08 July, 2011
What Are the Benefits of Flax Seed Meal?
Flaxseed meal, also called linseed meal or ground flaxseed, can easily become part of your diet to help you increase your intake of essential nutrients. It may also have health benefits such as lowering your risk for heart disease and cancer, although research is still in the preliminary stages.
A 1-tablespoon serving of flaxseed meal contains 37 calories, 8 percent of the daily value for fiber and thiamine, 9 percent of the DV for manganese and 7 percent of the DV for magnesium. Fiber helps lower your risk for heart disease, high cholesterol, some types of cancer and constipation and may also help you control your weight and blood sugar level. Thiamine is important for turning the food you eat into energy, and manganese is essential for proper bone development and wound healing. You need magnesium for controlling your blood sugar and blood pressure levels. Flaxseed meal also provides the essential omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, which may lower your risk for heart disease, arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Potential Reduction in Cancer Risk
Beneficial plant compounds in flaxseed, called lignans, which act like estrogen in the body, may help lower your risk for cancer. These substances appear to reduce the spread of cancer cells, especially those that are hormone sensitive, including prostate, breast and endometrial cancer cells, according to an article published in "Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety" in May 2010.
Getting a daily dose of flaxseed may help you lower your cholesterol levels by as much as 11 percent due to the fiber, omega-3 fats and lignans it contains, according to an article published in "Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism" in October 2009. Flaxseed tends to lower low-density lipoprotein, or "bad" cholesterol, without affecting high-density lipoprotein, or "good" cholesterol, according to MedlinePlus.
Use and Considerations
You can mix flaxseed meal with water to use as a replacement for eggs in baked goods, or sprinkle it in your yogurt, sandwiches, smoothies or cereal. Check with your doctor before adding large amounts of flaxseed to your diet. Suddenly increasing your fiber intake by doing so could cause side effects, such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating or abdominal pain. Don't use flaxseed if you have a bowel condition that requires you to follow a low-fiber diet. Flaxseed may also interact with birth control pills, diabetes medications, blood thinners, acetaminophen and antibiotics.
- Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism: Experimental and Clinical Research Findings on the Cardiovascular Benefits of Consuming Flaxseed
- Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety: Flaxseed Lignans: Source, Biosynthesis, Metabolism, Antioxidant Activity, Bio-Active Components, and Health Benefits
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Flaxseed
- MedlinePlus: Flaxseed
- University of Arizona Extension: Dietary Fiber
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Thiamine
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Magnesium
- Linus Pauling Institute: Manganese
- fotokon/iStock/Getty Images