Flaxseeds are a great source of fibre and work as a natural laxative. They are a great way to keep things regular. Flaxseed oil contains concentrated amounts of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fat. Vegetarians and vegans often use this as a substitute for fish oil, although there are differing opinions over whether the Omega-3 in flaxseed oil is as beneficial as that in fish oil. Ground flaxseed has been shown to work just as well as statins in lowering cholesterol. Flaxseeds are a good source of magnesium.
Flaxseeds contain high levels of lignans. Lignans may protect against estrogen-dependents cancers such as breast cancer. An ounce of ground flaxseed per day was shown to regulate estrogen levels in post-menopausal women. Flaxseeds have been shown to protect post-menopausal women from heart disease.
Flaxseed also has been proven to decrease insulin resistance and may protect against diabetes. Preliminary research in mice shows that flaxseeds may prevent or slow the spread of prostate cancer and more studies in mice show
that flaxseed may prevent or slow the spread of melanoma.
As with everything, moderation is important. Too many flaxseeds may cause negative effects. Just one tablespoon per day is enough in most cases. If you are unsure how much is right for you consult your doctor.