The Functional Nutrients of Flaxseed and Their Effect on Human Health: A Review

Main Article Content

Abebe Ayelign
Taddese Alemu


Introduction: Humans have consumed flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum) since the earliest times. It has been used as ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, breakfast drinks, salad dressings, porridge, and as beverages. To date, flaxseed is recognized as a functional food in the world’s food market because of its health benefits besides the basic nutrition.

Objectives: To review the functional nutrients of flaxseed with their respective health benefits. 

Methods: Electronic search of Pub Med, Health Inter Network Access to Research Initiative (HINARI), and Google Scholar databases was conducted. Outcomes of interest were the functional nutrients of flaxseed and potential health benefits mainly; antioxidant, free radical scavenging, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-hypercolesterolemic. 

Findings: Majority of the articles reviewed showed that flaxseed contains essential nutrients and non-nutrients such as alpha linolenic acid (ALA), lignans known as secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG), and crude fiber that have important health benefits to humans.

Conclusions: Eating flaxseed meal in different forms may have beneficial effect in preventing or reducing various forms of cancer, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, constipation, diverticular disease and others. Further studies about the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) and more in vivo studies to ascertain the health benefits of flaxseed nutrients are recommended.

Flaxseed, functional food, Omega-3 fatty acids, lignans, crude fiber.

Article Details

How to Cite
Ayelign, A., & Alemu, T. (2016). The Functional Nutrients of Flaxseed and Their Effect on Human Health: A Review. European Journal of Nutrition & Food Safety, 6(2), 83-92.
Review Article