Benefits of Flax Seeds

flax-seedsAre you one of the many people who use flax seeds as part of your daily routine? If not you might want to consider adding flax seeds to smoothies, salads, soups or just about anything.

Flax seeds are a wonderful way to add more fiber to your diet but additionally, the benefits of flax seeds are many. Flax seeds are full of antioxidants, Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Because flax seeds are high in Omega-3 fatty acids they fight inflammation in our bodies. As we all have learned inflammation is a key factor in arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

Flax seeds have been around for a very long time, some 5,000+ years for which we have knowledge. There are many people who think that it is one of the most powerful plant foods on the planet.

You can find flax seeds in all kinds of products such as crackers, instant oatmeal etc. In 2010 alone the Flax Council estimated that close to 300 new flax-based products were launched in the U.S. and Canada.

Flax seeds have many cholesterol-lowering effects. This is probably due to all the fiber. Unfortunately people that consume primarily an animal based diet do not get enough fiber. There isn’t any in meats, eggs, dairy etc. Fiber promotes proper functioning of the intestines. It helps your system work as it should. I totally believe that if the system isn’t working, one is a prime target for colon cancer. It only makes sense that if that hamburger or steak that you ate a few days ago is trying to work its way through your intestines for four or five days it can’t be a good thing. So…more fiber!!

Flax seeds are high in phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants. According to Wikipedia some are responsible for color and other organoleptic properties, such as the deep purple of blueberries and the smell of garlic. The term is generally used to refer to those chemicals that may have biological significance, for example antioxidants, but are not established as essential nutrients. Scientists estimate that there may be as many as 10,000 different phytochemicals having the potential to affect diseases such as cancer, stroke or metabolic syndrome. One such chemical, lignan, may help to prevent Type 2 diabetes.

A bit more about the high fiber content. Start with a small amount of flax seeds and increase the amount slowly. If you are not used to a high fiber diet you could experience some cramping or diarrhea. If you have irritable bowel syndrome you could have a strong reaction with too much flax so be careful. This sounds a bit scary but it really isn’t. Like some nuts and beans flax contains very small amounts of cyanide compounds, especially when consumed raw. There are researchers who have used 6 tablespoons of the flax a day and found no problems. Do add fiber to your diet. Flax seeds are a great way to do this.

Article edited from with permission from Jacqui

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