|Uses and benefits of Flax|
Flax seeds contain high levels of dietary fiber including lignans, an abundance of micronutrients and omega-3 fatty acids. Flax seeds may lower cholesterol levels, especially in women. Initial studies suggest that flax seeds taken in the diet may benefit individuals with certain types of breast and prostate cancers.
It may stunt the growth of prostate tumors, although a meta-analysis found the evidence on this point to be inconclusive. Flax may also lessen the severity of diabetes by stabilizing blood-sugar levels. There is some support for the use of flax seed as a laxative due to its dietary fiber content though excessive consumption without liquid can result in intestinal blockage. Consuming large amounts of flax seed may impair the effectiveness of certain oral medications, due to its fiber content, and may have adverse effects due to its content of neurotoxic cyanogen glycosides and immunosuppressive cyclic nonapeptides.
Flaxseed oil has been shown to be useful in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, behavioral problems such as attention deficit disorder, depression, and bipolar disorder in adults and children. Omega-3 fats are also important in modifying the body’s inflammatory response, making them very helpful in the treatment of inflammatory diseases like allergies, asthma, arthritis and eczema4,5. Studies have shown that omega 3 fats can lower blood pressure, “bad” cholesterol, and triglycerides by as much as 25% and 65%6,7. It’s impact on the number one killer in our country, heart disease, might be it’s most exciting health benefit.