Flaxseed Offers Numerous Health Benefits

by Jodee on October 1, 2010

Eating a  high-fiber diet for health is important, but don’t forget to include flax seed in your eating plan. This small, brown seed has been around for centuries, and packs quite a punch when it comes to health benefits.

Flaxseed has been grown by humans since 3000 BC. Its health benefits were well known to ancient people. Charlemagne, king of the Franks and the first Holy Roman Emperor, even passed laws requiring those under his rule to eat flaxseed.

Modern consumers are echoing what Charlemagne knew centuries ago: flax seed is good for your health and should be consumed regularly. It can be bought in its original state and used in cooking, and many products, including oatmeal, crackers and frozen waffles, contain this ingredient. Flaxseed is also being used for agricultural purposes; chickens are being fed this product as part of their diet. As a result, they are laying eggs containing a higher level of omega-3 fatty acids.

Why is flaxseed so good for your health? It contains the following:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids, which are “good” fats that help to lower triglyceride levels and increase the “good” cholesterol in the body. Consuming a tablespoon of ground flaxseed provides 1.8 grams of Omega-3s.
  • Lignans, an antioxidant and plant estrogen. It can help to lower the risk of breast cancer. Flaxseed contains a higher level of this substance than other sources, such as green tea, kale and broccoli.
  • Fiber, which helps to maintain regularity and lowers the risk of heart disease. Flaxseed is a source of soluble and insoluble fiber.

Flaxseed and Heart Disease

Making a point of eating flaxseed as part of a healthy diet that can lower the risk of heart disease. It helps by preventing hardening of the arteries and reduces the likelihood of harmful plaque attaching itself to their interior by making white blood cells less sticky. Consuming flaxseed regularly can help to lower the amount of plaque buildup by up to 75 percent.

Flaxseed Reduces Inflammation

The lignans found in flaxseed can help to reduce inflammation in the body. People living with asthma or Parkinson’s Disease may find relief from their symptoms, since eating flaxseeds can help to block pro-inflammatory agents in the body.

Flaxseed for Menopausal Women

Hot flashes are a common symptom associated with menopause. While they are not harmful, they are uncomfortable. Eating two tablespoons of ground flaxseed twice a day can reduce the number of hot flashes by half and reduce the intensity of the ones they do experience as well.

How to Include Flaxseed in Your Diet

Check labels on grain products to check for flaxseed in the ingredients. You can also buy whole or ground flaxseed from bulk food retailers or online. Flaxseed can easily be added to foods like pasta sauce, chili, stews or meatballs and you can reap the health benefits from this food very easily.

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