An ingredient that is showing up more often in healthy foods is flaxseeds, and experts suggest that eating it could have substantial health benefits. Some studies have linked flaxseed to a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Flaxseed may be especially helpful in preventing breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer. Properties found in flaxseed may also promote weight loss.
What is flaxseed?
Flaxseed is a plant food that was being cultivated as early as 3000 BC in Babylon. Flaxseed is a tiny seed and it can be used in food as either a dried product or as flaxseed oil. Flaxseed tends to have a nutty or buttery flavor but is very subtle and generally will not have a noticeable effect on most recipes.
Why is flaxseed good for you?
Flaxseed's health benefits are largely contributed to:
- Omega-3 essential fatty acids - one tablespoon of flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant-based omega-3s, an essential acid that has been linked to heart health.
- Lignans - largely responsible for flaxseed's cancer fighting properties, lignans have been shown to block the enzymes involved in hormone metabolism and prevent the growth and spread of tumor cells. Flaxseed contains more lignans than any other plant food.
- Fiber - flaxseed is a source of soluble and insoluble fiber, which has been shown to help lower "bad" cholesterol, promote healthy digestion, and assist with weight management.