Flaxseeds, sometimes referred to as linseeds, are one of the world’s oldest crops and have played an important role in the ancient Indian medicine system, Ayurveda, for centuries.
Rich in protein, fibre and omega 3 fatty acids, they’re tiny nutritional powerhouses. In particular, flaxseeds are rich in a compound called lignans. Lignans have shown in numerous studies that they have the capability to decrease the growth of cancerous tumours.
One study found that lignans produce compounds during digestion that are structurally similar to oestrogen, that bind to breast cancer cell receptors, slowing down their growth. Another found that flaxseeds can help to prevent prostate cancer tumours from growing new blood vessels, therefore slowing down their growth. An omega 3 fatty acid rich diet can also help to reduce the overall risk of developing breast cancer.
These tiny seeds have a mild, nutty flavour and can be eaten whole sprinkled on breakfast cereals, but they can be a bit difficult to chew. For this reason, they’re also available as a dried powder, that can also be sprinkled on cereals or added to smoothies and juices for a nutritional boost. Flaxseeds are also available as supplements, or as an oil that can be used for cooking or drizzling over salads.