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Elaine Magee, MPH, RD posted:
The Health Benefits Of Flax
Ground flaxseed is truly one of the most powerful plant foods on the planet. In case you were wondering what all the fuss is about. Here are the main health benefits of ground flaxseed.

Health Benefit #1 Possibly protective against some types of cancer
Recent studies have suggested that flaxseed may have a protective effect against cancer, particularly of the breast and prostate, and colon. It isn't just one but at least two components in flaxseed that seem to be contributing some protection. In animal studies, the plant omega-3 in flaxseed, ALA, inhibited tumor incidence and growth and there is some evidence that the phytoestrogens in flaxseed, lignans, may provide some protection against hormone sensitive cancers.

Health Benefit #2 Flaxseed may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease several different ways
Several studies suggest that diets rich in flaxseed omega-3s help you prevent plaque from being deposited in arteries partly by inhibiting white blood cells from sticking to the inner lining of blood vessels. Plant omega-3s may also play a role in maintaining the heart's natural rhythm and may be useful in treating arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) and heart failure, although more research needs to be done on this). Cholesterol lowering effects of flaxseed are suspected to be due to the synergistic benefits of omega 3 ALA; fiber and lignans.

Health Benefit #3 Flaxseed gives inflammation the 1-2 punch
Two of the main components in flaxseed, ALA (plant omega-3s) and lignans, both have anti-inflammatory effects by helping to block the release of certain pro-inflammatory agents. The Plant omega-3, ALA, has been shown to decrease inflammatory reactions in humans while the phytoestrogens in flax (lignans), according to animal studies, decrease the levels of several pro-inflammatory agents. Reducing inflammatory reactions associated with plaque build up in the arteries may be another way that flaxseed helps prevent heart attack and strokes.

Health Benefit #4 May help harness half your hot flashes
One preliminary study on menopausal women published in 2007 reported that 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed (twice each day) cut hot flashes in half AND the intensity of the hot flashes dropped by 57% too. And here's perhaps the most exciting part...the ladies noticed a difference after talking their daily flaxseed for a week. The maximum benefit was achieved within 2 weeks of taking the flaxseed.

Buying Flaxseed
* Buy it ground or grind it yourself.
Flaxseed, when eaten whole, is more likely to pass through the intestinal tract undigested (which means your body isn't getting all the healthful components of flax).

* Milled = ground = flax meal
Don't be confused by the different product names for ground flaxseed. Milled or ground flaxseed is the same thing as flax meal.

* The freezer is best
If you buy flaxseed ground or once you grind it yourself, the best place to store it is the freezer. Freeze ground flaxseed in the bag you bought it in or in a plastic sealable bag if you are grinding it yourself. The freezer will keep the ground flax from interacting with light and air and from oxidizing and losing its nutritional potency.

* Make adding flax a new habit
Every time you have a certain food like hot oatmeal, smoothies, soup, or yogurt, get into the habit of stirring in a couple tablespoons of ground flaxseed. Soon it will be a habit and you won't have to think about it, you'll just do it.

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