What Are the Benefits of Flaxseed Powder?

by Deila Taylor, Demand Media Google
    Add a tablespoon of flaxseed powder to your favorite smoothie.

    Add a tablespoon of flaxseed powder to your favorite smoothie.

    Mix a spoonful of flaxseed powder into your fruit smoothie and you'll get a natural source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to your diet but are often hard to get. Since your body doesn't make omega-3 fatty acids, it's important to eat foods that supply this nutrient. Flaxseed powder is also called flaxseed meal or ground flaxseed; all three are the same healthy product and will boost your nutrition.

    Reduce Inflammation

    Chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and arthritis are often linked to inflammation. The omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed powder reduce inflammation. But you need to get just the right amount in relation to the omega-6 fatty acids you consume. The American diet supplies 14 to 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids, which cause inflammation, than the omega-3 acids. A lower ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids improves health. A ratio of 2.5-to-1 reduced cell proliferation in colorectal cancer patients and a 5-to-1 ratio had a beneficial effect on patients with asthma, according to the 2002 issue of "Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy." Inflammation was suppressed in rheumatoid arthritis patients who ate a diet of omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids in a ratio of 2-to-1. One tablespoon of flaxseed powder provides 1.6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids.

    Gluten Free

    Flaxseed powder is a gluten-free food. People who have allergies to the protein have celiac disease and must avoid all foods with gluten, which include wheat, rye and barley. Flaxseed has all of the essential amino acids in similar proportion to soybeans, touted as one of the most nutritious plant proteins. One cup of flaxseed powder contains 26 grams of protein and no gluten.

    Lower Cholesterol

    You may improve your cholesterol level when you add flaxseed powder to your diet. Ground flaxseed is high in alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, and the phytoestrogen, lignan, which may be responsible for lowering total cholesterol. The Linus Pauling Institute indicates that flaxseed lowers the "bad" LDL cholesterol -- or low-density lipoproteins -- which accumulates in blood vessels causing plague. A 2008 study compared the cholesterol levels of 62 men and women who ate foods enriched with 40 grams of ground flaxseed or wheat bran daily. The flaxseed group showed an LDL cholesterol decrease of 14 percent for women and 16 percent for men after five weeks. Results were published in the 2008 "Journal of the American College of Nutrition."

    Prevent Constipation

    Keep your bowels moving and healthy by including flaxseed powder. When ground into a powder or meal, you get all the benefits of whole flaxseed, which includes fiber. This fiber provides bulk to stools, making them softer and easier to pass through the colon. A diet high in fiber prevents constipation and improves intestinal health. It may prevent hemorrhoids and colon cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic. The National Institute of Medicine recommends that men ages 50 and younger get 38 grams of fiber per day and that women get 25 grams. One tablespoon of ground flaxseed gives you 2.2 grams of fiber and 36 calories.

    About the Author

    Deila Taylor received a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Occidental College with graduate work towards a Ph.D. in pharmacology and nutrition at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. Taylor has written for LoopLane, The Nutrition Counselor, Eve Out of the Garden and produces interviews for The Mormon Women Project. She is a member of the American Society for Nutrition.

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