Flax seeds are super foods with multi-dimensional health benefits. The lesser-known fact about them is that they are cultivated as a fiber crop and food. Further, the flax plant is used for making textiles. Thus, flax has been highly beneficial for human generations in different ways.
Flax seeds are also known as Linum Usitatissimum or linseeds. These tiny oil seeds originated thousands of years ago in the Middle East. It is found in the fruit of the flax plant that is a dry capsule of around 5-9 mm in diameter. Flax plants can grow up to 1.2 m.
Flax seeds are available in brown and yellow varieties. Yellow flax seeds are known as solin or Linola and are similar to brown flax seeds. Whether it is brown or yellow, flax seeds are rich in multiple nutrients and are super healthy.
Nutritional Value of Flax Seeds:
Every 100 grams or 3.5 oz of Flax seeds carry:
Energy: 2,234 kJ
- Carbohydrates: 28.88 grams
- Sugars: 1.55 grams
- Dietary Fiber: 27.3 grams
Fats: 42.16 grams
- Saturated Fats: 3.663 grams
- Monounsaturated Fats: 7.527 grams
- Polyunsaturated Fats: 28.730 grams
- Omega-3: 22.8 grams
- Omega-6: 5.9 grams
- Proteins: 18.29 grams
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) : 1.644 milligram
- (Riboflavin) or Vitamin B2 : 0.161 milligram
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin) : 3.08 milligram
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) : 0.985 milligram
- VB6 or Vitamin B6: 0.473 milligram
- Vitamin B9 (Folate) : 87 microgram
- Most important – “Vitamin C” : 0.6 milligram
- Calcium: 255 milligram
- Iron: 5.73 milligram
- Magnesium: 392 milligram
- Phosphorous: 642 milligram
- Potassium: 813 milligram
- Zinc: 4.34 milligram
Best Health Benefits of Flax Seeds:
Excellent Source of Omega-3 fats for vegetarians:
Vegetarians struggle to find an ideal source of omega-3 fats that are profound in fish. Flax seeds are rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid. Human bodies can’t produce this fatty acid, and hence it is essential to incorporate them into the daily diet.
It is proved in animal studies that alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) prevents the accumulation of cholesterol in blood vessels of the heart and reduces artery inflammation. Also it further decreases the risk of tumor growth.
It is further proved that alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) from flax seeds reduces chances of heart disease to 14% and has comparable health benefits to docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
Reduces chances of getting cancer:
Cancer is another significant disease in modern times after diabetes. Flax seeds are rich in lignans that are plant compounds, and have estrogen and antioxidant properties. The amount of lignans in flax seeds is high as 800 times as other plant foods.
The consumption of flax seeds by post-menopausal women helps reduce the chances of breast cancer. According to a study, on average, a healthy woman that consumes flax seeds daily has an 18% reduced chance of developing breast cancer.
Not only this, flax seeds are found to reduce levels of prostate cancer marker. Flax seeds have proven great potential in eliminating the chances of skin and colon cancers in animals.
Excellent source of dietary fiber:
Flax seeds contain two types of dietary fibers that are 60-80% of insoluble dietary fiber and 40-20% of soluble dietary fiber. The bacteria easily ferment this fiber duo in large bowel in the human body. This bulks up the stool and facilitates regular bowel movements.
The soluble fiber in flax seeds increases the stool amount by increasing the consistency of the intestine contents. This reduction in digestion rate is linked to the regulation of blood sugar and decreased cholesterol levels.
Improves cholesterol levels:
The flax seeds are rich in fibers that bind to bile salts and are easily excreted out of the body. The body pulls out cholesterol from the blood to replenish the bile salts resulting in lower cholesterol in the blood.
It is proven that flax seeds are highly beneficial for post-menopausal women who risk high cholesterol levels. A regular intake of 30 grams of flax seeds is proven to lower total cholesterol levels by 7% and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) by 10%.
Another study has proven that regular intake of 1 tablespoon of flaxseed powder results in a 12% increase of good high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol for people who have diabetes. There are significant proofs that people with high cholesterol can consume flax seed powder for three months to lower total cholesterol levels by 17% and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) by 20%.
Lowers high blood pressure:
The inheritance property of flax seeds in lowering high blood pressure makes them essential for hypertension patients. People suffering from uncontrolled high blood pressure can lower their blood pressure levels by 17% by consuming flax seeds regularly.
It is further found that consuming flax seeds daily for more than three months can lower blood pressure by two mmHg. A Canadian study has observed that consuming three tablespoons of flax seeds regularly for six months can lower systolic blood pressure by ten mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by seven mmHg.
Rich in high-quality plant proteins:
Plant proteins, just like animal proteins, tend to bring the feeling of fullness that results in fewer intakes of next meals. Flax seeds are a great source of high-quality plant proteins that eliminates the feeling of too hungry.
Flax seeds are rich in amino acids like glutamic acid, aspartic acid, and arginine. Thus, flax seeds can reduce the chances of different tumors, has strong anti-fungal properties, and improves the immune system.
Thus, flax seeds are a proven significant source of proteins for vegetarians.
Helps control blood sugar (type-2 diabetes):
People with type-2 diabetes can include flax seeds or flax seeds oil in their diet regularly. The flax seeds oil lacks fibers and hence is credited to lower blood pressure levels in diabetic patients.
Coming to the flax seeds, they’ve insoluble fiber content. This insoluble fiber proactively reduces the release of sugar in the bloodstream. These high blood sugar levels are due to the body’s inability to secrete insulin or its resistance.
It is proven in a study that regular intake of 10-20 grams of flax seeds powder for 30 days can reduce blood sugar levels by 8-20% in persons who have type-2 diabetes.
Helps in weight control:
Obesity is the root cause of many chronic diseases. Flax seeds have proven to suppress cravings and manage weight control. The dietary fiber content in flax seeds increases the feeling of being full.
The soluble fiber present in flax seeds slows down digestion and triggers different hormones that control appetite. A simple addition of 2.5 grams of ground flax fiber extract to beverages can reduce appetite and hunger.
Some Important Points to Remember:
- Flax seeds and flax seeds oil can both be used in many common foods. The flax seeds oil can be used as normal oil, and flax seeds can be fused with any dish.
- Pregnant ladies must consult a physician before starting to consume flax seeds daily.
- Our bodies can’t break whole flax seeds to get the full health benefits, and hence it is essential to grind them before using them.
- It is necessary to consume significant amounts of liquids when you’re consuming flax seeds regularly.
- Ground flax seeds can be mixed with chewy products like oatmeal, crackers, cereals, etc.
- Ground flax seeds can be used as a sprinkler on any dish without specialized flax seeds recipes.
In your list of superfoods, flax seeds are hard to miss when it comes to a proven meta-analysis on cholesterol, body weight, body mass index, and heart health. It is easy to add flax seeds to your daily diet in seeds or powdered form. With 2018’s world production of flax seeds at 3.2 million tonnes, it is abundant in and around you. Grab a spoonful of ground flax seeds or flax seeds oil in your daily diet to get the best health benefits.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- How much quantity of flax seeds can be consumed daily?
It is safe to include one tablespoon or 10 grams of ground flax seeds per day in your diet.
- How to add flax seeds to your daily diet?
It is easy to include ground flax seeds in hot or cold breakfast cereal. It can also be added to mustard for making sandwiches. Flax seeds can be added to yogurt after grinding them.
- Is it safe to bake flax seeds?
Ground flax seeds can be baked to infuse them into bread, muffins, cookies, etc.
- Is it safe to eat raw flax seeds?
Raw flax seeds may cause ingestion, and hence, they must be avoided in natural form.
- How flax seeds promote weight loss?
Flax seeds are rich in soluble fiber that promotes weight loss by decreasing cravings and reducing hunger.
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