: Flax seeds are the richest source of lignans. Lignans are phytoestrogens, which are nutritious compounds that legumes, seeds and grains contain. Your body alters lignans into hormone-like substances, which are natural and very different from the synthetic animal hormones used in hormone-replacement therapy. The health benefits of flax seeds include:

  1. Relieve menopausal symptoms. They help decrease the frequency of hot flushes and regulate hormonal imbalance in pre-menopausal and menopausal women.

  2. Enhance fertility. Lignans encourage normal ovulation.

  3. Prevent breast cancer. Studies reveal that a woman whose diet include flax seeds during her adolescent years is less likely to get breast cancer.

  4. Prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes. Besides cancer, diabetes is another disease caused by chronic inflammation. If you consume enough flax seeds, the lignans they contain can reduce insulin resistance.

Fiber: Is there fiber in flax seed? Yes. In fact, flax seeds are rich in both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Flax seeds are natural colon cleansers. Its fiber content offers the following health benefits:

  1. Regulate bowel movements. Studies show that there is a positive link between flax seed and constipation relief. Regular bowel movements prevent polyp formation in your colon and rectum. Just make sure that you also drink lots of water.

  2. Prevent colon cancer. One of the benefits of dietary fiber is colon cancer prevention.

  3. Prevent Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is an acquired type of disease. The fiber in flax seeds helps control blood glucose level among adults.

What are flax seed side effects?

Some people report gastrointestinal problems such as indigestion and bloating as flax seed side effects. These side effects can be avoided if you add flaxseeds into your diet slowly. Nutrition experts in the Flax Council of Canada do recommend 1 to 2 tablespoons of flax seeds daily. My personal recommendation is you start with 1 teaspoon per day for a week then add another teaspoon daily for another week until you reach the recommended amount.

Eating too much flax seeds and not drinking enough water may cause obstruction in your bowel or rectum. Too much of it can also lessen the potency of some medicines.

How to add flax seed meal to your diet?

Turn your body into the worst place for cancer to grow in through what you eat. Add ground flax seeds to your fruit shake or smoothie, your breakfast cereal, to the muffins you bake, your stew or casserole and to your green salad. Enjoy the health benefits of flax seeds.

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