Known for some amazing health benefits all over the world, flaxseed, also known as common flax or linseeds, are small oilseeds that originated in the Middle East thousands of years ago. These tiny little brown crunchy seeds are simply magical.
There are two main types of flaxseed: golden flaxseed and brown flaxseed. Their nutritional profiles are very similar and both contain the same number of nutrients.
Flaxseeds are a rich source of micronutrients, dietary fiber, manganese, vitamin B1, and the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, also known as ALA or omega-3. It has both external and internal health benefits, and is associated with improved overall health and wellness.
Adding flaxseeds to the diet is also ideal to increase fiber intake. It can be consumed in any form (oil, whole or ground) but to reap the most benefits from flaxseeds, they should be bought in ground form or ground before consumption as whole flaxseeds can sometimes pass through the digestive tract undigested. Add it in anything and everything you make from smoothies to salads to pancakes to cookies to cakes or simply have one tablespoon, however you like it but just have it daily, and you will be amazed to see some good changes in your body.
How to grind flaxseeds at home? While you can find ground flax seed in the store, it is far less expensive to purchase whole seeds and grind flax seed at home. Simply dry roast the seeds and grind it in the blender when it’s still warm. Store it in an airtight container at room temperature for a week, and in freezer it can stay fresh for a month or two.
Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s. Lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities.
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Here are some amazing health benefits of flaxseeds;
Recent studies have suggested that flaxseed may have a protective effect against breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer. At least two of the components in flaxseed seem to contribute, says Kelley C. Fitzpatrick, director of health and nutrition with the Flax Council of Canada.
Some of the other components in flaxseed also have antioxidant properties which may contribute to protection against cancer and heart disease.
Another study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that the lignans in flaxseeds may also reduce the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer.
Helps in digestive problems
Maybe the biggest flax seed benefits come from it’s ability to promote digestive health. The ALA in flax can help protect the lining of the digestive tract and maintain GI health. It has been shown to be beneficial for people suffering from Crohn’s disease or other digestive ailments, as it can help reduce gut inflammation.
Tip: You can also take 1-3 tbsp of flax seed oil with 8 oz of carrot juice to help naturally relieve constipation.
Flax is also very high in soluble and insoluble fiber which can also improve digestive health and is one of the highest magnesium foods in the world. The fiber found in flaxseeds provides food for friendly bacteria in your colon that can help cleanse waste from your system.
Healthy Hair and Skin
If you want healthier skin, hair and nails then consider adding 2 tbsp of flax seeds to your smoothie or 1 tbsp of flax seed oil to your daily routine. You may just have 1tbsp ground flaxseed followed by a glass of warm water, if you have no time to make smoothies.
The ALA fats in flax seeds benefits the skin and hair by providing essential fats as well as b-vitamins which can help reduce dryness and flakiness. It can also improve symptoms of acne, rosacea, and eczema. This also applies to eye health as flax can reduce dry eye syndrome.
Flax seed oil is another great option since it has an even higher concentration of healthy fats. You can take 1-2 tbsp internally to hydrate skin and hair. It can also be mixed with essential oils and used as a natural skin moisturizer.
Tip : You can even mix 1 tbsp ground flax with water, apply it on your face and neck, let it dry for a while (approximately 15 minutes). Before washing your face, simply scrub it with wet fingers, do this for 2 minutes and wash it off with water. You will see your face glowing.
Helps in weight loss
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that flaxseeds and walnuts may improve obesity and support weight loss.
Since flax is full of healthy fats and fiber, it will help you feel satisfied longer so you will eat fewer calories overall which may lead to weight loss. ALA fats may also help reduce inflammation.
This is important for weight loss in that an inflamed body will tend to hold on to excess weight.
Tip: Add a couple of teaspoons of ground flaxseed to soups, salads, or smoothies as part of your weight loss plan.
Preliminary research also suggests that daily intake of the lignans in flaxseed may modestly improve blood sugar (as measured by hemoglobin A1c blood tests in adults with type 2 diabetes).
It’s true: Depression hurts. There are plenty of antidepressants that doctors may prescribe, but according to a Japanese study, simply adding flaxseed to your diet may also prove useful. Their study found that patients with significant depression levels also suffered from lower levels of docosahexaenoic and eicosapentanoic acids—the same acids that are found in various foods like fish, walnuts, and flax. Eat up, the theory goes, and it might help correct those imbalances.
Are you suffering from high cholesterol? Left untreated, your arteries could become clogged, leading to a heart attack or stroke. Studies indicate that flaxseed can help so if you’re looking for a drug-free, relatively inexpensive way to treat your problem, consider taking flaxseed lignan tablets or sprinkling some ground flaxseed overtop of your meals (don’t forget to check with your doctor).
Flaxseeds are more effective at lowering blood pressure than any other food.
It may help fight heart disease by lowering blood pressure, regulating blood cholesterol, and increasing the levels of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Potential side effect of consuming flaxseed during pregnancy
Even though research on the safety of taking flaxseed during pregnancy is scarce, pregnant women should stay on the safe side and avoid consuming flaxseed because of its estrogen-like properties which doctors believe may affect pregnancy outcome.
So don’t forget to start using flaxseed in your daily diet if you have not started consuming it yet.
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