The health benefits of ground flax

Diet plays a key role in our health and wellness and in the prevention of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cancer. Functional foods are specific foods that provide health benefits and/or reduce the risk of chronic diseases beyond basic nutrition. Flaxseed is a functional food with proven health benefits that makes sense to incorporate into our daily diet! 

Main Health-Promoting Compounds in Ground Flax

The three main health-promoting compounds in ground flaxseed are omega 3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), soluble fibre and lignans.

  • Omega 3-ALA is an essential fat that is vital to life, but cannot be produced by our body. So, it must be obtained through our diet. Omega-3 helps decrease inflammation in our body, and reduces the build up of plaque and blockages in our arteries, both of which are major causes of heart disease and stroke. Flaxseed is the richest plant source of ALA.
  • Fibre - Ground whole flaxseed is high in both soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre absorbs the “bad” fat from our blood, which helps reduce cholesterol and high blood pressure. Insoluble fibre is great for promoting bowel regularity.
  • Lignans are phytoestrogens, which are plant compounds that have estrogen-like properties that may reduce cancer. Lignans interact with the “friendly” bacteria in our stomach to produce potent antioxidants.

Recognized Health Benefits of Ground Flax

Health Canada approved a health claim in 2014 linking the daily consumption of 40 grams or 5 tablespoons of ground whole flaxseed to the lowering of blood cholesterol -- a major risk factor for heart disease. The health claim attributes the cholesterol lowering effects of ground flaxseed to the combination of omega-3, fibre, lignans and protein working together. 

The Significance of the Health Canada Health Claim

The approval of a health claim is based on scientific evidence and is indicative that a significant amount of clinical research has taken place. The results of the combined studies submitted to Health Canada that led to their regulatory approval, conclude that ground flaxseed may decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease between 1 and 18 percent. The health claim, which is the only health claim in the world for daily ground flax consumption, provides consumers with the specific type and quantity of flax to eat on a daily basis to achieve the associated health benefits. Having this information makes it much easier for consumers to implement.

Links

For more information on all the health benefits associated with daily flax consumption visit: