Flax seeds contain an omega-3 fatty acid known as linolenic acid (LNA). It is thought the LNA content in flax seeds slow the development of some cancers as well as increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy medication.
It decreases the inflammatory compounds that favor cancer development and suppress the immune system.
LNA is also thought to have a direct action on cancer cells, stopping their inability for apoptosis and ability for angiogenesis.
Flax seeds also serves as a leading source of lignans, phytoestrogens that influence the balance of estrogens in the body and help protect against breast cancer.
Flax seeds must be ground fresh and used within 24 hours for their nutrients to be accessible.
An easy way to get flax seeds into your diet is by grinding a tablespoon in a coffee grinder or a mini food processor and adding it to cereal, oatmeal, or mix it in a fruit smoothie.
Do not heat the flax seeds because that will destroy the anti-cancer benefits. The omega-3 consumption that is derived from flax seeds is better complemented when omega-6 consumption is decreased (meat, eggs, and various vegetable oils).
Two tablespoons of ground flax seed provide 4g of fiber, including 2g soluble and 2g insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber binds with water in the stomach, helping to delay stomach emptying time to make you feel full longer, and lowers cholesterol levels.
Insoluble fiber helps to promote bowel regularity and keep waste moving through the body to prevent constipation, per the American Heart Association.
Also, a 2 tablespoon serving of flax seed can provide about 3.5g of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids; 90 to 100 calories; 4g to 5g fat; 3g of protein; and lignans, phytochemicals shown to have antioxidant capabilities that which can help to lower your risk for cancers and heart disease.
Ways to Incorporate Flax in Your Diet
Try adding 1 or 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed to hot cereal, coconut or soy yogurt, applesauce, mashed sweet potatoes, gluten-free bread dough, muffin mixes, condiments and berry smoothies.
Flax seed oil can be drizzled over cooked vegetables, mixed in salad dressings, or even in soups.
Freshly ground flax seeds can be used as a substitute for the fat in a recipe. If a recipe calls for eggs, you can use 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons of water to replace each egg.
Remember that you are increasing your fiber intake when you eat more flax, so it's important to drink enough fluids to avoid constipation.
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