Flax and Breast Cancer

by Natalie on February 16, 2012

The common saying, “good things come is small packages” holds true for flaxseed.

Flaxseed looks very unassuming with its dark brown color and size just slightly larger than a sesame seed. Luckily research was able to unveil its wonderful properties.

There are 3 reasons why flaxseed is a breast cancer fighting food:

  1.  The richest dietary source of lignans – a compound found in food that has been studied for its anti-cancer effects. Lignans in flaxseed are 100 to 800 times higher than any other food.
  2. High in antioxidants
  3. High in omega-3 fatty acids

What Controversy?

There has a been a tad bit of a controversy around whether flaxseed is safe for breast cancer.

The lignans in flaxseed are a type of plant estrogen, but they have a much weaker effect than human estrogen. Research has even found that the plant estrogens found in soy have more of an estrogenic effect than flax. Even though the estrogenic effect of lignans are very weak, some people have been concerned if they could stimulate or promote estrogen sensitive breast cancer.

This is a valid concern, but you should know that the research done on flax and breast cancer do not show it as a cancer promoter. In fact, some studies have shown that flax intake actually decreased estrogen levels in postmenopausal women by interfering with the enzyme that creates estrogen. Many studies show flax as being protective, even when women with active breast cancer consumed it regularly.

The protective effects seem to be most promising for postmenopausal women. Although, in both pre and postmenopausal women, flaxseed intake has shown to shift estrogen production in the body to a more weak, less harmful form.

Studies have not shown that flaxseed increases recurrence of breast cancer.

How Much To Consume

There is no need to go crazy with flaxseed. I am a firm believer that too much of any good thing is bad. The recommended dose is 1 to 4 tablespoons of ground flaxseed everyday. This is the amount that has shown promising effects in research studies.

I treat flax as a food, not a supplement. Therefore, I don’t consume it everyday. I use it several times a week in smoothies and on my cereal.

Flaxseed Tips

  • Consume flaxseed ground. If the seed is not ground, it passes through your system undigested and you will not receive any benefits.
  • Store ground flaxseed in the refrigerator. Once flaxseed is ground, it can spoil quickly due to the high oil content.
  • Whole flaxseed can be stored at room temperature. Grind it in a coffee bean grinder when you need it. This is the freshest way to consume flax.
  • Flaxseed oil does not contain any lignans, but it does contain omega-3 fatty acids
Flaxseed Uses
  • Sprinkle on your cereal, oatmeal or yogurt
  • Mix into your smoothies or baked goods
Fun Flax Fact

Did you know that flaxseed can be used as an egg substitute in your baked good recipes? I have tried it in cakes, breads, muffins, and pancakes. It has worked great for me every time.

For each egg being replaced, mix 1 Tablespoon ground flax with 3 Tablespoons of water in a small bowl and let sit for 1 to 2 minutes. The mix will become gel-like.

 1 T ground flax + 3 T water = 1 egg.

Give it a try!

I’d like to leave you today with a quote

“When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.” – Herophilus

May you be healthy and may you be happy


photo by: AlishaV

shily July 23, 2013 at 1:04 am

ur information abt flax seed is very useful & interesting too…… ! thk u …..

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