Breast cancer has been responsible for one of the highest mortality rates of cancer patients worldwide. Medical Science experts are continuously finding ways to beat this terminal disease that affects women of all ages and races. Naturopathy and conventional medicine may be on a long road but there may yet be hope on how flaxseed can help prevent breast cancer. This wonder seed is considered to be on the top studies associated with breast cancer.
Over the past 30 years, women have had great progress in the early detection of breast cancer. Those who have been diagnosed now have fewer chances of recurrence and higher survival rates due to a wide range of health information on how to fight the disease naturally. With the right choice of food in one’s diet and adding superfoods or nutrient-rich natural food such as flaxseed, may yet be your strongest artillery in fighting cancer.
What is Flaxseed?
Flaxseed is a power crop that has been cultivated for food and fiber used for textiles in western countries. But for thousands of years, this tiny seed has been a huge part of Ayurvedic medicine because of its therapeutic benefits to one’s state of health.
Not only do these seeds contain a rich load of fiber and antioxidants, but it also has the highest source of healthy fats. The seed boasts of high protein nutrients, a remarkable abundance of lignans as well as alpha-linolenic acids or essential omega-3 fatty acids.
Why Is Flaxseed Good For Your Health?
Flaxseeds have been primed to where it is today due to 3 of its components :
The seed contains a high percentage of lignans with 95% of which are SDGs or secoisolariciresinol diglucoside which act similarly to antiestrogens that bind cells and inhibits cancer cell growth. Flaxseed carries 800 times the amount of lignans of other plants and seeds.
Omega-3 fatty acids
These are the good fats responsible for maintaining a healthy heart. A spoonful of ground flaxseed will reap you the benefits of 1.8 grams of essential omega-3 fatty acids
Flaxseed contains rich amounts of phytosterol fiber that prevents cholesterol from getting absorbed in the intestines.
Flaxseed is a versatile ingredient used in many food products to help in improving your cardiovascular system and other diseases. Although many studies on flaxseed are not yet fully supported by research, firm facts oh its health benefits are there for everyone to reap.
Health Benefits of Flaxseed
Cholesterol Control and Heart Health
Flaxseed is densely rich with a fiber called phytosterol, which is similar to the structure of cholesterol. However, these fibers keep bad cholesterol from getting absorbed in the intestines. When one consumes food rich in nutritious fiber, it may help improve the levels of bad cholesterol also known as LDL. Studies have shown a decrease of 10% in the cholesterol levels of male subjects who consumed 3 tablespoons of these seeds in just 3 months. On the other hand, the study did not have the same effect on women.
In general, fiber reduces cholesterol build up in the body and decreases the risk of acquiring cardiovascular illnesses. Flaxseed has both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber as it dissolves in the body helps bring down cholesterol as well as glucose levels. The American Heart Association recommends making fiber a huge part of the diet to maintain a healthy heart. Fiber helps to keep weight down as it gives a feeling of fullness to control one from overeating.
Controls Blood Sugar
Phytoestrogens as well as lignans have been found to help in the prevention of chronic diseases like diabetes due to its anti-inflammatory properties. A study in 2013 was conducted on pre-diabetic and overweight men and women going through menopause. Each was given different amounts of flaxseed a day for 12 weeks.
The results showed a significant improvement in insulin sensitivity and decreased glucose and insulin levels. Other studies have also shown a delay in the onset of type 2 diabetes, however, these are still on the table for further research.
Lignans and ALA ( alpha-lipoic acid ) are said to reduce inflammation that comes with diseases like Parkinson’s and asthma. It is because ALA’s are water and fat-soluble, which makes it easier to interact with cells and body tissue. ALA’s have antioxidants that reduce the body’s reaction to inflammation. Lignans have been found to also have the same effect on inflammatory agents. Arteries with plaque build-up are often associated with inflammation. Flaxseed may help prevent incidents of strokes and heart attacks as well as improve nerve function.
Menopausal Hot Flashes
A study in 2007 on menopausal women showed a significant reduction of hot flashes by nearly half of the occurrence and intensity when given at least 2 tablespoons of flaxseed in their daily diet. This improvement was noticeable just within the first week and full maximum relief from hot flashes in just two weeks.
Research also has been done by introducing 40 gms of flaxseed to menopausal women who are not taking estrogen therapy. The results also showed an improvement in the symptoms and cut their hot flashes by 57%. Ground flaxseed was included in their daily diet like yogurt, cereal, and mixed with drinks.
Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer Prevention
Lignans and omega -3 fatty acids in flaxseeds may be the key against colon cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer. This comes from the Flax Council of Canada, where studies conducted found that plant-based omega 3 fatty acids in flaxseed inhibit the growth of tumors in the body. Being exposed to lignans, especially as early as adolescence also seems to provide the same protection and reduces the risk of developing hormone-sensitive cancers such as breast cancer.
The presence of lignans in the body contains antiangiogenic properties that help block the enzymes active in hormone metabolism as it disrupts cancer cell growth thus preventing tumor cells from spreading. This may yet contribute to the increase in survival rates of cancer patients. Flaxseed is said to contain 800 times more lignans than any other superfood out there.
A study on a group of men with prostate cancer showed that a low-fat diet with added flaxseed seemed to have stopped the growth of prostate cancer cell tumors. In the same manner, a study on women with breast cancer, indicated reduced growth of cancer cells when introduced to a low-fat diet with flaxseed.
Because lignans are made of SDG or secoisolariciresinol diglucoside, this is an antiestrogen property that binds into cancer cells and suppresses it from growing in size and numbers. Even with cell culture studies, the introduction of flaxseed with Tamoxifen showed even greater reduced tumor growth in breast cancer and prostate cancer patients.