Omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseed (its closest friends call it “flax”) is chock-full of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of fatty acid that benefits heart health. Flax happens to be the richest plant source of ALAs in the North American diet, making it a great choice for vegetarians and omnivores alike.
Lignans. These are a type of phytoestrogen, a group of compounds that are linked to a reduced risk of developing osteoporosis, heart disease and breast cancer. Lignans also have antioxidant properties. “Antioxidants protect cells from damage,” Zumpano explains. A lignan-rich diet may help ward off diseases such as heart disease and cancer. And flax happens to contain 75 to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods.
Fiber. Flax is an excellent source of soluble fiber, which absorbs water and slows down digestion. Soluble fiber can help lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar levels and lower the risk of heart disease.
Protein. Flaxseed is a good source of high-quality plant protein, comparable to soybeans.
Potassium. Potassium is a mineral that’s important for cell and muscle function and helps maintain normal blood pressure. Enter flaxseed, which has more potassium than (the famously potassium-rich) bananas.
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