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Flaxseed Health Benefits and Uses

By |April 25th, 2014|

Flaxseeds have been cultivated for their health benefits for 5000 years but it is only in the last few decades that nutritional science has realized just how good they are for us.

“Wherever flaxseed becomes a regular food item among the people, there will be better health.” Mahatma Gandhi.

I love adding flaxseeds to my meals and baking!  Let’s learn more about this Powerfood.

Essential  Flaxseed Health Benefits

1. Flaxseeds are one of the foods highest in soluble and insoluble fibre;
4 Tbsp flax meal = 8 grams of fiber.

  • Great for detoxing of the body. They contain a gummy soluble fiber called mucilage which protects intestinal flora.
  • Helps keep bowel movements regular eliminating toxins.
  • Blocks excess acidity thus improves digestion.
  • The fibre has cholesterol-lowering effects.
  • The high fiber helps stabilize blood sugar.

2. Flaxseed Lignans Fight Cancer, Infection and More

  • Flaxseeds Reduce Prostate Cancer: Research studies show lignans can slow the growth of prostate cancer cells.
  • Flaxseeds help with Breast Cancer Survival: Three studies followed thousands of women diagnosed with breast cancer were published at PubMed Central® 1. 2. 3. They found “Lignans might play an important role in reducing all-cause and cancer-specific mortality of the patients operated on for breast cancer.”
  • Lignans seem to have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties.
  • Lignans may reduce pre-menopausal symptoms, promote fertility and prevent Type 2 diabetes.

3. Flaxseed Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids Reduce Inflammation.

  • Many chronic diseases (heart disease, arthritis, asthma, diabetes) are developed from too much inflammation; this is enhanced by having too little Omega-3 intake. Flaxseed oil can be a real help.

Benefits of essential fatty acids:

  • increases “good” Cholesterol levels
  • for organ health
  • keep joints supple
  • a healthy brain; very important when a child’s brain grows the fastest, in utero and during infancy.
  • a healthy heart and arteries
  • can nourish immune system
  • help keep bones strong
  • for a smooth skin

4.  Flaxseed Meal is Low Carb, Low Glycemic Index, and Gluten Free.

  • Although flaxseeds are not a grain, they have a similar vitamin and mineral profile and are often used in grain type recipes.
  • For those on a low carbohydrate diet, or a gluten free diet, flaxseed meal is perfectly safe.  It has a low glycemic  index of 32 and with it’s high fiber is good for weight loss.

Flaxseed Trivia:

  • Hippocrates used flaxseed for relief of intestinal discomfort.
  • The Egyptians used linen (made from flax seed) to wrap their mummies.
  • Christ wore linen in his tomb. Homer tells of sails made of linen in his Odyssey.
  • Laws were passed requiring people to consume flax seeds for its health benefits by King Charlemagne in the 8th century.
  • Flax was one of the original medicines, used by Hippocrates himself.
  • Some flax varieties are  grown for oil, some for their fiber to make linen.

Flaxseed History:

  • Stone Age: Flax remnants were found in Stone Age dwellings in Switzerland.
  • Around 3000 BC:  flaxseed was cultivated in Babylon.
  • 8th century: King Charlemagne passed laws requiring his subjects to consume it because he believed in its health benefits.

Flaxseed Nutrition:

  1. Contains high quality protein; 4 Tbsp flax meal = 6 grams of protein.
  2. Contain vitamins B-1, B-2, C, E, and carotene.
  3. Contain many minerals (iron, zinc, and trace amounts of potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium)
  4. Has vitamin E and carotene, two nutrients which aid the metabolism of the oil.
  5. Contain over a hundred times more of a phytonutrient lignin, than high lignin food such as wheat bran, buckwheat, rye, millet, oats, and soybeans.

Flaxseed History:

  • Stone Age: Flax remnants were found in Stone Age dwellings in Switzerland.
  • Around 3000 BC: flaxseed was cultivated in Babylon.
  • 8th century: King Charlemagne passed laws requiring his subjects to consume it because he believed in its health benefits.

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