For centuries, flax seeds have been prized for our health-protective properties. Nowadays, flax seeds are emerging as a “super food” as more scientific research points to their health benefits. Now in this article we will explain the top health benefits of flax seeds. Flaxseeds look quite similar to sesame seeds (til) in shape but are slightly larger in size. They have a warm, earthy and subtly nutty flavour. Even though technically they are not a grain but their vitamin and mineral profile, fibre content, antioxidant and omega 3 fatty acid features are far more superior to several regular grains. Here are the top health benefits of flax seeds that are backed by science.
Flaxseed is chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids
Flaxseed contains a plant-based type of omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, which has been tied to improved circulation and anti-inflammatory effects. Research shows that these fats may also help fight osteoporosis by reducing the risk of bone fractures, and offer modest protection against type 2 diabetes. Flax seeds are a rich source of the omega-3 fatty acid ALA. Plant-based ALA fatty acids are proven to have heart health benefits and are linked to a lower risk of stroke.
Flax Seeds Are Loaded With Nutrients
Grown since the beginning of civilization, flax seeds are one of the oldest crops. There are two types, brown and golden, which are equally nutritious. Just one tablespoon provides a good amount of protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, in addition to being a rich source of some vitamins and minerals. Interestingly, flax seeds’ health benefits are mainly attributed to the omega-3 fatty acids, lignans and fiber they contain. Flax seeds are good sources of many nutrients. Their health benefits are mainly due to their content of omega-3 fats, lignans and fiber.
its include several nutrients, including magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, and thiamin. Magnesium helps improve mood and sleep, while manganese plays a role in collagen production and promotes skin and bone health. Phosphorus helps form cell structures and supports bone health. Copper is involved with energy and collagen production, and is needed to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. Thiamin also plays a role in energy production, and helps support the nervous system as well.
Flax Seeds Are a Rich Source of Lignans, Which May Reduce Cancer Risk
Lignans are plant compounds that have antioxidant and estrogen properties, both of which can help lower the risk of cancer and improve health. Interestingly, flax seeds contain up to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods. Observational studies show that those who eat flax seeds have a lower risk of breast cancer, particularly postmenopausal women. Additionally, according to a Canadian study involving more than 6,000 women, those who eat flax seeds are 18% less likely to develop breast cancer.
However, men can also benefit from eating flax seeds. In a small study including 15 men, those given 30 grams of flax seeds a day while following a low-fat diet showed reduced levels of a prostate cancer marker, suggesting a lower risk of prostate cancer. the evidence thus far points to flax seeds being a potentially valuable food in the fight against various cancers.
4. Flaxseed fiber aids digestion
Flaxseed contains both soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps soften stool, so it can pass through the GI tracts and be eliminated more easily. Insoluble fiber helps stimulate the digestive system to move waste through the gut and promote bowel regularity. The two types of fiber work together to support digestive health.
5. Flaxseed may be helpful for weight loss
Most of the soluble fiber in flaxseeds is called mucilage. This fiber combines with water to form a gel-like consistency that slows the emptying of the stomach; that leads to increased feelings of fullness, and delays the return of hunger. A meta-analysis of 45 studies concluded that the consumption of flaxseed (particularly 30 grams a day, or about two tablespoons) resulted in reductions in both body weight and waist measurement.
6. Flaxseed might curb diabetes risk
The lignans in flaxseed are also linked to improved levels of HA1C, a measure of average blood sugar over three months. The seeds may also help curb diabetes risk in other ways, too. In one small study, scientists gave people 0g, 13g, or 26g of flaxseed daily for 12 weeks.The participants all had prediabetes, and included obese men and post-menopausal overweight women. The people in the group who consumed 13g of flaxseed a day had lower blood glucose and insulin levels, and improved insulin sensitivity at the end of the study period.
7. Flax Seeds May Improve Cholesterol
Another health benefit of flax seeds is their ability to lower cholesterol levels. In one study in people with high cholesterol, consuming 3 tablespoons (30 grams) of flaxseed powder daily for three months lowered total cholesterol by 17% and “bad” LDL cholesterol by almost 20%. These effects appear to be due to the fiber in flax seeds, as it binds to bile salts and is then excreted by the body. To replenish these bile salts, cholesterol is pulled from your blood into your liver. This process lowers your blood levels of cholesterol. This is definitely good news for those wanting to improve their cholesterol. The high fiber content of flax seeds can help lower cholesterol and may play an important role in improving heart health.
When it comes to nutritional goodness, flax seeds are full of it. Though tiny, they are rich in the omega-3 fatty acid ALA, lignans and fiber, all of which have been shown to have many potential health benefits. They can be used to improve digestive health, lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol, reduce the risk of cancer and may benefit people with diabetes. As a versatile food ingredient, flax seeds or flaxseed oil are easy to add to your diet.