It reduces your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. It may help protect you against breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer. It helps you lose weight and it helps clean your GI tract. You could add it to pretty much anything that you eat and it doesn’t really taste like anything so you wouldn’t even notice. And it doesn’t cost much. You can find it for less than $4 online or just get it at Trader Joe’s for a little more than that. If those aren’t reason enough to start adding flaxseed to your diet, I’ve added a few facts about it’s three main components (Fiber, Lignans and Omega-3s) below.
There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Flaxseed has both!
- Soluble fiber is good for us because it attracts water and together they combine to form a gel. This gel helps slow down our digestion which means that we have that feeling of ‘fullness’ for a lot longer. Soluble fiber also helps lower our LDL blood cholesterol levels by interfering with the absorption of dietary cholesterol. LDLs collect in the walls of blood vessels and causes blockages and blood clots that may cause atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the arteries) which in turn may lead to a heart attack, a stroke or even death.
- Insoluble fiber is considered ‘gut-healthy’ because it has a laxative effect and prevents constipation. Because it’s insoluble (it doesn’t dissolve in water), it goes through our GI tract and grabs on to all the crap in our body and then we poop it out.
- How much fiber do we need?
- 35-40 grams a day for men
- 25 grams a day for women
Lignans are a chemical compound found in plants and have antioxidant qualities. Just like fiber, lignans help lower our LDL levels. The lignans found in flaxseed help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke because they have been shown to reduce atherosclerotic plaque buildup by up to 75%.
Omega-3s act as an anti-inflammatory by helping block the release of pro-inflammatory agents. This reduction of inflammation associated with plaque buildup in the arteries may be another reason that flaxseed helps reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. And because there is less plaque in our arteries, our heartbeat and blood pressure normalizes.
Give flaxseed a shot! What do you got to lose?