Top 3 Benefits Of Flaxseed In Our Diet

    The use of flaxseed in our diet dates back to the times of the ancient Egyptians. They utilized flaxseed for medicinal purposes. The good news is that scientists of the 21st century are in full agreement with this centuries-old practice. Research continues to unveil the abundant impact of flaxseeds on improving health and well-being.

    Flaxseeds contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein, healthy plant-based fats, and antioxidants. They can work towards preventing cell damage and boost one’s energy levels, immune system, and cardiovascular health. Flaxseeds also support the nervous system, skeletal system, and many other bodily processes. Vitamins and minerals present in flaxseeds include:

    Flaxseeds And Heart Health

    Flaxseeds are rich in Omega-3s and Omega-6s, which are essential fatty acids the body cannot make on its own. We must acquire these fatty acids from the foods that we eat such as through fish and flaxseeds. These Omega-3 fatty acids are key to one’s overall cardiovascular health. They lower blood pressure in people with hypertension, and may also reduce the risk of heart attacks. According to a  placebo-controlled, randomized FlaxPAD trial, patients fed 30g of milled flaxseeds daily for 6 months experienced a remarkable decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

    Researchers also found that one of the top 3 benefits of flaxseeds is their ability to decrease the progression of atherosclerosis, which is the accumulation of cholesterol, fat and other substances within your artery walls brought about by dietary cholesterol or high trans fat. Additionally, it has the ability to lower circulating trans fat levels. A study demonstrated that rats placed on a flaxseed supplemented diet prior to and after the induction of a heart attack, receive less intense heart attacks, left ventricular dilation, and irregular heart beats.

    Flaxseeds And The Brain

    Omega-3 fatty acids also contain docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These acids play a role in brain health and development. In particular, we know that DHA aids in pre- and postnatal brain development. When lost, it can result in poorer performance in spatial and learning tasks. A study in which newborn puppy brains are heavier and contain significantly greater amounts of both ALA and DHA when mothers receive flaxseed during pregnancy demonstrates this. The same heightened brain mass is also true in pups consuming milled flaxseed or flaxseed oil soon after birth. 

    Researchers further found that depressive symptoms were reduced and improvements occurred in motor hyperactivity and spatial memory in direct correlation with increased intake of flaxseed. 

    Flaxseeds And Cancer

    On top of the heightened levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseeds also contain a group of bioactive components called lignans. This is another one of the top 3 benefits of flaxseeds, because of the potential to protect the body from cancer. In a recent clinical study in which subjects were told to eat a muffin containing 25 grams of flaxseeds for 40 days, there was a noticeable reduction in tumor growth among women recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Another study observed the effects of flaxseeds on prostate cancer. In this study, subjects were asked to eat a low-fat diet with 30 grams of flaxseed daily. Results showed a reduction in prostate specific antigen levels (a marker of prostate health) in men with a precancerous prostate condition, prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia, as a result. 

    Research remains ongoing to determine more in-depth results on flaxseed/ lignans overall role in treating cancers.

    Concluding Thoughts

    To conclude, this centuries-old tradition of utilizing flaxseed as medicine continues to prove effective today and has been verified through repeat studies.  What’s more is that the benefits of flaxseed continue to evolve.  Recent breakthroughs involve evaluating the impact of flaxseeds on gastro-intestinal health and diabetes, proving there is still much to learn about the benefits of flaxseed.

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