Flaxseed has been used for thousands of years for medicinal
purposes. Ancient Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians took
flaxseed as an anti-inflammatory agent, and they believed
that it could treat gastro-intestinal problems as well. Today
the health benefits from flaxseeds are well recognized and
cultivated around the world.
Golden and brown flaxseeds are two main types of flaxseeds.
Flaxseed along with the flaxseed oil contains an omega-3 fatty
acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). This fatty acid helps to
lower LDL and elevate HDL, which may prevent fatal heart
attacks. Research has also shown that flaxseed has the highest
known concentrations of lignans, which are a major class of
phyto-estrogens. These phyto-estrogens have cardiac- protective
properties and anti-oxidant properties that fight cancer. The
soluble fibers in flaxseeds dissolve with water and help lower
glucose and cholesterol level in blood as well as maintain intestinal
health. The soluble fibers get a gel-like substance with water that
promotes normal bowel movements. Flaxseeds are the great source
of gamma-tocopherol, which is a special compound of vitamin
E. Vitamin E helps to maintain the integrity of cell membranes.
These seeds are also packed with B-complex vitamins.
Regular consumption of flaxseeds during pregnancy can supply
the important ingredient folate, which can prevent neural tube
defects in a fetus.
ALA has been shown to inhibit tumor growth and fight
against cancer. Studies have exhibited that lignans may also
decrease the development of breast cancer. According to Elaine
Magee, MPH, RD “Lignans may help protect against cancer by
blocking enzymes that are involved in hormone metabolism
and interfering with the growth and spread of tumor cells”.17
A study in the American Society of Clinical Oncology explained
that flaxseeds can inhibit prostate tumor growth and may have
protective effects against prostate cancer.1,2,3
1. “The Benefits of Flaxseed”, Elaine Magee, WebMD Weight
Loss & Diet Plans, last accessed December 13, 2013, http://
2. “Flaxseed”, University of Maryland Medical Center, last
updated July 1, 2013, last accessed December 13, 2013, http://
3. “What is Flaxseed? What are the Benefits of Flaxseed?” Joseph
Nordqvist , Medical News Today, last accessed December 13,
Excerpt from “Dr Matt’s Plan Living Longer and Healthier” by Dr. Matt Ferenc
Soft cover available at www.drmattsplan.com