Flaxseed Shows Promise in Cancer Treatment

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NIH Report, June 2007 – Flaxseed has been making an appearance in many forms on Go Dairy Free.  We like its nutritional profile, and the ease of adding it to smoothies and other “raw” recipes.  When combined with water, ground flaxseed can also act as an egg substitute in baking.  But beyond its versatility and Omega-3 benefits, it seems there may be one more reason to consider adding flaxseed to your diet, potential cancer protection.

Americans spend an unbelievable amount of money on complementary and alternative therapies, including dietary supplements such as flaxseed and flaxseed oil.  With such broad use, the National Institute of Health is now feeling the need to investigate such foods to explore if they truly are beneficial, or if they could actually be harmful.

Using a team out of the Duke University Medical Center, researchers underwent a study investigating the potential of flaxseed as a supplement for men who were scheduled to undergo surgery for prostate cancer.  The results were promising. 

With 161 men in the study, half added 30 grams of flaxseed (about 1 to 2 Tablespoons of ground flaxseed) daily to their diets for roughly 30 days. Half of this group also went on a low-fat diet.  After surgery, both of the flaxseed groups, low fat diet or not, saw their cancer cells grow at a 30 to 40 percent slower rate than the control (no flaxseed) group.

While the researchers cannot definitively say that flaxseed is protective against prostate cancer, it is likely that further studies on its protective and preventive capabilities will be initiated.

How to Get Flaxseed in Your Diet:  To retain the most nutrition from your flaxseeds, it is best to grind flaxseeds (spice/coffee grinder works well) just before you want to use them as they can go rancid quickly.  Pre-ground flax meal can be purchased in stores, though it is best to go with a reputable brand that is well sealed.  While a Tablespoon of flax meal can be tossed into almost any recipe, It is widely noted that raw flaxseeds will retain more health benefits than flaxseeds that have been heated.  Here are a few "raw" ideas for adding flaxseed to your diet:

  • Add one Tablespoon of flaxseed to your favorite smoothie while blending
  • Stir one Tablespoon of flax meal into your morning cereal, oatmeal, or (soy) yogurt
  • Sprinkle one Tablespoon of flax meal atop your morning toast of peanut butter and jam
  • Whirl some flaxseed into your mashed potatoes or pureed vegetables

For some great flax based snacks, check out Foods Alive (they also have flavored flax oils), Matter of Flax, and Go Raw.

 

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Senior Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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