Eat Healthy Foods for Life
Is flaxseed the new wonder food? Preliminary studies show that flaxseed may help fight everything from heart disease and diabetes to breast cancer. By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD WebMD Feature Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD Some call it one of the most powerful plant foods on the planet. There is some evidence it can help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. That is quite a tall order for a tiny seed that has been around for centuries: flaxseed. Omega-3 essential fatty acids, "good" fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s. Lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. Flaxseed contains 75- 800 times more lignans than other plant foods Fiber. Flaxseed contains both the soluble and insoluble types.
Flax seeds contain high levels of lignans and Omega-3 fatty acids. Lignans may benefit the heart, possess anti-cancer properties and studies performed on mice found reduced growth in specific types of tumors. Initial studies suggest that flaxseed taken in the diet may benefit individuals with certain types of breast and prostate cancers. However, the Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/flaxseed/AN01712) reports that the alpha linolenic acid in flaxseed may be associated with higher risk of prostate cancer, and cautions that those with, or at risk for, prostate cancer should not take flaxseed. A recent meta-analysis found the evidence on this point to be mixed and inconclusive ( Am J Clin Nutr (March 25, 2009). doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.26736Ev1). Flax may also lessen the severity of diabetes by stabilizing blood-sugar levels. There is some support for the use of flax seed as a laxative due to its dietary fiber content though excessive consumption without liquid can result in intestinal blockage. Consuming large amounts of flax seed can impair the effectiveness of certain oral medications, due to its fiber content. Reference Reference