By Dr Sandra Miranda, ND

Everybody knows that my favorite fibre that I recommend is ground flax seeds.  Not only does this wonderful seed help keep us regular but it can also reduce our risk for breast cancer. 

Flax seed is a wonderful seed that is full of fibre and phytoestrogens (also known as weak and protective estrogens).  Including flaxseeds in your diet each day will help reduce the risk of breast cancer. Flaxseeds may also reduce tumour growth in women dealing with breast cancer. The most likely reason for this benefit is because dietary flaxseeds can help lower estrogen levels in the body.

How Does it Work?

Flaxseeds contain two beneficial substances: 1) the fibre contains lignin (up to 800 times the amount as in any tested plant food), which acts as a protective phytoestrogen, AKA natural cancer-protective compounds, binding to estrogen receptors to block the body’s strong or potentially harmful estrogens as well as environmental estrogens such as PCBs, pesticides, plastics and toxic metals; 2) flaxseed contains alpha linolenic acid, an Omega 3 oil that has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

Studies on animals with breast cancer have shown that flaxseed can reduce the size of breast tumours by 67 percent, and is effective at preventing cancers induced by chemicals. A Toronto researcher, Lilian Thompson, found that women who used flaxseeds in their diets between the time of diagnosis and the time of surgery to remove a breast tumour, were able to decrease their tumour growth before the surgery.

Your body makes several types of estrogen, some protective, others harmful. In studies on premenopausal women, flaxseed intake increased the good estrogen metabolites and decreased the harmful ones.

Women whose cancer is driven by estrogen often use the drug Tamoxifen to block estrogen receptors, inactivating the hormone – flaxseed works in a similar way as Tamoxifen (but without the side effects) and can even enhance the effectiveness of the drug.