Health Benefits Of Flax SeedsFlaxseed and flaxseed oil contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid that partly and inefficiently is converted into DHA and EPA - more active omega-3s - in the body. While flaxseed hasn't yet been shown to improve heart disease risk, there's some evidence that flaxseed and flaxseed oil may lower cholesterol levels. Flaxseed's health benefits come from the fact that it's high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as phytochemicals called lignans. One tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains 2 grams of polyunsaturated fatty acids (includes the omega 3s) and 2 grams of dietary fiber and 37 calories.
Whole flaxseeds (not the extracted oil) are a rich source of lignans (phytoestrogens), substances that appear to positively affect hormone-related problems. Lignans may also be useful in preventing certain cancers and combating specific bacteria, fungi, and viruses, including those that cause cold sores and shingles. Flaxseeds are a a great source of fiber and work as a natural laxative. They are a great way to keep things regular.
Flaxseed is commonly used to improve digestive health or relieve constipation. Flaxseed may also help lower total blood cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol levels, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
The essential fatty acids in flaxseed oil are one of its key healing components. EFAs are particularly valuable because the body needs them to function properly, but can't manufacture them on its own. Essential fatty acids work throughout the body to protect cell membranes, keeping them efficient at admitting healthy substances while barring damaging ones.
Although flaxseed contains all sorts of healthy components, it owes its primary healthy reputation to three of them:
• Omega-3 essential fatty acids, "good" fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s.
• Lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. Flaxseed contains 75 to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods.
• Fiber. Flaxseed contains both the soluble and insoluble types.
Flaxseed oil contains concentrated amounts of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fat. Vegetarians and vegans often use this as a substitute for fish oil, although there are differing opinions over whether the Omega-3 in flaxseed oil is as beneficial as that in fish oil. Ground flaxseed has been shown to work just as well as statins in lowering cholesterol. It is a good source of magnesium and contain high levels of lignans. Lignans may protect against estrogen-dependents cancers such as breast cancer.
Benefits Of Flax Seeds
• Improve your cardiovascular health, lowering your blood pressure, the "bad" cholesterol (LDL) and blood triglyceride values
• Prevent arterial clots that may result in strokes, heart attacks and thromboses
• Boost your immune system, reduce inflammation in your body, alleviate some allergies and any asthma symptoms
• Improve your eyesight and the perception of colors offering you good protection against macular degeneration when aging
• Support your healthy joints and improve the absorption of calcium
• Help healing any sprains and bruises faster and shorten the recovery time of exhausted muscles
• Soothe ulcers, irritable bowel disorders and improve your colon health, lowering the risk of colon cancer significantly
• Improve your moods and help certain cases of depression
• Strengthen brittle nails and help with flaky skin, eczema, psoriasis, alopecia and dandruff
• Reduce PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) and cool down hot flashes - an invaluable benefit if you're a menopausal woman
Flaxseeds are an ideal way for those who don't eat sufficient oily fish to ensure they get enough omega-3. Ideally, buy the seeds whole and grind them in a blender to make the meal. Flaxseed meal can also be used as a binder or egg substitute in baked goods for people who are allergic to eggs. The seeds can be sprinkled on fruit, veggies, cereal and yoghurt, while flax-seed meal can be used in baking or to bulk out meat dishes. This way you increase your omega-3 levels and fiber intake at the same time.
Like other sources of fiber, flaxseed should be taken with plenty of water or other fluids. Flaxseed shouldn't be taken at the same time as oral medications or other dietary supplements. As always, talk with your doctor before trying any dietary supplements.
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