What is flaxseed and why is it so good for your health? Flaxseed—also known as linseed—is derived from flax, one of the most ancient crops harvested by humankind. Flaxseed has long been considered a health food. In the 8th century, King Charlemagne would pass a law to make his royal subjects eat flaxseeds for their health. The name of flaxseed was derived from the Latin word Linum usitatissimum which means “the most useful.”
Then and now, flaxseed is considered as one of the most nutrition-dense foods in the world. It can help lower the chances of diabetes, cancer, and even heart diseases. Below are other health-giving benefits of flaxseed:
It’s High in Fiber
Fiber not only allows the body to feel fuller longer, it also flushes out toxins from the colon and even prevents certain types of cancers. Unfortunately, majority of people don’t get enough fiber in their diet. Taking flaxseed is one way to get your recommended serving of fiber per day. Just a tablespoon full flaxseed contains about 8 grams of fiber. If you’re not keen on how to start integrating flaxseed into your diet, try starting slow. Take about half a teaspoon of flaxseed daily and gradually increase your flaxseed intake each week. Don’t go overboard though; you might get bloated from taking in too much fiber into your diet.
It’s a Rich Source of Essential Fatty Acids
Flaxseed is a rich source of amino and essential fatty acids, particularly omega-3! Flaxseed contains alpha-linolenic acid omega-3 fatty acid, a type of shorter chain omega-3 acid. Alpha-linolenic acid helps build cell membranes in the brain, reduce inflammation, control blood clotting, and minimize joint pain.
The body does not naturally produce omega-3 fatty acids; we only get omega-3 fatty acids from the food we eat. Omega-3 contains potent anti-inflammatory properties that may help alleviate certain conditions including autoimmune disease, asthma, depression, and even reduce menstrual pains in women.
It Contains Anti-Cancer Properties
Flaxseed happens to have the highest concentrations of lignans. Lignans are a group of plant-based chemicals that contain high levels of antioxidants, fiber, as well as anti-estrogenic properties. Clinical tests show that lignan helps reduce various types of cancer — particularly skin, breast, and prostate cancer. Lignans work by helping the body metabolize estrogen hormone into safer, non-carcinogenic forms. Estrogen has been linked to almost 80% of cancer incidences in women.
It Alleviates Post-Menstrual Symptoms
Menopausal women will benefit from adding flaxseed to their diet. Flaxseed contains naturally occurring compounds that reduces hot flashes in menopausal women. Taking flaxseed will also help normalize the menstrual cycle and alleviate symptoms associated with menstruation.
Prevents Liver Disease
If you’ve been hitting the bottle extra hard the past few days and you’re looking to detoxify your liver, flaxseed is your best bet when it comes to flushing out toxins in the body. Research that monitored more than 30 men found that those who took flaxseed lignan capsules reduced their risk of developing liver disease radically. In the same study, health experts concluded that 100 mg. of flaxseed lignan is not only beneficial to one’s overall health; it could also cut the risk of developing certain types of diseases and disorders.