Flaxseed for Better Health

flaxseedThose who have explored the many benefits and uses of flaxseed consider it a super food. A warm, nutty flavored seed that is rich in alpha linolenic acid, flaxseed is an exceptional source of healthy fats and nutrients. Sprinkling these seeds on cereal, baked goods or yogurt yields countless health benefits, including reduced cholesterol levels, inflammation and hot flashes. Flaxseed oil or capsules are another great option, and a concentrated source of fiber, protein and phenolic compounds.

Flaxseed for Inflammation

Inflammation is often the culprit when it comes to illness and disease. In fact, inflammation is a common factor among those with Parkinson’s disease, asthma, arthritis, heart attack, strokes, skin conditions and other health complications. The alpha linolenic acid and lignans in flaxseed help block pro-inflammatory agents, thereby protecting the body from the harmful effects of inflammation.

Flaxseed and Cancer

Flaxseed is shown to help stop the growth of cancer, as evidenced in a study of 40 men who took 30 grams daily proceeding surgery to treat prostate cancer. Additionally, it is thought to reduce women’s breast cancer risks by influencing the way estrogen is handled in postmenopausal women, offering protection against breast cancer without interfering with estrogen’s role in healthy bone maintenance.

Flaxseed in Your Diet

Choosing to incorporate flaxseed into your diet is a smart decision with manifold advantages. Most people notice improved digestion, due to the high-fiber content in flaxseed. Increased fiber also provides more satisfaction with meals, and offers help for those who desire to eat less and lose weight. You may purchase flaxseed in whole or ground form in most grocery stores. Whole flaxseed has a longer shelf life, although it is more difficult to use than the ground seed. Both should be stored in airtight containers, away from light and moisture for maximum freshness. High-quality flaxseed oil may be purchased in liquid form or in soft gels for simple, daily supplementation.

References: Whole Foods: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=81
WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/benefits-of-flaxseed