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Flax as a Fiber Source

All available literature tends to support that dietary fiber is important to digestion and laxation and has been a factor in preventing cancer, especially colon cancer. One ounce of flaxseed provides nearly 30 percent of the USDA's Reference Daily Intake (RDI) of fiber.

Total Dietary Fiber Content of Certain Plant Seeds*

Fiber Component

Flax Seed

Oat Bran

Oat Meal

Wheat Bran

Corn Bran

Rice Bran

Total Dietary Fiber 40% 17% 11% 49% 78% 75%
Soluble Fiber 10% 8% 5% 5% 3% 4%
Insoluble Fiber
30% 8% 6% 43% 76% 71%
*All data are from Dietary Fiber Guide, and/or Cereal Foods World 38(10):755-59.1993

Relief from constipation

Since 500 B.C.E. flaxseed has been used as a laxative. (Vaisey-Genser and Morris, 2003) Flaxseed promotes laxation because it contains both soluble fiber, which absorbs water from the gastrointestinal tract and increases stool bulk, and insoluble fiber which increases stool in transit time.

The fiber in flaxseed oil cleans the colon of toxic material, metobolic waste, and dried mucus. A 1995 study reported a 30 percent increase in bowel movements among young, healthy adults who ate 50 grams of flaxseed a day for four weeks. (Vaisey-Genser and Morris, 2003)

Flax and diabetes control

According to Magee (2002), the soluble fiber in flaxseed may benefit people with diabetes by reducing their blood glucose response to carbohydrates. This would help normalize blood sugars and might help discourage obesity as well.


Kathie Richardson
NDSU Library
Fargo, ND 58105

Last updated: 16.01.2008

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