Flaxseed Reduces the Risk of Breast Cancer
A unique study conducted by the Prevention and Cancer Control facility in Toronto found that the consumption of flaxseed provided an 18% reduction in the risk of breast cancer, and eating flax bread showed even better results.
The study focused on 2,999 women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and 3,370 healthy women. They were all surveyed about their eating habits, particularly with an emphasis on flaxseed and flax bread. The dietary data was then analyzed to find if there was any relationship between breast cancer and flaxseed consumption.
The researchers found there was an 18% reduced risk of breast cancer in women who consumed flaxseed and a 23% reduced risk in those who ate flax bread. The research concluded that flaxseed intake was associated with a lower incidence of breast cancer.
The Benefits of Flaxseed
Flaxseed is a tiny golden grain which contains a high level of phytoestrogens which are thought to reduce the risk of breast cancer and protect from a recurrence. Flaxseeds contain lignans and alphalinolenic acid (ALA) which are both known to have cancer-fighting properties. Flaxseeds provide natural fiber, help reduce heart disease and osteoporosis as well as being used to treat hot flashes and arthritis.
ALA is an omega-3 fatty acid which is a valuable source of vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and beta-carotene. This polyunsaturated fat found in flaxseed also helps reduce inflammation. Lignans are a weak plant-based source of estrogen which connects with estrogen receptors in breast and endometrial tissue.
Although there is a correlation between flaxseed intake and a lower risk of breast cancer, researchers do not know why. One theory is that phytoestrogens in flaxseed may block the estrogen receptors on cells in the breast tissue, which may result in halting tumor growth and preventing cell damage by effectively starving them of strong female estrogen.
Studies are now underway to study the effect of a macrobiotic diet high in flaxseed on breast cancer sufferers. A macrobiotic diet is typically low in fat, high in fiber and rich in phytoestrogens from soy.
How to Add Flaxseed to Your Diet
Sprinkle flaxseed onto bread, cereal and salads to enhance flavor and add interest and texture. Scatter flaxseed over muffins and bread in the last few minutes of baking. Add it to batter when you make pancakes and waffles or mix it into bread dough before kneading and make sure you drink plenty of water too. In return flaxseed reduces constipation, lowers cholesterol and supports a healthy heart.
Stir flaxseed into soups, add it to salad dressings or toss a handful into a smoothie For dessert, cut fresh bananas into chunks and roll them in flaxseed before eating them with a fork or cocktail stick. Being healthy doesn't mean food has to be boring!