Food is our number one line of defense against a host of diseases, so it is important to include the essential components to create a diet that will serve us best. We must include the specific foods which will reverse heart disease, keep our cholesterol low, reduce our risk for stroke and cancers, and keep our energy high. It may sound overwhelming, but I like having control over what can help me be healthy.
This “Daily Food Essentials” article will focus on one essential component of our daily diet—flaxseeds. Flaxseeds are high in fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids. The impressive lignans found in flaxseeds, (a phytoestrogenic compound) when added to our diet, help to PREVENT breast cancer and prostate cancer. In addition to helping prevent cancer, lignans also are proven to reduce the size of tumors, in as little as 3-5 weeks. Flaxseeds are so powerful because they contain 100 to 800 times more lignans than any other known plant source. (Source: Mercola.com)
Plant lignans work when converted to human lignans by the good bacteria in our gut. This is a reason why it is important to not overuse antibiotics, because they kill the good bacteria, which then drops the body’s ability to make anticancer compounds from the plants we eat. Dr. Greger hypothesizes that this may be why women with urinary tract infections may be at higher risk for breast cancer, as they have to go through various courses of antibiotics. (Source: Nutrition Facts)
The chart below presents the manner in which flaxseeds work:
|Lowering your overall production of estrogen||Blocking environmental estrogens from attaching to breast tissue|
|Creating more of a “good” protective type of estrogen||Protecting your breast tissue from the damaging effects of environmental toxins|
|Decreasing three different growth factors associated with the growth of breast cancer||Blocking the aromatase enzyme in a way similar to the drug Arimidex|
|Lengthening your menstrual cycle||Blocking the estrogen receptor in a way similar to the drug Tamoxifen|
Chart from Mercola.com
It is important to note, that it is more effective to eat ground flaxseeds rather than whole flaxseeds. This is because whole flaxseeds may pass through the intestines undigested, indicating that your body is not reaping the benefits from them by converting them in your gut.
I try to include 2 Tbsp of flaxseeds daily to my diet, which is actually a very cheap, but scientifically proven, method of prevention. In studies, 3 tbsp daily of flaxseeds were used to demonstrate tumor shrinkage, but even one teaspoon can elicit results. Flaxseeds can be purchased at most supermarkets or you can buy them online here.
Here are some ideas of ways to include them into your diet:
- Add 1-2 Tbsp in your daily smoothie (or Breakfast Ice Cream
- Add 1-2 Tbsp to your salad, cereal, or yogurt
- Bake them into muffins. Here is a recipe for Gluten free banana muffins, and one for Cranberry Flax Muffins but you can just add the flax seeds to any recipe
- Use a flax egg in place of a regular egg when baking. You do this by adding 1 Tbsp of flax to 3 Tbsp of warm water and letting sit for a few minutes before adding to recipe.
- Buy or make flax crackers.
A note of caution:
- Do not take flaxseed if you are undergoing radiological procedures, as linseed may interfere with the reading of certain tests.
- On occasion, anaphylaxis has been noted following flaxseed intake.
- Make sure to take flaxseeds with plenty of liquids.
(Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Society)