Nutritional Information for Flaxseeds
Flaxseed is a unique food offering many health benefits. It has a nutty flavor that’s packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant compounds, such as like lignans. The lignans are known to target and disrupt the growth of cancerous cells. Gut bacteria activate the potent lignin compounds, so make sure to chew and grind flaxseeds well. Just 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed provides all the essential omega-3 fats an adult needs per day.
Benefits of Flaxseeds
Cancer Prevention Benefits
It’s hard to tease out individual foods like flax and determine how impactful they can be against cancer. What we know is researchers have added flaxseed to the diets of men with prostate cancer and have seen reductions in cancer biomarkers and tumor growth. One mechanism for their benefit may be due to their lignans, a type of phytoestrogen compound that works with the body to ward off further invasion. Isoflavones in soyfoods are another example of a class of phytoestrogens. Contrary to popular opinion, by taking into account all of the research, flaxseed and soy foods are healthful and safe for cancer survivors. In fact, eating more of them may just prevent cancer in the first place. Men at risk for prostate cancer, diagnosed with prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN), eating 3 tablespoons of ground flax every day for 6 months, while also eating a low-fat diet were found to have significant improvements in cancer biomarkers.
Men's Health Benefits
Ground flaxseed may lower cholesterol levels. Some research has also shown that eating 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed a day may help prevent and even help reverse diabetes. For hypertension, flaxseeds have been tested against anti-hypertensive medications like ACE inhibitors (Vasotec) or calcium channel blockers (Norvasc) showing that they compare to drugs in regards of their effectiveness. This makes flaxseed and safe bet for those with high blood pressure.
Ways to Use Flaxseeds
- Add to smoothies.
- Sprinkle ground flaxseed into your oatmeal, salads, or soups.
- Mix flaxseed with balsamic vinegar and spices and use as your salad dressing.
- Make a flax egg that can be used to replace eggs in baked goods or cooking. For one egg: combine 1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water.
- Use ground flax in baked goods, such as breads, muffins, cakes, and cookies.
Note: Ground flaxseed will thicken liquids, such as soups or doughs. To retain the consistency of your foods, just add a bit more liquid when adding the ground flaxseed. Otherwise, it makes a great binder when dishes become too watered down.
Resources for Flaxseeds
American Institute for Cancer Research: www.aicr.org
“Foods that Fight Cancer” from AICR: Flaxseed
Nutrition Facts: www.NutritionFacts.org
Physicians Committee: www.pcrm.org
USDA Nutrient Database: Flaxseed
- Demark-Wahnefried W, Robertson C, Walther P, et al. Pilot study to explore effects of low-fat, flaxseed-supplemented diet on proliferation of benign prostatic epithelium and prostate-specific antigen. Urology 2004 63(5):900 – 904
- Demark-Wahnefried W, Price D, Polascik T, et al. Pilot study of dietary fat restriction and flaxseed supplementation in men with prostate cancer before surgery: Exploring the effects on hormonal levels, prostate-specific antigen, and histopathologic features. Urology 2001 58(1):47 – 52
- Rodriguez-Leyva D, Weighell W, Edel A, Lavallee R, et al. Potent antihypertensive action of dietary flaxseed in hypertensive patients. Hypertension. 2013;62(6):1081-9.
- Almario RU, Karakas SE. Lignan content of the flaxseed influences its biological effects in healthy men and women. J Am Coll Nutr. 2013;32(3):194-9.
- Azrad M, Vollmer RT, Madden J, et al. Flaxseed-derived enterolactone is inversely associated with tumor cell proliferation in men with localized prostate cancer. J Med Food. 2013;16(4):357-60.
- Czernichow S, Zanchetti A, Tumbull F, et al. Blood Pressure Lowering Treatment Trialists Collaboration. The effects of blood pressure reduction and of different blood pressure-lowering regimens on major cardiovascular events according to baseline blood pressure: meta-analysis of randomized trials. J Hypertens. 2011;29(1):4-16.