Some call it one of the most powerful plant foods on the planet. Flax seeds was cultivated in Babylon as early as 3000 BC. In the 8th century, King Charlemagne believed so strongly in the health benefits of flax seeds that he passed laws requiring his subjects to consume it. Now, thirteen centuries later, some experts say we have preliminary research to back up what Charlemagne suspected.
Flax seeds is found in all kinds of today’s foods from crackers to frozen waffles to oatmeal. The Flax Council estimates close to 300 new flax-based products were launched in the U.S. and Canada in 2010 alone. Not only has consumer demand for flax seeds grown, agricultural use has also increased. Flax seeds is what’s used to feed all those chickens that are laying eggs with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
Although flax seeds contains all sorts of healthy components, it owes its primary healthy reputation to three of them:
- Omega-3 essential fatty acids, “good” fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s.
- Lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. Flax seeds contains 75 to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods.
- Fiber. Flax seeds contains both the soluble and insoluble types.
Recent studies have suggested that flax seeds may have a protective effect against breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer.