Benefits of Flaxseed
Flaxseed is a natural product that is high in fiber and contains omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that flaxseed benefits include lowering cholesterol, relieving mild menopause symptoms, and preventing and relieving constipation. Research also shows that high dietary intake of alpha-linolenic acid (a component in flaxseed) can significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks and heart disease.
Flaxseed (also known as linseed) is the seed of flax, a plant that is grown throughout the United States and various parts of the world. It is grown both for its fibers (used for fabrics and other uses) and for its seeds (used in foods and nutritional products). Flaxseed contains omega-3 fatty acids and other compounds that may provide a variety of different health benefits.
Flaxseed is not exactly the same as flaxseed oil, which does not contain some of the active components of flaxseed. The information in this article does not apply to flaxseed oil.
This article will focus on a few of the more established health benefits of flaxseed, including uses for the following conditions:
- High cholesterol
- Heart disease
- Menopause symptoms
- Lupus nephritis (a kidney condition associated with systemic lupus erythematosus).
Preliminary studies have demonstrated that various forms of flaxseed (such as raw flaxseed and flaxseed in baked goods) can help lower cholesterol, although the evidence is not conclusive. Specifically, flaxseed may lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol). It does not seem to have much effect on HDL cholesterol ("good" cholesterol) or triglycerides, although partially defatted flaxseed (which is flaxseed that has some of the fat removed) may actually increase triglycerides.