Numerous products that contain flax seeds are now hitting the market every other day and claim to provide additional health benefits. Flax seeds are now hailed as the new super food that helps to fight a number of diseases, including heart diseases, diabetes, and cancer. Although these seeds have been around for centuries, it became popular as a powerful food recently, and the demand has grown exponentially in the last few years. Apart from being used as a plant food for humans, it is also used as a fodder for chickens.
The unique health benefits of this seed come from three components:
- Fiber content
- Phytonutrient called lignans that provide antioxidant properties and also act as a phytoestrogen
- Omega-3 fatty acids that provide heart-healthy qualities
Omega-3 fatty acids present in flax seeds provides protection against the damage caused by inflammation of blood vessels. This forms the basis of heart-healthy benefit of flax seeds. These essential fatty acids also play a role in maintaining the rhythm of the heart. Lignans present in the seeds are helpful in preventing the thickening of blood vessels and the formation of plaques on the walls of arteries. Studies also indicate that flax seeds are useful in lowering blood pressure. By regulating the levels of bad cholesterol in blood, the nutrients present in these seeds aid in reducing the risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes.
The nutritive components of flax seeds provide two crucial properties for preventing cancer – antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Studies show that flax seeds, when included in an individual's daily diet, reduce the risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer. The lignans present in flax seeds help in hormone balance and is thus useful in preventing hormone-related cancers like breast and prostate cancer. The rich fiber content in these seeds are effective in delaying the emptying of food content from the gut, improving absorption of nutrients from intestine. The fibers also help in regulating the passage of food through the intestine reducing the risk of colon cancer.