Flaxseed is an ancient food that has been recognized for its health benefits for thousands of years. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are polyunsaturated fats (also known as “good fats”) and are what make flaxseeds so beneficial. The body can’t produce EFAs itself – they must be obtained through diet. They are required for normal growth and functioning of the cells, muscles, nerves, and organs. Deficiencies of EFAs have been linked to a variety of health problems, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Flaxseed also contains lignans – chemical compounds found in some plants. Research has shown a lowered risk of cancer associated with diets rich in lignans. Other studies suggest flaxseed lignans can lower cholesterol and help to prevent diabetes. As a high-fiber food, flaxseed is also great for intestinal health.