Flaxseeds are small, brown, tan or golden-colored seeds. Flaxseeds are a great source of dietary fiber; minerals like manganese, thiamine and magnesium; and plant-based protein. Flaxseeds can be eaten as whole/unground seeds but are even more beneficial when sprouted and ground into flaxseed meal. Grinding flax helps you absorb both types of fiber it contains, along you to take advantage of even more of the benefits of flaxseed. Whole flaxseeds will pass right through your body without being digested, which means you will not receive many of the inherent benefits!
You can also flaxseed oil, which is easily digested and a concentrated source of healthy fats. Below you’ll find more about how to sprout and grind your own flaxseed, plus ideas for using all types of flax in recipes. It was originally used as a fiber for clothing and for wrapping mummies, where it was often called by its alternate name, “linseed.”. Research shows flax cultivation for medicinal uses became a common practice in the Mediterranean region around 4000-2000 BC.
Flaxseed forms an essential part of many diet programmers since it keeps blood sugar levels in check. Due to the presence of fiber, it keeps the stomach full and avoids the intake of surplus calories through overeating.
Antioxidant Rich & Prevents Cancer
Flaxseed has abundant phytochemicals that act as antioxidants, which are the main agents in preventing and fighting against cancer, it is also a rich source of lignans. There is evidence that lignans aid reproductive health, prevent menopausal symptoms, and counter the effects of type-2 diabetes. Also, omega-3 fatty acids in these seeds have been proven to reduce the risk of breast, prostate, and colon cancer according to the Journal of Nutrition and Cancer.
Prevents Heart Diseases
Flaxseed is a good source flavone C-glycosides, these polyphenolic compounds inhibit lipid peroxidation, platelet aggregation, and capillary permeability and fragility, thus leading to a lower incidence of cardiovascular diseases.
Flaxseed is a rich source of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. This property of flaxseed aids in maintaining normal blood sugar levels in people suffering from diabetes.
The soluble fiber present in flaxseed helps in maintaining proper gastrointestinal functions, and insoluble fiber plays a vital role in keeping the heart healthy by lowering serum LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
Flaxseed oil can heal inflamed skin areas in cases of acne, rosacea, and eczema. The topical application of this oil heals sunburns effectively.
Flaxseed oil can treat brittle hair and nails and prevent them from splitting. It is also effective against irritating scalp conditions caused by eczema.
Rich in Vitamins
Flaxseed is rich in most B complex vitamins and vitamin E, as well as minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and iron. Vitamin E is essential for healthy skin and bones. Potassium maintains nerve health and iron is a vital component of red blood cells and many enzymes that affect our general metabolism.
Good Source of Protein
Flaxseed is a rich source of dietary proteins, having a high essential amino acid index, and providing most of the daily intake of proteins that our bodies need.
Rich in Omega 3’s & Fights Inflammation
Flaxseed is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, preceded only by fish oil. Omega-3 fatty acid is the most active agent that fights inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a leading cause of heart diseases, asthma, allergies, diabetes, and even certain cancers. Flaxseed also been shown to reduce rate of kidney inflammation in cases of nephritis.
Flaxseeds are 100% free of gluten, and therefore can be eaten by those with a gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Although, it is important to note that every product that says it contains flaxseeds doesn’t automatically approve as gluten-free.
These seeds can also help in weight loss because they are rich in fiber and certain other healthy fats. It also helps improve the metabolism, lowers the risk of digestive problems, and improves obesity.
The omega 3 and fiber in this health food can lower blood pressure, and thereby prevent the risk of stroke, hypertension, and other heart ailments.
The presence of plant-based lignans, omega 3s, oils, and fiber in flaxseed help in improving the digestion of your body, by promoting lubrication and preventing constipation.
The alpha-linolenic acid and the lignans found in flaxseed boost the immune response in the body and prevent inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and an autoimmune disorder called lupus.
Reduces Menopausal Symptoms
Lignans, in flaxseed, can be used as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy due to their estrogenic properties, and thereby reduce the symptoms of menopause and arthritis in menopausal women.
Reduces Dry Eye
Flaxseed consumption can reduce “dry eye” syndrome. Also, the omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of macular degeneration, an eye disease caused by damaged nerves in the eye.
Treats Menstrual Symptoms
As per studies, consuming flaxseeds can regularize ovulation. Women who regularly ate flaxseeds were found to ovulate during every menstrual cycle. Adding flaxseeds to your diet can also reduce menstrual cramps. Flaxseeds are a rich source of fiber and omega-3s and a good source of protein and a pregnant woman requires all these nutrients. The protein and omega-3s are critical for the child’s health.
Here are some ways to enjoy flaxseed.
Stir into coconut or almond yogurt.
Add to Paleo waffle, pancake, and muffin recipes.
Add to your smoothies.
Use as an egg substitute by mixing 1 tablespoon flaxseed with 4 tablespoons water in recipes.
Sprinkle on salads.
Consume ground flaxseed to enjoy all the benefits as whole seeds do not release their nutrients in the body effectively. Whole flaxseeds may cause the following due to their high fiber content:
It can also lower your appetite in some cases and may result in abnormal hormonal changes when consumed in large quantities.