Flaxseed, also known as linseed, has been a part of human and animal diets for thousands of years. Even in the days of Hippocrates, flaxseed was eaten for its health benefits. Recently, however, flaxseed has gained popularity among health conscious Americans.
A Nutritional Plant Powerhouse
Flaxseed is the best plant source of omega-3 fatty acids (a healthy type of polyunsaturated fat). It also contains both soluble and insoluble fiber in addition to being one of the best plant sources for lignans, a type of phytoestrogen. These little seeds pack a big nutritional punch! One tablespoon of flaxseed contains:
- Calories: 40
- Protein: 1.6 grams
- Carbohydrate: 2.8 grams
- Fat: 2.8 grams (including .3 grams saturated, .6 grams monounsaturated, and 1.8 grams polyunsaturated)
- Fiber: 2.5-8 grams
- Sodium: 3 milligrams
Research shows that flaxseed may have the ability to:
- Prevent cancer and reduce tumor growth in the breast, prostate and colon.
- Decrease the risks of developing heart disease, blood clots, strokes, and cardiac arrhythmia by lowering total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure.
- Regulate bowel functions and prevent constipation.
- Relieve breast pain related to a woman's hormonal cycle.
- Possibly improve blood glucose control in diabetics.
- Help reduce inflammation associated with arthritis, Parkinson's disease and asthma.
- Promote eye and brain development in utero.