Flaxseed is high in fiber, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. It’s referred to as a “functional food” since it can be consumed to improve one’s health. Flaxseed can be included in the diet in a variety of forms, including seeds, oils, powder, pills, capsules, and flour. It’s used as a nutraceutical to help people avoid constipation, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, cancer,
and a variety of other ailments. Lignans, antioxidants, fiber, protein, and polyunsaturated fatty acids like alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), or omega-3, are all found in flaxseed. These nutrients may assist to reduce the risk of a variety of lifestyle diseases.
Nutritional value :
Flax seed contains 42 percent fat, 29 percent carbohydrates, and 18 percent protein. The nutritional profile of flaxseed is as follows:
10 grams (1tbsp) of flaxseed contains :
● 55 calories
● Carbohydrate content : 3g
● Protein content : 1.9g
● Fat content : 4.3g
● Fiber content : 2.8g
● Sugar : 0.2g
Flaxseeds have a carbohydrate content of 29%, with 95% of that being fiber. The fiber content is made up of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber aids in blood sugar and cholesterol regulation. It also aids digestion by feeding the good bacteria in your gut. Flax seeds can help in regulating bowel movements, preventing constipation, and lowering the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Flaxseeds are a rich source of plant-based protein, and flax seed protein and its health advantages are gaining popularity. They contain amino acids like arginine, aspartic acid, and glutamic in adequate amounts. Flaxseed protein has been shown in various studies to promote immunological function, decrease cholesterol, prevent cancers, and have antifungal characteristics.
Flaxseeds are abundant in Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is one of the two necessary fatty acids that your body does not make and must be obtained from diet. Animal research has indicated that the ALA in flaxseeds prevents cholesterol from accumulating in the heart’s blood vessels, reduces artery inflammation, and inhibits carcinogenesis. Flax seeds are high in various vitamins and minerals that are essential for overall health. Thiamine (vitamin B1), copper, molybdenum, magnesium, and phosphorus are one of them found in good quantities in flax seed.
Flaxseeds include a number of plant components that are advantageous to health like p-coumaric acid, ferulic acid, phytosterols and lignans. Lignans are beneficial to health as they are linked to a lowered risk of heart disease and metabolic syndrome. They help reduce inflammation and manage blood glucose levels. Flax lignans can also help lower blood pressure, oxidative stress, and artery inflammation. They may help to prevent the spread of cancer, particularly hormone-sensitive tumors including breast, uterine, and prostate cancer.
Possible health benefits of Flaxseed :
● Reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and improves heart health. Flaxseeds are a great source of omega 3s and fiber both of which help in improving cardiovascular health. They also contain phytosterols and lignans which have cholesterol-lowering properties.
● Help in managing diabetes. Consuming flaxseeds have shown blood sugar lowering effects in various studies. They help in improving insulin sensitivity and glycemic control.
● Help in preventing constipation and regulating bowel movements.
● Help in weight management. Flaxseeds are rich in dietary fiber and help promote the feeling of fullness by regulating hormones. They help in controlling appetite and prevents overeating.
● Reduces the risk of developing different types of cancers and malignancies.
Flaxseeds and Cancer :
Due to its various properties like high fiber content, lignan content, antioxidant content, omega 3s, phytonutrients, flax seed is considered a functional food and is widely used in preventing and treating various diseases including different types of cancers. Consuming 25 g of flaxseed per day has been found in several trials to prevent tumor growth in breast and prostate cancer. It has also been related to the prevention of breast cancer due to its ability to lower the body’s synthesis of estrogen. In fact, flaxseed consumption can help increasing the efficacy of tamoxifen, a medicinal drug routinely used to prevent breast cancer recurrence. Flaxseed’s high fiber content can also help to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke (Adams, 2019).
Flaxseed may suppress the growth and metastasis of human breast , prostate , and melanoma cancers, as well as minimize radiation therapy-induced respiratory tissue damage and enhance survival, according to pre-clinical research.
It has also been proven to reduce tumor biomarkers in patients with prostate cancer and breast cancer. In cell research, lignans increased antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and carcinogen-deactivating enzymes. They also inhibit cancer cell development and promote apoptosis of carcinogenic cells. Lignans and flaxseed have been shown to reduce cancer development and growth in mice experiments as well. Flaxseed and lignans extracted from flaxseed have been shown to inhibit the development and growth of both ER+ and estrogen-negative (ER-) breast cancer in various animal studies. They enhance the expression of tumor suppressor genes while lowering the levels of numerous growth agents that promote breast cancer.
Flaxseed and flaxseed oil, according to animal research, do not interact with the effects of tamoxifen or trastuzumab (breast cancer treatments) and may even improve their efficacy. Breast cancer has been the subject of the majority of animal studies.
The few animal studies that have looked at various cancers have showed a drop in inflammatory markers, as well as a decrease in the number and size of colon cancer tumors, and also in the growth and spread of prostate cancer.
In cell and animal experiments, phenolic acids boost antioxidant and anti-inflammatory defenses against damage that could lead to cancer. Emerging evidence from animal research suggests that they may also improve glucose metabolism, reduce insulin resistance, and change the gut microbiota (colon microorganisms), resulting in a body environment that is less likely to support cancer. Vitamin E found in flaxseed in the form of gamma-tocopherol inhibits cancer cell proliferation in both cell and animal experiments.
Viscous fiber is a type of soluble dietary fiber that gels in the digestive tract, slowing digestion and, thus help in regulating blood sugar levels. Having healthy blood sugar and insulin levels may lessen the risk of various cancers. The effects of viscous fiber in the intestine may also help to lower estrogen levels in the blood. Hence, various research suggests that soluble dietary
fiber intake led to a decreased risk of breast cancer. Research has found a strong evidence that foods high in dietary fiber reduced the risk of weight gain and obesity. According to some research, viscous fiber, such as that found in flax seed, may help in reducing obesity and weight management by creating a sense of satiety in the body. Fiber-rich meals indirectly contribute to a lower risk of around 12 different types of cancers linked to high body fat by promoting a healthy weight.