Despite it’s tiny size, flax seed (also known as linseed) has been shown to prevent everything from heart disease to breast cancer. Flax seed is not a “grain” per say but it does have a similar mineral and vitamin profile as a grain. In my opinion, flax seed is necessary in everyone’s diet. Flax seed is so important that the USDA updated the food pyramid to include flax seed oil to the “healthy fats” section which already includes fish.
I am not going to list the abundant reasons why flax seed is good for you. Aside from this seed being high in vitamins B-1, B-2, C, E, and carotene, there are some crucial health benefits to eating this seed that I think you should know.
The first major health benefit is that flax seed is high in fiber (both insoluble and soluble). I would start with taking low doses of flax seed since it could cause cramping and a laxative effect due to the high fiber content. Fiber in this seed is the main reason for helping lower cholesterol. Fiber bolsters proper functioning of intestines and sustains normal blood sugar levels.
The second health benefit is that flax seed may reduce your chances of producing cancers associated with the prostate, colon, breast and skin. Among these cancers, the most controversial is whether flax seed ultimately helps prevent prostate cancer. Studies have shown that flax seed helps slow melanoma from spreading in skin cancer patients. Related to all cancers, this seed contains a group of plant compounds known as lignans which help protect the body from cancer. Several studies have shown that lignans slow tumor growth in patients, as well as reduce the number of abnormal cells.
The third major health benefit is that flax seed contains Omega-3 fatty oils. This is the key force for fighting inflammation in our bodies. Some benefits of Omega-3 is that it supports cardiovascular health, joint flexibility, help prevent and control high blood pressure, reduce the chances of diabetes. Wild fish with low mercury levels and walnuts are also good sources of this essential fatty acid.
For more information on how to incorporate flax seed into your diet, please visit: http://www.shar-on-nutrition.com/?p=378