The Benefits of Flaxseed (Linseed)
The benefits of flaxseed, or linseed, as it is also commonly known, is due to the high levels of omega 3 essential fatty acids, flaxseed lignans, and fibre content.
Energy Fields Linseed has a high concentration of "good fat" and 50 - 60% of the omega 3 essential fatty acid ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). ALA can be synthesized by the body into EPA and DHA, which are the essential fats found in fish oil.
Flaxseed benefits the body by promoting good health and is a food that can easily be incorporated into your daily diet.
Flaxseed provides the richest source of plant lignans, which belong to a highly potent anti cancer phytochemical family.
Flaxseed lignans are made active by bacteria in the human intestine and are converted into potent hormone like substances. Research suggests that these hormone like substances may block the action of particular cancer causing agents in the body. Studies in the laboratory have also found that lignans help to protect against certain cancers, particularly breast and can be effective in reducing or blocking tumour growth, particularly in breast and colon.
Flaxseed benefits to your health are evident due to the fact that it contains both soluble and insoluble fibre. The soluble fibre in flaxseed can be an effective cholesterol lowering agent, and the insoluble fibre can help regulate bowel movements and prevent constipation without the use of laxatives. The fibre in the flaxseed absorbs water, and helps to decrease the time taken to move through the colon.
Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids
Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids cannot be made in the body, and most people do not get enough in their daily diet. This can lead to imbalances in the body, which in turn lead to health problems. Flaxseed provides polyunsaturated "good" fat, and this ALA has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol levels and help to prevent the build up of deposits in the arteries. Other studies have found that when ALA was increased in the diet, the risk of stroke and heart disease were reduced.
Flaxseed and Cancer
It has become clear that there is a link between diet and cancer. Research has found that the addition of ALA in the diet of women recently diagnosed with breast cancer, had a slowing effect on tumour growth. This could be due to the fact that studies have shown that ALA decreases the inflammation which leads to cell growth in cancer.
Flaxseed and Diabetes
The benefits of flaxseed being incorporated into a healthy diet has been shown in studies that resulted in a decrease in blood sugar levels. More research is needed to measure blood sugar levels and flaxseed in type 2 diabetics.
Flaxseed and Immune Disorders
Flaxseed in the diet can help to reduce inflammation that causes certain immune disorders like psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
Flaxseed can also be used to help condition the skin from the inside, and to reduce inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis. It may also improve brain function due to the conversion of ALA to DHA in the body, which is found to improve brain cell communication and development.
How to use your flaxseed
The benefits of flaxseed can be achieved by adding it whole to your daily cereal, it can be blended into your smoothie or baked into muffins and bread. A meal can also be made by grinding the flaxseed, however, once ground, the meal is less stable and should be refrigerated.
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