The Magic of Flax Seed for Women
It’s 5:57am on a Monday. You have woken up 3 minute before your alarm to intense cramping, a bloated stomach, and sore breasts. Yup, you started your week waking up to your period. The instinct to curl back up into a ball and never leave your bed again definitely sets in, but the bad-ass business women inside of you overcomes that instinct and next thing you know it’s time for breakfast! You break out the usual overnight oats with almond milk and dark chocolate chips. A healthy breakfast, but did you know that adding flax seeds to your breakfast can actually help with the cramping and breast pain?
It is true! Flax seeds are beneficial for women of all ages and can help with not only menstrual symptoms but also overall health!
Flax seeds are a functional food, meaning they provide health benefits outside of basic nutrition. They are a great source of fiber, omega-3-fatty acids and lignans, all of which are responsible for its vast array of health benefits.
The Facts on Flax: What do these seeds really do for your body?
1. Alleviate menstrual symptoms – Flax seeds are a great source of omega-3-fatty acids. Studies show that omega-3’s can actually help reduce the symptoms associated with PMS such as breast pain and cramping and improve overall quality of life. 1
2. Regulate ovulation – Not only can they reduce the nagging cramping and breast pain, but also they can actually help to normalize your ovulation and thus your monthly cycle.2
3. Manage body weight – A review study on the effect of flax seed on weight management concluded that they were effective for weight management and that those consuming flax seeds saw a significant reduction in weight and waist circumference.3
4. Decrease risk of breast cancer – A study conducted in 2013 showed that the consumption of flax seed actually reduced the risk of breast cancer among study participants.4 This is thought to be due to the presence of lignans (a phytoestrogen that can help prevent cancer), of which flax seed is the richest source.
5. Protect against chronic disease – Consumption of flax seed has been shown to prevent not only cardiovascular disease through lowering serum cholesterol and blood pressure levels but also to prevent diabetes mellitus and it’s complications.5
How much flax seed do I need?
To begin to reap the benefits of flax seed you should be consuming about 8 grams of milled flax seed per day. This comes out to be about 1 tablespoon. This can easily be added to a morning smoothie or bowl of oatmeal to start the day off right!
** As with any new health regime, it advised to discuss with your doctor or a registered dietitian to ensure that it is right for you.
1. Behboudi-Gandevani, S., Hariri, F.-Z. & Moghaddam-Banaem, L. The effect of omega 3 fatty acid supplementation on premenstrual syndrome and health-related quality of life: a randomized clinical trial. J. Psychosom. Obstet. Gynaecol. 1–7 (2017). doi:10.1080/0167482X.2017.1348496
2. Phipps, W. R., Martini, M. C., Lampe, J. W., Slavin, J. L. & Kurzer, M. S. Effect of flax seed ingestion on the menstrual cycle. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 77, 1215–9 (1993).
3. Mohammadi-Sartang, M. et al. The effect of flaxseed supplementation on body weight and body composition: a systematic review and meta-analysis of 45 randomized placebo-controlled trials. Obes. Rev. 18, 1096–1107 (2017).
4. Lowcock, E. C., Cotterchio, M. & Boucher, B. A. Consumption of flaxseed, a rich source of lignans, is associated with reduced breast cancer risk. Cancer Causes Control 24, 813–816 (2013).
5. Rodriguez-Leyva, D., Dupasquier, C. M. C., McCullough, R. & Pierce, G. N. The cardiovascular effects of flaxseed and its omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid. Can. J. Cardiol. 26, 489–96 (2010).