What Does Flaxseed Do for Your Body

Flaxseed is an amazing grain. Its history goes back to ancient times. Charlemagne passed a law forcing all his subjects to eat it for health benefits. The Babylonians grew and cultivated it as a main staple of their diet.

Flaxseed's healthy secret

Flaxseed has three main features that make it extremely healthy.

  • Lignans. Lignans have antioxidants and estrogen. Lignans are a group of chemicals found in plants called phytoestrogens, similar to estrogen chemicals. Flaxseed has 75 to 800 times more lignans than other plants we eat.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids. These are good fats that actually help your heart. One tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains 1.8 grams of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Fiber. Flaxseed has lots of soluble and insoluble fiber.

People who eat flaxseed may enjoy health benefits that combat the following problems:

  • Cancer. Flaxseed protects your body against breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer. The omega-3 fatty acids and also ALA, which inhibits tumor growth, are the two anti-cancer substances.
  • Cardiovascular issues. Flaxseed's omega-3 fatty acids help your cardiovascular system. Studies have shown that flaxseed can lower your blood pressure, lower your cholesterol, prevents the hardening of the arteries and keep white blood cells from sticking to the blood vessel wall linings. The lignans in flaxseed reduce plaque buildup by as much as 75 percent. Just 4 tablespoons of ground flaxseed daily for one year provides all these benefits and more.
  • Inflammation. Flaxseed may reduce inflammation in certain illnesses like Parkinson's disease and asthma. Certain chemicals in flaxseed block inflammation in your body. This can also reduce your chances of strokes or heart attacks.
  • Hot flashes. Flaxseed can reduce episodes of hot flashes. Two tablespoons of ground flaxseed is all it takes to find some relief from these postmenopausal symptoms.

Foods

Flaxseed is now found in many foods you buy at the grocery store. There are as many as 300 new flaxseed products on the market currently, including:

  • Waffles
  • Crackers
  • Oatmeal
  • Cereals
  • Pizza dough
  • Muffins
  • Waffles

How to use flaxseed

Most scientists suggest eating ground flaxseed rather than whole flaxseed or flaxseed oil. Whole flaxseed will pass through your intestinal tract totally undigested. These tips are important to follow:

  • Ground or milled? Buy ground or milled flaxseed. These are the same product.
  • Brown or golden? Brown and golden flaxseed are both healthy.
  • Read the label. Be sure if you are buying ground flaxseed or eating products containing flaxseed that you aren't getting whole and ground flaxseed mixed together.
  • Get better sleep. You can add flaxseed to your cereal, yogurt or oatmeal to help your sleep. One or two tablespoons will help.
  • Baking. Add ground flaxseed to your recipes for bread, cookies, muffins or pancakes. If your recipes call for 2 cups of flour, just replace 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour with flaxseed.
  • Storage. Store flaxseed in your freezer to keep it fresh. Purchase whole flaxseed and then grind it before using. Whole flaxseed keeps longer than ground.

Flaxseed is a powerful source of rich antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. There's no question that even though flaxseed has been around a long time, it's both healthy and cool.

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