Flaxseeds for digestive problems

In Africa, flaxseeds are used to cure a number of ills (and are used as an ingredient in hair gel, too). They are thought to lower cholesterol and cure diarrhea, constipation and stomach ulcers.

There is a lot of truth to this old belief, Weiss said. Flaxseeds contain fiber and a lot of omega-3 fatty acids. Fiber relieves constipation and lowers cholesterol, he said.

A study published this month in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine even showed that a fiber-rich diet can reduce a person's risk of overall death over a nine-year period because it can help ward off heart disease and respiratory disease.

But there's no evidence that flaxseeds can help with diarrhea or stomach ulcers, Weiss said.