ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Food and Cooking»
  • Cooking Ingredients

Benefits of Flax Seed

Updated on December 13, 2014

Is Flaxseed a miracle cure for everything?

Flaxseed is a herb and known as linseed in the UK. It is known to have orginated in ancient Egypt thousands of years ago and used for a wide variety of things. It is so versatile that it is not just used for food and nutritional or medicinal purposes but even the fiber from the flax plant was used to make fabric for clothing, ropes, fish nets, baskets, tents, bedding and more. It was crucially important to the livelihood and well being of those ancient Egyptians and played a very important part of their everyday life..

One of the main ancients uses of Flaxseed as a medicine has been as a natural laxative because it is extremely high in fiber. When flax seed is taken with water it expands and adds bulk to the stool, sufficiently to help it move more quickly and smoothly down the tract, relieving the constipation.

It is worth pointing out whole flax seeds are not as good as milled flaxseed, because it doesn't tend to have the same healthy and nutrition benefits such as Omega-3 Oils and it simply cannot be digested. However, milled flax seed breaks down the powerful nutrients so that the body can easily absorb all of the goodness. So when choosing Flax seed, ensure you buy the milled variety, not the whole.

bread rolls in preparation by Rudolf Simon
bread rolls in preparation by Rudolf Simon | Source

What are the benefits of flaxseed?

As well as being very effective for constipation, Flaxseeds contain an essential fatty acid known as 'alpha-linolenic' (ALA) believed be beneficial for heart disease as well as inflammatory bowels, arthritis, and other health conditions covered within this article.

ALA isn't unique to milled flaxseed and flaxseed oil but also rapeseed (canola), pumpkin seeds, walnuts and soybean oil, all of these have excellent nutritional benefits.

As flaxseeds are extremely rich in alpha linoleic acid, taking them promotes healthier bones too, it reduces blood clots formation and thereby reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke for patients with atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease.

We are all aware of the importance of maintaining a good balance of omega-3 in our diet and milled flaxseeds has Omega-3 fats in abundance.

Flax seeds, but not flax oil, also contain 'lignans' thought to protect the body from cancer.

Clinical tests have shown that lignans mimic estrogen and lignans are also considered to be plant estrogen. This discovery has lead to the use of flaxseed in the treatment of menopausal symptoms.

Studies on postmenopausal patients who have been newly diagnosed with breast cancer and as a consequence have taken flaxseed as part of their diet found that flaxseed may have the potential to reduce tumor growth in breast cancer patients.

A UK pharmacy store giant ( Boots The Chemist ) said on their website 'WebMD': “Is flaxseed the new wonder food? Preliminary studies show that flaxseed may help fight everything from heart disease and diabetes to breast cancer”. If Boots The Chemist can confidently attest to the healing properties of flax seed, there must be something in it!

Milled Flaxseed and Cancer

Earlier in this article it was written that lignans mimic the actions of estrogen. Several laboratory studies support the use of flaxseed oil in preventing cancer development.

Colon cancer and Flax seed

The University of Maryland Medical Center conducted studies with colon cancer and flaxseed, concluding that it showed lignans are likely to slow the growth of colon tumor cells. Also other studies recorded that flaxseed may significantly reduce the number of abnormal cell growths.


Flax seeds and high cholesterol

It is common knowledge that an effective method of maintaining a low cholesterol count is to maintain a low fat diet, the less fat intake, the lower the cholesterol. For instance, take the 'Mediterranean diet' as an example; recipes should include whole grain foods, root vegetables, green vegetables, fresh fruit, fish and poultry, little or no red meat.

The use of olive oil and canola oils for cooking and dressing is important too. If you compliment meals with ALA from flaxseed, flaxseed oil, and walnuts and use little or no butter and cream, all these ingredients contain omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 (found in olive oil) fatty acids and go a long way to providing nutritional and health benefits.

People eating these types of Mediterranean foods tend to have higher HDL or high-density lipoprotein, it is commonly referred to as the "good cholesterol. Mediterranean are comminly known to live well, even the Roman Britons who continued with those foods despite living in Britain.

Milled flaxseed and flax seed oil have been reported to possess cholesterol-lowering properties, however, studies that have monitored the use of flaxseed 'products' and measured the effects on cholesterol have shown mixed results.

Other studies discovered that flax seed significantly improved lipid (cholesterol) in patients with high cholesterol, this may have positive effects on cardiovascular issues.

Flax Seed Benefits

Flaxseed and Menopausal Symptoms

The Mayo Clinic have stated; “There is preliminary evidence from randomized controlled trials that flaxseed oil may help decrease mild menopausal symptoms. In one study flaxseed was compared to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in menopausal women. 40 g of flaxseed was reported to work equally effectively as HRT for mild menopausal symptoms (hot flashes, mood disturbances, vaginal dryness) and to lower blood sugar levels.”

The Mayo Clinic study reported that 21 females who consumed 40 grams of milled flaxseed on a daily basis showed a significant decrease in the frequency and severity of their hot flashes. The female's hot flashes were monitored and scored over a period of six weeks.

The women that consumed flaxseed showed a 50% decrease in the frequency of flashes, and a 57% decrease in their “flash score” overall. This resulted in a major improvement of their quality of life.

Another positive development was that those who participated in the study reported improvements in their moods as well as joint and muscle pains.

Milled Flax Seed

Milled flaxseed and flax seed oil have been reported to possess cholesterol-lowering properties
Milled flaxseed and flax seed oil have been reported to possess cholesterol-lowering properties

Is Flax seed already part of you diet?

See results

How Do You Rate Flax Seed As A Superfood

5 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of Flax Seeds

The Law Said You Must East Flaxseed !

Way back n the 8th century, King Charlemagne was so strongly committed to the health benefits of flaxseed actually he passed a law that all his subjects to consumed it.

Eating Flaxseed In Smoothies

It is OK to eat flaxseeds that are whole but they do not digest as well as ground flaxseed. The reality is that If your stomach doesn't digest those tiny seeds, your body will not reap the nutritional and health benefits they really offer.

Just about all supermarkets and of course health food stores stock ground flaxseed, but if not and you have buy whole flaxseed, simply grind them in a standard coffee grinder before adding to a smoothie.

Add the flaxseed before you blend your smoothie, this way it is truly mixed into the entire drink. Don't throw it all in at once, but start with a teaspoon or so until you are accustomed to the new texture and that subtle flax seed flavour, you can then work your way up to a tablespoon. Be adventurous.!

It matters not whether you have a sweet or savoury smoothie, add flax seed anyway.

Banana and peanut butter is as good as celery and cucumber.

If you have a juicer or juicing machine, add flax seed to your juices.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Claris 2 years ago

      Chimichangas and Burritos are a huge hit around our house. It used to be that I would cook up a big pot of beans and make biutrro kits, assembling a pint of cooked pintos, a bag of shredded cheese, precooked taco meat, and a package of tortillas. I would freeze this kit for later use in the month when we'd have a biutrro bar or chimichangas for lunch or dinner.

    • profile image

      Retoric 2 years ago

      Your suggested diet is ralley very healthy as I have a bit of research of taking a glass of milk with a bit heavy chocolate cookies & I ralley found them very healthy in many regards...I red your recipe and I am very willing to add this recipe to my daily food chart...thanks a lot!!!

    • The Ghostwriter profile image

      Peter Yexley 6 years ago from UK

      Hello John, I do! also I add it to smoothies, milk shakes and even a glass of water when I feel peckish.

    • The Ghostwriter profile image

      Peter Yexley 6 years ago from UK

      Hello Tebo

      Yes flax seed appears to have more beneficial properties that fish oil

    • John Sarkis profile image

      John Sarkis 6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Interesting article. My mom actually traves with little packets of powder flaxseed which she mixes in with her breakfast foods.... Thanks!

    • tebo profile image

      tebo 6 years ago from New Zealand

      Interesting information on flaxseed. I take flaxseed oil instead of fish oil as I am vegetarian. It seems it has more benefits than I was aware of. Thanks.