The facts about flaxseed, otherwise known as linseed.
Flaxseed is a good source of dietary fibre and omega-3 fatty acids. The fibre in flaxseed is found primarily in the seed coat. Omega-3 fats are important for maintaining the body's health. Oily fish are a common source of some types of omega-3, but for those of you who don’t like the repeating taste of fish for the rest of the day, flaxseed is a great alternative.
Here is a list of some of the benefits and precautions about flaxseed.
• Can be useful in helping maintain your weight if taken before a meal, flaxseed fibre seems to make people feel less hungry, so that they might eat less food.
• Some people believe flaxseed helps with heart health, supports a person's mood and emotional wellbeing and helps maintain the skin's barriers.
• For systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), flaxseed is thought to improve kidney function by decreasing the thickness of blood, reducing cholesterol levels, and reducing swelling.
• It can help lower haemoglobin A1C, a measure of average blood sugar level over three months, in people with type 2 diabetes
• Lowering cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol. Various flaxseed preparations - including ground flaxseed, partially defatted flaxseed, and flaxseed bread and muffins - seem to significantly reduce total cholesterol and the “bad cholesterol in people with normal cholesterol levels and in men and pre-menopausal women with high cholesterol.
• It is useful for the treatment of constipation but before use please note the precautions below*
Flaxseed is LIKELY SAFE for most people, however there are some conditions that may be affected by it please see below.
• Bleeding disorders: Flaxseed might slow clotting. This raises the concern that it could increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders. Don’t use it, if you have a bleeding disorder.
• Adding flaxseed to the diet might increase the number of bowel movements each day. It might also cause gastrointestinal (GI) side effects such as bloating, gas, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhoea, stomach ache, and nausea.
• *Gastrointestinal (GI) obstruction: People with a bowel obstruction, a narrowed oesophagus (the tube between the throat and the stomach), or an inflamed (swollen) intestine should avoid flaxseed. The high fibre content of flaxseed might make the obstruction worse.
• Although it is non-toxic it is not recommended for use when you are trying to become pregnant, are already pregnant or breast feeding, as it can act like the hormone oestrogen.
• Hormone-sensitive cancers or conditions: Because flaxseed might act somewhat like the hormone oestrogen, there is some concern that flaxseed might make hormone-sensitive conditions worse. Some of these conditions include breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer; endometriosis; and uterine fibroids. However, some early laboratory and animal research suggests that flaxseed might actually oppose oestrogen and might be protective against hormone-dependent cancer. Still, until more is known, avoid excessive use of flaxseed if you have a hormone-sensitive condition.
• High triglycerides: Partially defatted flaxseed (flaxseed with less alpha linoleic acid content) might increase triglyceride levels. If your triglyceride levels are too high, don’t take flaxseed.
Always remember to check with your GP or pharmacist if you are taking any other medication or have a condition that may be affected by the use of supplements.