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Health Benefits

Flax Seed

Flax is an erect annual plant growing to 1.2 m tall, with slender stems. The leaves are glaucous green, slender lanceolate, 20–40 mm long and 3 mm broad. The flowers are pure pale blue, 15–25 mm diameter, with five petals; they can also be bright red. The fruit is a round, dry capsule 5–9 mm diameter, containing several glossy brown seeds shaped like an apple pip, 4–7 mm long.

The flax seed is highly nutritious. It is rich in fibre, antioxidants, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, flax seed is very low in carbohydrates, making it ideal for people who limit their intake of starches and sugars. Its combination of healthy fat and high fibre content make it a great food for weight loss and maintenance — many dieters have found that flax seed has been a key to keeping them feeling satisfied.

Flax seed is also rich in most of the B vitamins, magnesium, and manganese.

Flax seed is Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are a key force against inflammation in our bodies. Mounting evidence shows that inflammation plays a part in many chronic diseases including heart disease, arthritis, asthma, diabetes, and even some cancers. This inflammation is enhanced by having too little Omega-3 intake (such as in fish, flax, and walnuts), especially in relation to Omega-6 fatty acid intake (in such oils as soy and corn oil). In the quest to equalize the ratio of these two kinds of oils, flax seed can be a real help.

Flax Seed is High in Fibre: There are not many foods having more fibre — both soluble and insoluble — than flax. This fibre is probably mainly responsible for the cholesterol-lowering effects of flax. Fibre in the diet also helps stabilize blood sugar, and, of course, promotes proper functioning of the intestines.

Phytochemicals: Flax seed is high in phytochemicals, including many antioxidants. It is perhaps our best source of lignans, which convert in our intestines to substances which tend to balance female hormones. There is evidence that lignans may promote fertility, reduce peri-menopausal symptoms, and possibly help prevent breast cancer. In addition, lignans may help prevent Type 2 diabetes.

Flax seeds contain high levels of lignans and Omega-3 fatty acids. Lignans may benefit the heart, possess anti-cancer properties and studies performed on mice found reduced growth in specific types of tumors. Flax seed may also lower cholesterol levels, especially in women.

Source

Wikipedia
Laura Dolson, about.com

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