Science-Backed Benefits of Flax seed for Cancer, Diabetes, Weight Loss and More

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For years, flax seeds have been recognized for their health-protective benefits. These days, flax seeds are emerging as a “super food” as more scientific research points to their health benefits.

Below are the Top 5 Health benefits of flax seeds that are supported by science.

1. Manage Diabetes

Flaxseed is known for its effects against blood sugar spikes, therefore, making it a potentially useful tool for diabetics. When diabetic patients took a tablespoon of ground flax seeds daily for a month, they experienced significant drop in cholesterol, fasting blood sugars, triglycerides, and A1C level.

Also, flaxseeds may improve insulin sensitivity in glucose intolerant people. After 12 weeks of flax, One study reported a small but significant drop in insulin resistance.

2. Reduce Cancer Risk

Lignans are plant compounds that contain estrogen and antioxidant properties, both of which can help lower your risk of cancer and improve health.

Flax seeds contain up to 800 times more lignans, as compared to other plant foods.

Observational studies have shown that those who consume flax seeds have a lower risk of breast cancer, in particular postmenopausal women.

Also, according to a Canadian study involving more than 6,000 women, those who consume flax seeds are 18% less likely to develop breast cancer.

Men can also benefit from eating flax seeds.

In a small study including 15 men, those who were given 30 grams of flax seeds a day while following a low-fat diet have shown reduced levels of a prostate cancer marker, threby, suggesting a lower risk of prostate cancer.

Also, flax seeds appeared to have the potential to prevent skin and colon cancers in animal and laboratory studies. But, more research is needed to confirm this.

This evidence thus far, points to flax seeds as being a potentially valuable food in the prevention of various cancers.

3. Regulate Blood Pressure

A study in 2013 in Canada reported that “flaxseed induced one of the most potent antihypertensive effects achieved by a dietary intervention.”

While a report that was published in Clinical Nutrition in 2016 reported flaxseed may lead to a significant decrease in diastolic and systolic blood pressure.

If you are starting your flaxseed intake to help manage your blood pressure, the same study reported consuming flaxseed for at least more than 12 weeks, reported a greater effect than consumption for fewer than 12 weeks. While flaxseed oil may have that desired effect on diastolic blood pressure, it did not on systolic blood pressure.

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Lignan extracts did not appear to affect either. Therefore, if you are targeting your overall blood pressure, consuming ground flaxseed may be your best option.

4. Helps in Weight Loss

A study that was published in the Journal of Nutrition reported that flaxseeds and walnuts may improve obesity and also support weight loss.

Because flax is loaded with healthy fiber and fats, it helps you feel satisfied for longer. This means you may end up eating fewer calories overall, which may lead to weight loss.

Also, ALA fats may help with hormonal balance and reduce inflammation, which might be hindering your weight loss. An inflamed body tends to hold on to excess weight, also, it is common to struggle with digestive issues such as bloating and constipation if you have been consuming an unhealthy diet.

You can add a couple of teaspoons of ground flaxseed to salads, soups, or smoothies daily as part of your weight loss plan.

5. Prevents Hot Flashes

A 2005 study of 30 women suggested that consuming 40 grams daily of flaxseed may help reduce the incidence or severity of hot flashes in women, who are not using an estrogen therapy during menopause.

While, a study of 188 women, that was published in the journal Menopause, reported that a daily intake 40 grams of flaxseed, representing 400 mcg of lignans, had help improved the symptoms of hot flashes by around half.

But, women taking a placebo also experienced a reduction, while, it was not clear that effects were due to the flaxseed. The crushed flaxseed was sprinkled onto cereal, yogurt, or mixed into a drink.

There were hopes that flaxseed could become a complementary or alternative therapy for hot flashes, but, the researchers had concluded that the study “was not able to provide support for the use of flaxseed for the reduction of hot flashes more than a placebo.”

Dr. Axe

Related Sources:

  1. Flaxseed, Berry and Pomegranate Smoothie: To Prevent Memory Loss, Improve Cognitive Function and Boost Your Protein Intake
  2. 6 Amazingly Healthy Seeds You Should Eat Everyday
  3. How Eating This Seed Can Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

photo credit: pixabay

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