Flaxseed is a rich source of healthy fat, antioxidants, and fiber. The seeds contain protein, lignans, and the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, also known as ALA or omega-3. Flax is one of the oldest fiber crops in the world. It is known to have been cultivated in ancient Egypt and China
The nutrients in flaxseed may help lower the risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. For this reason, it is sometimes thought of as a functional food, a food that can be consumed to achieve health purposes.
Flax is one of the oldest fiber crops in the world. It is known to have been cultivated in ancient Egypt and China. In Asia, it has played a role in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years.
Today, flaxseed is available as seeds, oil, powder, tablets, capsules and flour. It is consumed as a dietary supplement to prevent constipation, diabetes, cholesterol, cancer, and other conditions.
However, not all of these uses are supported by research.
Fast facts about flaxseed
Flaxseed has long been thought to offer health benefits.
It contains fiber, fat, protein, and various minerals and vitamins.
These nutrients may offer protection against cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular problems.
Consuming ground flaxseeds enables the body to absorb the nutrients more effectively.
The therapeutic and beneficial properties of consuming flaxseed are not yet completely understood, and there is little evidence from high-quality research to confirm its benefits.
However, it contains nutrients which may help prevent a number of health problems.
Possible benefits include helping prevent cancer, reducing cholesterol and blood pressure, and protecting against radiation.
Flaxseed contains omega-3 fatty acids. These are thought to disrupt the growth of cancer cells and to prevent their development. Consuming omega-3 oils may help protect against different types of cancer.
It also contains lignans. Lignans are thought to have antiangiogenic properties. This means they stop tumors from forming new blood vessels. The lignan content of flaxseed is thought to be over 800 times higher than that of other foods.
The lignans in flaxseed may help it protect against a variety of cancers, especially if consumed for life as a part of a healthful diet and lifestyle.
In a study of 161 men, published in 2008, consuming flaxseed appeared to stop prostate cancer tumors from growing, especially if the men also consumed a low-fat diet.
There have been several studies on breast cancer prevention and one large study found that flaxseed in the diet reduced the risk for breast cancer