Flax seeds, which are tiny small brown seeds, can be health promoting in several ways.
Flax is a source of omega 3 fatty acids which we all need. Fish oil is however a more efficient source of omega 3 since fish oil comes in the form of EPA, DHA the active ingredients of omega 3 fat. Flax oil has to be metabolized into EPA, DHA.
However, flax seeds have a lot of other benefits. The study reviewed here investigated the effect of flax on fasting blood sugar and total cholesterol in diabetic patients (Thakur, G., et al. 2009). The participants added 5 grams of flaxseed gum to their diet and were followed for 3 months.
The results for the treatment group showed that fasting blood glucose decreased from 154 +1-8 mg/dl to 136 +1-7 mg/dl. The total cholesterol decreased from 182 +1-11 mg/dl to 163 +1-9 mg/dl. The low-density lipoprotein LDL, the so called bad cholesterol, decreased from 110 +1-8 mg/dl to 92 +1-9 mg/dl.
The fiber in the flax seeds is the ingredient responsible for the results. They slow down the absorption of the glucose from other foods.
The flax seeds will also be beneficial for your gastrointestinal tract. It will help constipation, but it will not give you diarrhea.
I suggest you take 2 table spoons of flax seeds daily and grind them up for some few seconds in a coffee grinder. You need to grind them up to break the shells to get the benefits. They can be sprinkled on food or you can mix them in a glass of water and drink it down.
I do not recommend buying a big bag of already ground up seeds, since flax seeds oxidize very quickly when the shell has been broken.
Flax seeds may also help to regulate hormones in a beneficial way. I wrote about the benefits of flax seeds for the prevention of prostate cancer a while back.