Take a tip from your vet. Dogs are eating this wonder food every day, why not you? Wouldn’t you also like a soft, glossy coat and healthy skin? This superseed is known for its immune system benefits and anti-inflammatory properties. What is it? It’s ground flaxseed.
Per a study published in the American Journal of Physiology¹, flaxseed is actually considered a ‘functional food’. That is, it:
- Has physiological benefits and/or
- Reduces the risk of chronic disease
- Has basic nutritional effects
Dietary flaxseed is a rich source of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) and lignans which may help:
1. Decrease inflammation by blocking the release of some pro-inflammatory agents. Studies show atherosclerotic plaque regression can occur when inflammation is inhibited. Once plaque regression occurs, your arterial walls can heal and are better able to open and relax (necessary for healthy heart function). See “Inflammation | Foods that Heal and Harm“.
2. Decrease total cholesterol by 7% and LDL levels or “bad” cholesterol by 10%. (Per a study of menopausal women² that consumed 4 tablespoons of ground flaxseed each day for three months.)
3. Reduce atherosclerotic plaque buildup by up to 75%. Arteries harden when plaque is deposited in the arteries (atherosclerosis). Some studies suggest that flaxseed omega-3’s keep white blood cells from sticking to the inner lining of the blood vessels.
Good Source of Lignans
Lignans are naturally-occurring chemicals found in plants like flaxseed and are made up of antioxidants.
- Fiber-rich foods are good sources of plant lignans.
- Flaxseed (and sesame seeds) contain especially high levels of lignans (75-800 times more than other plant foods.) NOTE: Flaxseed oil does not contain appreciable amounts of lignans.
How Flaxseeds Size Up
Walnuts, flaxseed and fish are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids and contain the following amounts:
- 2.6 gm – About 14 walnut halves, approximately one ounce
- 2.4 gm – Two tablespoons of ground flaxseed
- 2.1 gm – One 4-oz. serving salmon (DHA and EPA omega-3 source)
Fit Tip: Get your daily dose of omega-3’s, lignans and fiber by mixing in two (2) tablespoons of ground flaxseed into your yogurt, hot or cold cereal, or smoothie. You can also mix ground flaxseed into your favorite baked recipes, such as muffins, pancakes, waffles, quick breads, and even brownies!
¹Effects of dietary flaxseed on atherosclerotic plaque regression. American Journal of Physiology – Heart and Circulatory Physiology. 2012.
²Flaxseed reduces total and LDL cholesterol concentrations in Native American postmenopausal women. Journal of Women’s Health. 2002.