(NaturalNews) Flax seed, a substance that is more popular than many individuals realize, is the seed of the Linum usitatissimum plant and has long been a resource for the production of both food and clothing. Due to its high levels of dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, flax seed is utilized to increase the health benefits of various foods. The seed comes in several different forms and is used to make flax seed oil, which is also a healthy supplement utilized by many individuals and food production companies. The question coming up more and more now is which type of flax seed meal is more beneficial - regular meal or defatted meal?
When ground up into a finer texture, the seeds are referred to as flax seed meal, and this is the form that most people consume. Defatted flax seed contains a lower level of alpha-linolenic acid, which is present in more substantial levels in regular flax seed. The health benefits of both defatted and regular flax seed meal are extensive: including lowering high cholesterol levels, lowering hemoglobin A1c, which is the average measure of an individual's blood sugar level over a period of 3 months, improving kidney function, and relieving some of the symptoms of menopause (though flax seed is most likely not an effective treatment for osteoporosis, or the weakening of bones, from which many menopausal women suffer).
Flax seed has also been attributed with the ability to provide other health benefits, but these claims have yet to gather sufficient evidence. However, they do carry some weight, if very little, as many people have noted their existence. These supposed health benefits are said by some to improve: mastalgia (breast pain), constipation, prostate cancer, heart disease, colon or rectum cancer, diverticulitis (the inflammation of the digestive tract, especially around the colon), irritable bowel syndrome, upset stomach, inflammation of the bladder, lung and breast cancer, ADHD, and various skin irritations, including acne.
A study led by David Jenkins focused on the benefits of defatted flax seed in particular and found through research that defatted flax seed is effective in lowering total cholesterol, especially LDL cholesterol. Because defatted flax seed contains less alpha-linolenic acid, a substance that has been linked to cancer, the health benefits of consuming it may be slightly higher than consuming regular flax seed.
Research is expected to continue on the value of both regular and defatted flax seed, which will hopefully shed some light on the still inconclusive claims that individuals have made. For those looking to further support their overall health, defatted flax seed exposes the body to smaller amounts of potentially harmful alpha-linolenic acid. Until further research is released, people can rest assured that consuming flax seed will decrease their cholesterol and may even provide additional health benefits.
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