1 – Flaxseed for Breast Cancer
Flaxseeds as well as flaxseed oil are rich sources of plant lignans. Research has shown that lignans have considerable anticancer properties. Lignans are fiber compounds that are able to bind to estrogen receptors and restrict the cancer promoting effects of estrogen on breast tissue. They also increase the production of a compound called SHBG (sex hormone-binding globulin). This protein regulates levels of estrogen levels by eliminating excess estrogen out of the body.
Women with high levels of the phytoestrogen enterolactone, which is linked to high lignan intake from foods such as flax, have been found to have a 58 % reduction of breast cancer risk.
A study has shown that daily supplementation of ground flaxseed can reduce estrogen levels. Reducing estrogen reduces risk of breast cancer.
The director of the breast cancer prevention program at the Toronto Hospital has reported that flaxseed in the diet may shrink breast cancer tumors. His research involved 50 women who had been recently diagnosed with breast cancer and were waiting for surgery. They were divided into 2 groups, one group was given a daily muffin containing 25 grams of ground flaxseed, and the other group had plain muffins. After surgery, it was found that those who had been given the flaxseed muffins had slower-growing breast cancer tumors than the others.
2 – Flaxseed for Prostate Cancer
Lignans have also slowed tumor growth in prostate cancer patients.
Ground flaxseed seems to be quite helpful not just for preventing prostate cancer, but also for men who already have prostate cancer. As well as the phytoestrogen effect, the lignans in flaxseed adhere to hormone receptors and promote the removal of testosterone. In men having prostate cancer, a low fat diet supplemented with 30 grams of ground flaxseed reduces serum testosterone by 15 %, slows down the growth rate of cancer cells, and increases the death rate of cancer cells.
3 – Flaxseed for Cholesterol
Women who included 50 grams of ground flaxseed daily for 4 weeks to their diet reduced their total cholesterol by 9 % and LDL cholesterol by 18 %. Flaxseed also lowers inflammatory markers related to increased risk for heart disease.
4 – Flaxseed for Colon Cancer
An animal study revealed that flaxseed oil supplementation was effective in preventing colon cancer.
5 – Flaxseed for ADHD
Children with ADHD had significant improvement in symptoms with flaxseed oil supplementation.
6 – Flaxseed for Diabetes
The addition of flaxseed slowed the onset of type 2 diabetes in animal studies as well as protecting kidneys from the usual damage as a result of diabetes.
Nutrients in Flaxseed
Flaxseeds are rich in ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), an omega-3 essential fatty acid, and also the phytoestrogens called lignans. They are an excellent supply of dietary fiber, potassium, magnesium and manganese. They are also a great source of the minerals iron, phosphorus and copper.
History of Flaxseed
The cultivation of flax can be traced back to 3000 B.C. in Babylon. Egyptian burial chambers show flax cultivation and clothing made from flax fibers. Hippocrates wrote about making use of flax for the relief of stomach pains. In the same period of time, Theophrastus suggested the use of flax mucilage as a cough remedy.
Canada is the top producer of flax, then the United States, India, China, Argentina and the European Union.