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Flaxseed - A Smart Choice
Flax Council of Canada
Flaxseed has been used in the diets of humans for thousands of years. The Babylonians cultivated flaxseed as early as 3,000 B.C., and millennia later, in 650 B.C., Hippocrates used flaxseed for the relief of intestinal discomfort. Flaxseed was so important for the health of his subjects that the 8th century king, Charlemagne, passed laws and regulations governing its consumption.
Today, consumers are turning to flaxseed for its many health benefits and pleasant, nutty flavour — a distinctive addition to baked products. Flaxseed provides essential nutrients, including protein, essential fatty acids, and vitamins and minerals; and it contains both soluble and insoluble dietary fibre. Moreover, flaxseed is a rich source of lignans, a type of phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogens are compounds that may protect against certain types of cancer by interfering with the effects of estrogen. Additional information about the nutritional components of flaxseed is given in the following sections.

A Mix of Fatty Acids
Flaxseed is naturally low in saturated fat and provides a moderate amount of monounsaturated fat (see Figure 1). Roughly 73% of the fatty acids in flaxseed are polyunsaturated. Flaxseed is particularly rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid; it contains a lesser amount of linoleic acid (LA), an omega-6 fatty acid. Because of its high ALA content, flaxseed has an omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio of 0.3:1. The growing concern that the linoleic acid content of the typical Western diet is too high has led some experts to recommend replacing dietary omega-6 fatty acids with those from the omega-3 family. Consuming flaxseed or foods rich in ALA, such as omega-3 enriched eggs derived from hens fed flaxseed, increases the omega-3 fatty acid content of the diet and improves the dietary omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio.
Tags: Flax, Flax seed, Flaxseed, Health Benefits, Nutrition, Omega 3