What Is Flaxseed?

Flax-seeds-in-wooden-spoon

Why is flax seed so popular?

Flaxseed is the seed from the flax plant, a fiber crop that grows in cool regions. Although the flax plant’s origins can be traced back to ancient Egypt, flaxseed and other flax products have drawn many new fansin recent years. In fact, the Flax Council of Canada reports that about 300 new flax-based products were added to the market in Canada and the United States in 2010 alone. Flaxseed has become popular due to increasing public awareness of its numerous health benefits.

Healthy Components

Threemainnutritional components contribute to flaxseed’s “superfood” status. For starters, flaxseedis rich in omega-3 fatty acids, healthy fats that your body needs but can’t produce on its own. Flaxseedis also a rich dietary source of lignans. Lignans are plant compounds that act as antioxidants and have qualities of the hormone estrogen. The third component that contributes to flaxseed’s “superfood” status is its fiber. Flaxseed is high in soluble fiber as well as insoluble fiber.

Possible Benefits

Flaxseedoffers a multitude of possible health benefits. For example, flaxseed consumption has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease because its fiber and omega-3 fatty acids may help lower “bad” cholesterol levels, reduceblood pressure, prevent excessive blood clotting, anddecrease inflammation in the arteries.
The fiber in flaxseed may also help relieve constipation and promote weight loss. Additionally, flaxseed’s lignans may help slow down the spread of prostate cancer and help prevent certain estrogen-dependent cancers such as breast cancer, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research.

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