For years flax seeds are known to have health-protective properties. Considering all the health benefits that it has, it’s no wonder that it is called as Linum Usitatissimum meaning the most useful.
Flax seeds are one of the best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients. Flax seeds have a good amount of fibres, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants which is good for your health and skin. The main health benefits of eating Flax seeds are:
1. High fibres and low carbohydrates
Flax seeds are high in soluble and insoluble fibres which mean that it is very good for the colon detoxification, in reducing sugar cravings and in fat loss of the body.
One tablespoon of flax seeds has 3 grams of fibers which is 8-12% of the daily recommended intake value of the flax seeds.
Flax seeds contain 40% of the soluble fibres and 60-80% of the insoluble dietary fiber. The fibers help in regulating bowel The fiber present in the food is fermented by the bacteria which bulks up the bowel and result in more bowel movements.
Fibers are also good to increase the consistency of the contents of the intestine and to slow down the digestion rate. Fibers play a key role in reducing blood sugar and blood cholesterol. Fibers allow water to bind with the stools to increase its bulk which results in softer stools. This is very important in preventing constipation and in people who have irritable bowel syndrome.
2. Flax seeds and blood cholesterol
The flax seeds have a great ability to reduce the cholesterol levels in the blood. Few studies have found that consuming 3 tablespoons of flaxseeds daily for three months can reduce the total cholesterol by 17% and bad LDL by 20%.
It was also found that taking 1 Tablespoon of the flaxseeds daily for a month can result in at least 12% of the increase in good HDL cholesterol.
Another study conducted on postmenopausal women found that consuming 30 grams of flax seeds daily lowered total cholesterol and LDL by approx 7 % and 10%. The effects are seen due to the fibers present in the flax seeds which binds it to the bile salts and our body excrete it later on. To fill up these bile salts, cholesterol is sucked from the blood into the liver which lowers the blood cholesterol.
3. Flax seeds can lower the Blood pressure
Flax seeds have the ability to reduce the blood pressure. A recent study found that eating 30 grams of flax seeds for six months can reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure significantly.
Many studies have found that taking flax seeds for more than three months can lower the blood pressure by 2 mmHg.
To understand it you should know that even the 2mmHg reduction in blood pressure can reduce the risk of dying from heart disease by 7% and from stroke by 10%.
3. High Protein content
Flax seeds are the great source of plant-based protein. These small seeds are considered to be rich in amino acids like Arginine, Aspartic Acid and Glutamic Acid.
The protein present in the flax seeds can improve the immune system of the body, can lower the cholesterol level and prevent tumours.
Both animal and plant-based protein is said to stimulate the hormones in the gut to bring the feeling of fullness which helps in weight loss program.
4. Controls blood sugar
Diabetes is the major concern throughout the world. The disease is characterized by high blood sugar level and body’s inability to secrete sufficient insulin or developing resistance for the insulin.
People having diabetes type 2 who added 10-20 grams of flaxseeds powder in their daily diet for one month reduced their blood sugar level by 8-20%.
The reduction in blood sugar is due to the insoluble fiber content of the flax seeds. Insoluble fibers reduce the release of sugar in the blood.
5. Keep you full for long duration
Eating 25 grams of ground flax seeds can significantly reduce the feeling of hunger and overall appetite. The presence of soluble fiber content in flax seeds slows down the digestion in the stomach which triggers the release of hormone which controls the appetite and keeps you full for a longer duration.
6. Lignans safeguard against cancer
Studies have suggested that flaxseeds can have a protective effect against a few cancers like Breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer. Lignans are the plant compounds which have antioxidants and estrogenic properties; both are essential to reduce the risk of cancer and improving the health.
Flax seeds contain as high as 800 times more lignans than other plant sources.
Studies have shown that women who eat flax seeds daily are 18% less likely to develop breast cancer. Additionally, men may also benefit from eating flax seeds. It was found that flax seeds have the potential to prevent colon and skin cancers.
7. High Omega-3 Fatty acid
Flax seeds are a rich source of Alpha-linolenic acid. ALA is a fatty acid which a person obtains from the food he eats, as our human body is not capable of producing it.
Studies have proved that ALA in flax seeds can prevent the cholesterol deposition in the blood vessels of the heart which reduces the inflammation of the arteries and reduce the growth of a tumour.
8. Flax seeds have high nutritional value
One tablespoon of flaxseeds contains a good amount of protein, fiber, and omega 3 fatty acids. Additionally, it is also a good source of Vitamins and minerals.
According to USDA’s national database, two tablespoon of whole and unground flaxseeds contains 110 calories, 6 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of protein, 8.5 grams of fat, 6 grams of fibers, 0.6 mg Manganese, 0.4 mg of Thiamine/vitamin B1, 80 mg Magnesium, 132 mg phosphorus, 0.2 mg copper and 5 mg selenium.
How to eat flaxseeds?
Many food experts believe that it’s better to consume flaxseeds than consuming flax seeds oil. Here are some of the tips that can help you in consuming, buying and storing the flax seeds:
- Buy it and grind it on your own – Flaxseed if eaten whole can pass through the intestinal tract undigested which means that you will not receive the healthy component of the seeds. To prevent this, you can eat it after grinding it.
- Two variants of flax seeds – Brown flax seeds are most widely available, but both golden and brown variants have similar nutritional value.
- Check the label before buying flax seeds – Before buying the flaxseeds, make sure that the flax seeds are grounded and the package does not contain whole flaxseed.
- Add flax seeds to the food you eat – You can add grounded flax seeds in any food that you eat, like soup, oatmeal soup or yoghurt.
- Store it in the freezer – Freezer is the best place to store your grounded flax seeds. Keep it in a plastic sealable bag and then keep it in the freezer to prevent it from oxidizing and losing nutritional potency.
- Whole flaxseeds can be kept for a longer duration – The outside shell of the flax seed keeps the fatty acids inside the flaxseeds protected for a longer You can store the flax seeds in a dark, cool place until the time you need to grind it.