Prostate cancer (PCa) affects one in six men during their lifetime. While many incidences of PCa do not require surgery or radiation, it is still important to look at dietary factors that can impact the development and progression of PCa. In fact, dietary factors should be key components of active surveillance programs for PCa. Today, let’s look at some research behind flaxseed for prostate cancer.
Flaxseed is an interesting food as it contains different components that can have biological effects on the body. It is a phytoestrogen, a high fiber food, and is the richest food source of lignans.
Research on flaxseed and prostate cancer
A randomized controlled study looked at the effects of consuming ground flaxseed on men diagnosed with prostate cancer. They consumed the flaxseeds for only 30 days prior to their schedule prostate surgery. The effects were impressive, especially considering the short duration of the flaxseed consumption.
When consuming flaxseed, you want to have the freshest source you can. The best way is to grind the seeds in a coffee grinder just before you eat them. But that takes time… So buying quality pre-ground seeds is a pretty good alternative. Look for brands that consider ways to help preserve their goodness eg air-tight containers, dark-colored packaging, and then store them in the fridge or freezer.
Incorporating ground flaxseed in your daily diet
Supplementing your daily diet with ground flaxseed is an easy intervention. Here are some ways to get in your 2-3 Tbs a day:
- sprinkle the ground seeds in with your cereal or oatmeal for breakfast
- add it to yogurt,
- I eat frozen berries for breakfast and when they defrost they have a good amount of liquid so I stir my flaxseed in with my berries
- add to a smoothie
- eat flax bread or flax muffins
- use as a thickener for recipes eg soups, sauces
- as an ingredient in baking
- on a salad or sandwich
Flax doesn’t have a strong taste so it is easy to incorporate. Just bear in mind that it does thicken foods.
Think of a food you have daily and see if there is a way you can incorporate flax into that, so you can ensure you get it every day. And yes, there is plenty of research on flaxseed and breast cancer and other conditions too so it isn’t only for the guys!
Demark-Wahnefried, W. et al. 2008. Flaxseed supplementation (not dietary fat restriction) reduces prostate cancer proliferation rates in men pre-surgery. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 17(12), 3577-87. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19064574