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- Flax

- Menopause

- Menstruation

- Osteoporosis


Flax (Linum usitatissimum)

Flax is a versatile crop. There are many different varieties of flax. Flax seeds are used for different purposes such as for food, feed, and industrial purposes. Flax used for food is a different variety from the others.

The term "flaxseed" and "linseed" are used interchangably to describe flax. Flax is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), omega-3 fatty acid and linoleic acid (LA). Flax also contains vitamins, minerals, proteins and is also rich in dietary fibre and low in carbohydrates.

People, especially the Japanese, have been using flax for centuries as a food source.

Phytochemicals

Flax also contains photochemicals such as phenolic acids, lignans and flavonoids.

Phenolic acids are chemicals found abundantly in plants which appear to have antioxidant, antimicrobial and anticancer activities.

Lignans is another photochemical which has anticancer and antioxidant potential.

Flavonoids are antioxidants that are found in many fruits, vegetables, wine and tea.

Phytoestrogens

Flax contain phytoestrogens which may help relieve menopausal symptoms and diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and osteoporosis.

In Europe, menopausal symptoms such as vaginal dryness, mood swings and hot flashes are treated with phytoestrogens which are plant estrogens. Phytoestrogens have both estrogenic and anti-estrogenic activity which can normalize hormonal balance.

Since some phytoestrogens have hormone-like actions, further research will need to be done to determine their benefits and risks.

You should contact your doctor before supplementing your diet with flax.