Health benefits of flaxseed
The omega-3 fatty acids play a balancing role in the body. They correct imbalances in modern diets that lead to health problems. Nutritionists caution that the amount of omega-3 fatty acids eaten in North America no longer meets our bodies’ needs. You can balance your consumption of fatty acids by adding flaxseed to your diet.
1. A lower risk for heart disease. Flaxseed is the richest plant source of ALA. Studies show that flaxseed may reduce the risk of heart disease by preventing the buildup of harmful deposits in arteries3. In studies in which large groups of people were assessed to determine disease trends, increasing the ALA content of the diet corresponded to a decrease in risk of stroke and heart disease4. Flaxseed can assist in normalizing blood pressure5. And along with fiber, lignans and other antioxidants, ALA can reduce blood cholesterol which may also lower the risk of heart disease.
2. Reduction of cancer risk. The link between diet and cancer is well known. Flaxseed lignans, in particular may be protective against some cancers (such as prostate, breast, lung and colon) because of their antioxidant activities and ability to reduce tumor number and blood vessel growth1,6.
3. Help with immune disorders. Lignans and ALA in flaxseed help to reduce inflammation that affects the body’s immune system1,7. Thus, flaxseed may be useful in reducing the risk of such immune disorders as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.
Tips for including flaxseed in your diet:
- Add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed to your hot or cold breakfast cereal.
- Add a teaspoon of ground flaxseed to mayonnaise or mustard when making a sandwich.
- Mix a tablespoon of ground flaxseed into an 8-ounce container of yogurt.
- Bake ground flaxseed into cookies, muffins, breads and other baked goods.