Flaxseed: Nutritional Food Supplement for Overall Good Health

Flaxseed: Nutritional Food Supplement for Overall Good Health

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  1. Flaxseed offers many nutritional benefits and has been proven to help reduce cholesterol, lower the risk of osteoporosis and may prevent some cancers as well as other health benefits.  This small seed has the perfect combination of “good” fats that are essential for a healthy body and is rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals.  People can enjoy many health benefits of flaxseed by just adding 1 to 2 tablespoons to their daily diet.

    Nutritional Contents in Flaxseed

    Flaxseed contains a healthy combination of the essential fatty acids, amino acids, fiber, vitamins and minerals that work together to help prevent many diseases and health conditions.  Flaxseed contains a healthy balance of the “good” fats, omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids.  These essential fats are imperative for the health and function of all the cells in the body, including brain cells which are comprised of 60% fat.  Mark Stengler, ND, author of The Natural Physician’s Healing Therapies states that deficiencies in the essential fatty acids can be attributed to the cause of many of today’s diseases.  The “bad” fats, trans and saturated fats, not only deplete the body of the good fats, but are also toxic to the immune and nervous systems.  The good fats found in flaxseed build healthy cells in the body as well as remove toxic waste from cells.

    Flaxseed also contains many vitamins and minerals including vitamins B-1, B-2, C, E, carotene, lecithin, iron, potassium, zinc, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus.  Flaxseed is rich in the phytonutrient lignan, which is beneficial in fighting some cancers, viruses, bacteria and fungi.  The amount of lignans in flaxseed is over 100 times higher than in soybeans, wheat brain, millet, oats and buckwheat.  Flaxseed is also high in both soluble and unsoluble fiber which helps to regulate blood sugar, reduce cholesterol levels and is beneficial for a healthy digestive tract.

    Health Benefits of Flaxseed

    A recent study at Iowa State University’s Nutrition and Wellness Research Center found that adding 3 tablespoons of flaxseed to the diet each day lowered cholesterol levels in men by up to 10 percent.  Even though this percentage is lower than can be expected from prescription cholesterol medication, it is still considered a viable natural alternative for men who have high cholesterol.  Another study in 2009 found that adding flaxseed oil to the daily diet may reduce the risk of osteoporosis in post-menopausal women and women with diabetes.

    Flaxseed is also beneficial for people who suffer from digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis because of its high-fiber content.  It also has anti-inflammatory properties which can help to soothe an inflamed or irritated digestive tract.  Flaxseed also helps to feed the “good” bacteria into the intestines which is generally lacking in people with intestinal disorders.

    The lignans in flaxseed are thought to be the main factor in the prevention and treatment of some cancers including breast and prostate cancer.  Some studies have found that the hormone balancing effect of lignans helps to prevent breast cancer.  The high concentrations of essential fatty acids as well as the hormone balancing effects of lignans are the factors that contribute to preventing prostate cancer in men.  It is also believed that the high fiber content in flaxseed helps in the prevention of colon cancer.

    Other diseases and conditions that flaxseed can treat or prevent are:

    • Arthritis
    • Acne
    • Eczema
    • Memory and learning problems
    • Menopausal symptoms
    • Multiple Sclerosis

    Adding Flaxseed to the Diet

    Adding flaxseed to the diet is as simple as adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil to foods you already eat.  It is recommended to start taking flaxseed in small doses each day and work your way up to 2 tablespoons per day because of the high-fiber content.  Drinking plenty of water is also necessary to help move the fiber through the digestive system.  Flaxseed must be ground before eaten to obtain the most nutritional benefits and should be eaten immediately after grinding before it becomes rancid.  Flaxseed has a distinctive nutty taste and can be sprinkled over cereal, or mixed in yogurt, smoothies, juice or in any favorite food.  Flaxseed oil can also be added to a favorite food.  It is recommended not to heat flaxseed oil or it will lose its nutritional benefits.  Flaxseed oil also comes in a capsule form.

    Adding flaxseed to the diet is a simple way to boost nutrition and prevent dangerous diseases and health conditions. 

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