Good news! You may have read that flaxseed oil is effective in reducing cholesterol, decreasing inflammation and supporting healthy skin, but now we can add “anti-cancer” to this list of benefits! A new research study published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research journal (Oct, 2010) suggests that flaxseed oil can reduce the growth of estrogen-receptor positive breast tumors. This means that flaxseed oil is particularly effective for tumors fueled by estrogen.
Since approximately 60% of breast cancers are sensitive to hormones, this study implies flaxseed oil may have an important role in both breast cancer treatment and prevention. Compared to the un-treated control group, flaxseed oil reduced tumor size by 33% and decreased tumor cell growth by 38%.
The anti-cancer properties of flaxseed are attributed to both the omega- 3 essential fatty acid known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and lignans, a plant compound found only in the whole seed. Lignans have a balancing effect on hormones and also interfere with the growth and spread of tumor cells. In order to receive all the benefits flaxseed has to offer, it is generally recommended to include 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil and 1-2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds to your daily diet. Some great ways to enjoy flaxseed oil are to mix it in with your favorite salad dressing, add it to your morning smoothie or pour it over some steamed vegetables. Sprinkle ground flaxseeds over your yogurt, hot cereal or freshly tossed salad. Feel good that not only are you decreasing inflammation throughout your body, but you are also taking a pro-active step in breast cancer prevention.
Dr. Anne Frances Hardy N.D., L.Ac. is a Naturopathic Physician and Licensed Acupuncturist who practices at Steelsmith Natural Health Center in Honolulu. You can contact her at www.steelsmithhealth.com