Flax is one of the oldest cultivated crops. Flaxseed has several properties known to be beneficial in the treatment of high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries).
Consuming certain fish oils, particularly EPA, can help lower the risk of developing high blood pressure, stroke and clogged arteries. Flax seed and flax oil can provide the same benefits as eating fish – at a nominal cost. Your body can convert the fatty acid LNA (alpha linoleic acid) found in flax oil into EPA, the beneficial fish oil.
Flaxseed is the most concentrated food source of lignins. It results in over 100 times more lignin production than any of the other oils, seeds and grains tested. Bacteria in the bowel convert lignins into two main phytoestrogens: enterodiol and enterolactone. High levels of lignins can inhibit the synthesis of estrogen and estrogen-stimulated breast cancer cell growth.
Whole flaxseeds and their components seem to work best in the initial stages of breast cancer, whereas flax oil seems to work best when a tumor has already been established. This difference can most likely be attributed to the fact that less than five percent of the lignins make it to the oil during processing. Over 95 percent of the lignins remain in the ground-up seeds.
Flaxseed is inexpensive and probably the best way to enjoy all the benefits of flax. It provides fiber, as well as important minerals such as magnesium and trace elements. Flaxseeds store well in dark glass or light-proof plastic containers.
Flaxseed must be ground and consumed promptly to get all of the benefits, otherwise the precious oil can oxidize and go rancid.