Flaxseed is a natural product that provides a variety of different health benefits. It contains omega-3 fatty acids and other compounds, which can be helpful for lowering cholesterol, reducing symptoms of menopause, and relieving constipation. Flaxseed can be eaten plain, but is most commonly found in baked goods. Common side effects include gas, nausea, and diarrhea.
Flaxseed, as you might guess, is the seed of the flax plant. It is a great source of fiber and alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid. It may provide a variety of different health benefits. People consume flaxseed in several different ways, including as baked goods, as a powder (mixed in with drinks or foods), eaten plain, or mixed into cereals or other foods.
Flaxseed is not exactly the same as flaxseed oil, which does not contain some of the active components. The information in this article does not apply to flaxseed oil.
(Click Benefits of Flaxseed for more information.)
Flaxseed contains several different components that may provide health benefits, including:
- Alpha-linolenic acid -- An omega-3 fatty acid that may lower cholesterol and may be useful for people with heart disease
- Lignans -- Phytoestrogens (plant-based estrogen-like compounds) that might help with hot flashes or other menopause symptoms and may have protective effects against cancer
- Soluble fiber -- This may help lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, promote colon health, and relieve constipation.