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Nutrition | Health Benefits | Flaxseed and Cancer Prevention
The Flax Fight against Cancer
Populations with high fiber diets
and high intakes of phytochemicals called lignans have very low
rates of hormone-dependant cancers, such as breast, prostate, and
endometrium. As research into the function of lignans in cancer
prevention continues, flaxseed shares center stage as a high-fiber
food that is also one of nature's richest sources of lignans.
Lignans and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) are found abundantly in
flaxseed. ALA deficiency is the most significant contributor to
the spread of cancer to other parts of the body, which is the main
cause of death among breast cancer patients. (Worldsources,
Inc. 2001) While population studies of diet and disease risk
suggest an anticancer role for flaxseed, studies in laboratory
animals confirm the anticancer properties of flaxseed lignans.
Currently, long-term studies of flaxseed effects in women with breast
cancer are underway at The University of Toronto. (Thompson
and Cunnane, 2003 ) Those conducting the research, Thompson
et al, contest that flaxseed may be effective in both cancer treatment
and prevention. (Thompson et al, 2005).