Flax Seed Uses and Health Benefits

Photo credit: Dvortygirl CC-BY-SA-3.0

Flax seed has been a widely grown crop for thousands of years, and it is believed that it was one of the first plants that humans domesticated and farmed. The flax plant is one of the most versatile in the world, capable of being made into fabrics (especially linen), paints, fishing nets, dyes, soap, medicine, and all sorts of other things. The seeds produce an oil known as linseed oil or flaxseed oil.

Linseed oil is one of the most commonly used vegetable oils. In addition to being used in food, it has also been used as a finish and polish for wood and painted surfaces, in putty and caulk, and perhaps most notably in linoleum, which many people wrongly believe is made from man-made materials. Linoleum is actually wood or cork dust on canvas, overlaid with solidified linseed oil, making an all-natural floor covering that is especially suitable for people with allergies. Wood is also treated with linseed oil when making bats for some sports, including cricket.

The popularity of linseed oil for food preparation has been steadily growing again, because people have been paying more attention to the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. Flax seed contains an abundance of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is a plant-derived omega-3 essential fatty acid. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, ALA may help reduce systemic inflammation that often leads to various chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and high blood pressure. Flax seed also contains fiber-rich lignans, which have antioxidant and phytoestrogenic properties in the body. Lignans possess anti-cancer properties as well.

References:

University of Maryland Medical Center

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/alphalinolenic-acid

 

 

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About Robin R.
I’m an AFPA certified personal trainer & nutrition consultant, NASM certified corrective exercise specialist, NASM certified youth exercise specialist, online fitness coach and freelance writer specializing in health and fitness. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health. I specialize in weight loss, functional strength training, total body toning, aerobic conditioning, plyometric training, nutrition planning, and home-based boot camp style workouts for women. My goal is to make every personal training session fun and effective for my clients. My services include both in-home personal training and online fitness coaching.

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