I first met Barry, his wife, and 7-year-old son when they lived next door. Our kids soon became friends. Play dates, bike rides, sleepovers. I found myself spending a lot of time with this wonderful family. Barry, though, can bother the heck out of you! I’m not afraid of sharing that with you because he knows how irritating he can be. You either want to laugh out loud or pull your hair out. But, I know he means well, and if you don’t take offense to it, you will find yourself laughing often in his company. You either love him or hate him.
Barry is also a crazy health nut. I thought he was just on the healthy bandwagon like a lot of us. Then I found out he had a large, cancerous tumor on his back and was unable to walk just a few years ago. Never would’ve guessed that! He checked himself out of the hospital, quit smoking, and went on a strict vegan diet. Within 6 months, he was walking again. I can’t make this stuff up, people. Do you see why I had to share his story? After that, his annoying comments of “You’re eating meat. Did you know that’s someone child?” or “I don’t see the Organic symbol on your fruit”… weren’t so annoying anymore.
I started listening more to his food advice. The other day, when I mentioned, I was taking flaxseed, his eyes beamed. He explained the health benefits for cancer patients, pulled out his graphs, and reports. (Oh yeah, it’s hard to be right around him). Seeing his passion, I had to do some research for you and me.
Here’s what I found:
There’s evidence that flaxseed can reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease, and diabetes.
Health benefits of flaxseeds
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These are the “good” fats linked to keeping a healthy heart. One tablespoon of flaxseed can contain about 1.8 grams of omega-3s. Studies have suggested that the omega-3 in flaxseed may protect against breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer. It is assumed that the plant omega-3 fatty acids prevent tumors from growing. Because of growing demand, farmers use flaxseed in food for chickens to increase the levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Lignans have plant estrogen and antioxidant properties. Flaxseed has 75 to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods. It is believed that the lignans protect against cancers that are sensitive to hormones. One study suggested that lignans during adolescence help reduce the risk of breast cancer and increases the survival of breast cancer patients. They also block enzymes that promote growth and spread of tumor cells. Lignans in flaxseed are similar to an estrogen compound. They have a lowering effect on the testosterone.
- Fiber. Flaxseed contains both soluble and insoluble fiber. It is also low in carbs, which is a good combination.
Some call it one of the most powerful plant foods on the planet. There’s some evidence flaxseed may help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. That’s quite a tall order for a tiny seed that’s been around for centuries.
Nutrition of flaxseed
One tablespoon (10g) contains:
- 55 calories
- 3 grams of dietary fiber and only 0.3 g of sugars
- 4 grams of fat
- 2 grams of protein
- 10% of recommended daily intake of magnesium
Is flaxseed gluten free?
Plain roasted flaxseed is 100% gluten free and therefore very welcome in the diet of every celiac. Flaxseed is very flexible, you can use it in a variety of meals. The fiber and omega-3 content makes it very beneficial for the overall well-being. The flax seed is actually becoming quite popular in gluten-free recipes.
Perhaps you are asking how much flaxseed is recommended to consume per day. There is no firm answer to this question, as there is no risk of over-eating. If you would like to maximize the benefits of flaxseeds, about four tablespoons per day would be optimal.
Note: I’m not a doctor. I’m just a random person who knows a guy who cured himself of cancer. I’m not advising anyone to stop taking their meds.
Here’s my new breakfast:
Flaxseed Cottage cheese mixed with 2 tablespoons of milled flaxseed, honey, and granola. The flaxseed is a little nutty in taste at first, but you get used to it. It’s actually kind of yummy!
I have also switched to fruit smoothies with flax seed:
1 cup almond or coconut milk.
2-3 tablespoons golden ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon of organic vanilla