Cancer Active
Cancer Prevention Cancer Treatment Support Us Online Shop
Chris Woolmams / Catherine Woollams
Flax - The Facts from the Nutrichef

Originally published in icon Issue 1 2007

Nutrichef1Barbara Cox is passionate about food and the benefits people get from eating a healthy, well-balanced diet.  During her eight year stay in Japan, she was inspired by the fact that the Japanese have lower rates of cancer, heart disease and obesity than people in the UK, primarily because of their diet.

After returning to England, Barbara set up her own company, Nutrichef, which delivers a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday to customers´ homes. 

What is Flax?

Flax - also known as Linseed is an annual plant found originally in India but now grown worldwide. It grows to just over a metre tall and produces true blue flowers and dry fruit capsules that each contain several glossy, brown, apple-pip-shaped seeds 4-7mm long. Flax is grown for its seeds and fibre and has been used over the centuries in the manufacture of a myriad of products including fabric, dye, varnish, paper, medicines, soap and fishing nets!

There are two varieties of flax seed brown and yellow (otherwise known as ´golden´) both of which can be eaten. Cold pressed flaxseed oil is also suitable for human consumption and is often taken as a supplement in capsule form.

Nutritional Properties of Flax

Nurtrichef2Brown and yellow flax seeds have similar nutritional values and are a good source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Oily fish are also a source of omega-3´s, but there is a difference. Those from fish are ´long-chain´ omega-3´s, whilst those from plants are ´short-chain´. The numerous expert research studies of Vane and others on the benefits of omega-3´s with inflammation, Cox-2 and eicosanoids have all shown that long chain is the active form and short chain is inert. That is not to say that plant omega-3´s do you no good; far from it. In the body there is about 12 per cent conversion from short to long and flax is especially important in populations with low fish diets. The only exception is a variety of yellow flax called solin, which provides relatively little omega-3. Omega-3 acids are also very important in maintaining a healthy diet as they reduce cholesterol, blood pressure and plaque formation in arteries.

Besides providing omega-3s, flax seeds are an excellent source of cancer-fighting phytonutrients called lignans. Lignans also act as Prebiotics, feeding the populations of certain beneficial bacteria in the colon and stimulating the immune system. Populations with a high intake of phytonutrients have been found to have a lower incidence and mortality rate of breast, colon and prostate cancers. One such population is the Japanese, who typically consume a low-fat, high-fibre diet rich in isoflavonoids from soya beans and lignans from vegetables and grains. Studies linking flax consumption with a reduction in breast, colon and prostate cancers have been carried out and are summarised as follows:

Breast Cancer

Studies have shown that women with a history of breast cancer have significantly lower levels of the mammalian lignans enterodiol and enterolactone, which are made from the plant lignans secoisolariciresinol diglycoside (SDG) and matairesinol diglycoside (MDG) when flax seeds are consumed. In addition, lignans have been found to reduce levels of oestrogen, the lifetime exposure to which has strongly been linked with breast cancer. 

Colon Cancer

Since the colon is the region where mammalian lignans are produced from plant lignans, a number of studies have been carried out to find out whether flax plays a role in the prevention of colon cancer. The tests have revealed that cell proliferation a precursor to tumour growth was significantly less likely when flax seeds were part of the diet.

Prostate Cancer

In a preliminary clinical study, 25 men with prostate cancer were each given 30g of flax a day for a month as part of a low-fat diet. At the end of the month it was found that prostate cancer cell proliferation had decreased, while cancer cell death had increased among these men as compared with a control group.

  At Last - the definitive, research based book on how to build a diet to help beat cancer. Click here to read about it.

Cooking with Flax

Flax is very versatile when it comes to cooking. You can do all of the following!

  • Caramelise ground flax, mixed nuts and malt barley extract for a great muesli topping
  • Dip chunks of fruit in a mixture of ground flax and desiccated coconut, then stick them on wooden skewer to make fruit kebabs
  • Mash an avocado and one tablespoon of ground flax to make a healthy sandwich spread
  • Add one tablespoon of ground flax to a hummus mixture for extra goodness
  • Sprinkle ground flax on a fruit salad or over fruit pures for a quick dessert

And why not try my recipes for Flaxseed Cookies and Flaxseed and Green Tea Muffins?

Flaxseed Cookies


  • 250g oats
  • 110g wholemeal flour
  • 50g ground flax seeds
  • 50g raisins
  • 50g cashew nuts
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • teaspoon ground ginger
  • teaspoon baking powder
  • 200ml sunflower oil
  • 200ml water or Oat Milk (other non-dairy milks are good, too)


  • Pre-heat the oven to 200C.

  • Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

  • Add oil and mix.

  • Stir in water or milk to make a firm mixture.

  • Place heaped spoonfuls on a baking tray and then flatten.

  • Dust with extra ground flax.

  • Bake for 12-15 mins, then cool and serve.

Flaxseed and Green Tea Muffins


  • 125g ground flaxseed
  • 125g self-raising wholewheat flour
  • 1 egg
  • 50g brown sugar (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of soya yogurt
  • 100g sunflower oil
  • 1 tablespoon loose green tea (ground to powder in a coffee grinder)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest


  • Pre-heat the oven to 190C.

  • Mix the yogurt and egg, then

  • Add the flour, flaxseed, sugar, green tea and lemon.

  • Spoon the mixture into muffin cups.

  • Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Note that ground flaxseed naturally flavoured with blueberries or apple and cinnamon can be ordered from Nutrichef at


Want the latest news on this?
Print This Page
  Search Website
Follow us on:
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter
Melatonin - self defence against cancer

CANCERactive Website Appeal

Thank you for helping us to raise a fantastic £19,708 for our new CANCERactive website which will be launched in 2018

Select a donation amount:
Enter a donation amount:

Gift Aid:
So that CANCERactive can claim back 25p for every £1 donated, I confirm that I am a UK tax payer, who has paid over enough tax for you to reclaim this amount

Sign up for icon


Our icon magazine is available free in over 500 UK hospitals, cancer centres and libraries. Full of great articles and the very latest cancer information, you can have it sent to your own home.

Buy online

The CANCERactive Patient Group (CAPG) – Run by Patients, for Patients

  • Tell your Story
  • Start a Blog
  • Start a Diary Blog
  • Start a Discussion
  • Ask a Question

Search Drugs


Quick search for YOUR DRUG here  

Search Drugs


Quick search for a COMPLEMENTARY THERAPY here 

Search Complementary Therapies



Search Alternative Therapies

Important Notice

At CANCERactive we provide information that is already in the public domain.  It is not our intention to provide advice. It is up to the reader to decide if any of the matters to which any article refers might be suitable for them.


Follow CHRIS WOOLLAMS, the UK's number 1 cancer researcher, on his free e-news and keep right up to date with the very latest cancer information and research

 click here

  click here

click here


CANCERactive information and publications (books, magazine and leaflets)

CANCERactive compiled books

Heal Your Gut Heal Your Body

A real paradigm shift - this book will help you really understand exactly what to do to be in great health.

Click here to find out more.

The Brand new 4th edition of Everything You Need to Know to Help You Beat Cancer

"This book is head and shoulders above the rest". Geoffrey Boycott

Click here to find out more.

The Rainbow Diet - and how it can help you beat cancer

"At last the definitive book on a diet to fight cancer". Mrs BS Devon.

 Click here to find out more...

Brand new 3rd edition of Oestrogen The Killer in our Midst

"Learn how to take control of your oestrogen levels"

 Click here to find out more...

CANCERactive magazine (free in hospitals and complementary cancer centres)


Free downloadable prevention leaflets


Buy online

Donate to Us

We can only help people like you - if people like you help us!

Buy online

Fund Raising


Interested? Click here for more information

Click here to see all our fundraising events.

Click here and see what events are taking place and perhaps sponsor one of our supporters. 

Click here for other ways to raise money for CANCERactive.

Or if you want more information about our other fun activities, the Peru trek, our sky diving etc. click the button below.

Click here for our Just Giving page and see what our supporters are doing for us.

Click here for our Virgin Money Giving page.

Buy online

Visit a Catherine Corner

Catherine Wollams

Buy online

Need a Support Group?  

Find a cancer support group near you, now.
Buy online

So what is the truth behind mammograms, drug clinical trials, the PSA test and prostate surgery, and the stories you read in the press?Go to Junk Science to read the unbiased truth. Click Here.


Do you have a problem with our factual content?

If you have research which conflicts with ours, just address it to 'The Medical Board'. Ever since we started this site we have had an 'open-mind' policy and have expert oncology doctors and professors who will address your concerns.

© Copyright 2018 CANCERactive. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, contact, creation and information intact, without specific permission, when used only in a not-for-profit format and provided, where used to publish on a website, that website provides a link to If any other use is desired, permission in writing from CANCERactive is required.
All content and images © Copyright 2018 - Website design and maintenance by a Web design and Search engine marketing company