If you suffer from breast cancer (either recovered or currently), or from sore breasts, PMS, fibroids, adenomyosis or endometriosis then you should be seriously considering adding this functional food to your daily diet. Which food am I talking about? Ground flax seeds.
I believe all women should be consuming ground flax seeds. This is because flax seeds have been studied for their incredible breast health benefits.
You may have heard some practitioners say you should avoid flaxseeds due to their estrogenic nature. This is only a half truth! Yes, flax seeds contain “phytoestrogens” but this name is deceptive. Phytoestrogens are able to exert anti-estrogenic effects by binding to estrogen receptors and blocking the ability for more potent and more harmful estrogens locking onto these receptors. You want the weaker phytoestrogens in these receptors in order to essentially take up the space that would otherwise be occupied by more harmful estrogens, (such as those associated with cancer) that come from exogenous (outside of the body) sources such as plastics, makeup, skincare products, cleaning products, pesticides and herbicides. This is known as Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulation (SERM), and it's a very good thing.
This randomized double blind placebo controlled clinical trial showed flax seeds have the ability to reduce tumour cell progression and increase cancer cell death within the breast tissue. The authors conclusion reads;: “dietary flaxseed has the potential to reduce tumour growth in patients with breast cancer”. And in this study just 1 tsp of flax seeds consumed for one year showed an average drop in pre-cancerous breast changes. Additionally, this systemic review concluded that “flax demonstrates anti-proliferative effects in breast tissue of women at risk of breast cancer and may protect against primary breast cancer“. Finally, this study suggests that flax can have anti-metastatic benefits. What's more, flax has been shown to boost the activity of our body's ability to block Interleukin 1 (a pro-inflammatory cytokine). Tamoxifen, the popular anti-cancer drug specifically used for breast cancer patients, has the same mechanism of action: it works by blocking Interleukin 1. In fact, one study showed that flax seeds do this over 50% better thanTamoxifen does. Yes – flax has been shown to work better than a popular anti-breast cancer drug that has some incredibly nasty side effects.
And the last reason whyI suggest flax to many of my clients is because it has also been shown to reduce breast pain. In one study a muffin containing 3 1/2 tablespoons of flax eaten daily incurred a reported reduction in breast pain, swelling and lumpiness in the women who ate the muffin. Another study sponsored by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) concluded that dietary flaxseeds should be a first-line therapy for breast pain.
Why do the researchers use flax seeds? Because they're high in lignans – the compounds that have been shown to produce all the remarkable benefits. They're up to 800 times higher in flax than in any other plant foods, hence why flax was chosen to be studied.
If you suffer from any estrogen-related conditions such as PMS, fibroids, endometriosis, adenomyosis or breast cancer you might like to consider consuming 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds every day. Note, the seeds must be ground in order to release the valuable lignans.