Linseed Contains Omega-3`s and Lignans


Linseed Spilling from a Jar

Linseed (or flax seed) has obvious health benefits, between the fiber content, the essential fatty acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6), and the phytoestrogens (lignans), flaxseed is a no-brainer for easy introduction into the diet of someone seeking a healthier, balanced diet.  The increase in demand for flaxseed in the health food world has not rested solely on the obvious and well established benefits, but on other potentials.

The other health benefits of flax are less conclusively established, but are many and varied.  There are potential benefits versus cancer, cardiovascular disease, and lung disease, many are added on to the already known benefits.  The direct action of the components is not known in these cases, but studies are suggesting wide ranging benefits, including impact on various cancers and cardiovascular disease.    The omega-3’s alone, known as ALA’s may be protective versus breast, prostate, and colon cancers. 

Lignans in flaxseed have a phyto-estrogen component, a plant hormone component that can have some impact on hormonally sensitive cancers.  Unlike soy phytoestrogens, it does not appear that the flaxseed phytoestrogens interfere with hormone therapies for breast cancer such as tamoxifen, which means that they may be used as a protective measure against breast cancers.  Other studies are showing that exposure to the lignans during childhood may be protective versus breast cancer, and in cases where the cancer appears anyway, may increase survival rates.  These chemicals interfere with the growth of tumor cells by blocking enzymes that deal with hormone metabolism.

Lignans may also decrease blood sugar in diabetics, albeit by a small amount.  Their phyto-estrogen actions may decrease hot flashes in post-menopausal women. 

Adding flaxseed into the diet may be as easy as adding some ground whole flaxseed into a smoothie every morning.  However one chooses to add it to the diet, it is well worth the effort.

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