Flaxseed is a plant-based food that provides healthful fat, antioxidants, and fiber. Some people call it a “functional food,” which means that a person can eat it to boost their health.

People grew flax as a crop in ancient Egypt and China. In Asia, it has had a role in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years.

Today, flaxseed is available in the form of seeds, oils, powder, tablets, capsules, and flour. People use it as a dietary supplement to prevent constipation, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, cancer, and several other conditions.

The nutrients in flaxseed include lignans, antioxidants, fiber, protein, and polyunsaturated fatty acids such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), or omega-3. Consuming these nutrients may help lower the risk of various conditions.

However, there is not currently enough evidence to support all of these claims. Here, find out what the research says about flaxseed and its possible health benefits.

Possible health benefits

The omega-3 in flaxseed may help prevent certain types of cancer cell from developing.