10 Health Benefits of Eating Flax Seeds
Health & Wellness

Top 10 Health Benefits of Eating Flax Seeds.

The Health Benefits of eating flax seeds are known for centuries. It is not surprising that the small, edible grains of the flax plant (which is one of the most ancient plants in the world!) have become super-food.

Flax seeds are tiny, yet nutrient-packed foods that contribute a number of important health benefits. Flax seeds are available whole or ground and are also used in many foods, such as breakfast cereals, crackers, and bread. Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants are excellent sources of flaxseed and contain essential quantities of fiber, vitamin B1 and copper, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium.

Flax seeds now emerge as “superfoods,” as more scientific evidence points to their health benefits.

But to make the most of these perks, there’s a “right” way to eat them.

Top 10 health benefits of eating Flax seeds.

1. Flax seeds are Nutrient Loaded

Flax seeds, which has been grown since the beginning of civilization, is one of the oldest crops. There are two types, brown and golden, that are equally nutritious.

Two tablespoons of flax seeds contain 6 grams of fiber (about one-quarter of the recommended amount), 4-grams of plant protein, and 10 to 20 percent of the daily target for a number of nutrients, including magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, and thiamin. Magnesium enhances sleep and mood, while manganese contributes to the production of collagen and promotes bone and skin health. Phosphorus helps to form cell structures and promotes bone health. Copper is involved in the production of energy and collagen and is needed to make red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. Thiamin also plays a role in the production of energy and also helps to support the nervous system

2. Flax seeds are high in omega-3 fats

If you’re vegetarian or don’t eat fish, Flaxseed can be your best source of omega-3 fat.

Flax seeds contain a plant-based type of omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid or ALA (1), which has been linked to improved circulation and anti-inflammatory effects. Research shows that these fats can also help in the fight against osteoporosis by reducing the risk of bone fractures and offering modest protection against type 2 diabetes.

3. Flax Seeds might Reduce Cancer Risk

Flax seeds have been shown to prevent the development of tumors, particularly breast, prostate, and colon cancer. This may be because the linseed is rich in lignans. Lignans are plant compounds with antioxidant and estrogen properties that both contribute to the reduction of cancer risk and improve health. (2)

Interestingly, Flax seeds contain up to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods. These plant compounds are thought to have antiangiogenic properties, which means that they may stop tumors from forming new blood vessels and growing. In a study involving 6,000 women, flax seeds users were 18 percent less likely to develop breast cancer. (3)

4. Flax Seeds is Rich in Dietary Fiber

Only one tablespoon of Flaxseeds contains 3 grams of fiber, which is 8–12 percent of the recommended daily intake for both men and women. (4)

In addition, Flax seeds contain two types of dietary fiber— soluble (20–40 percent) and insoluble (60–80 percent).

This fiber duo is fermented by bacteria in the large intestine, builds up stools and results in more regular bowel movements.

On the one hand, soluble fiber increases your intestine’s consistency and slows your digestion rate. This has shown that blood sugar and lower cholesterol levels are regulated. (5)

On the other hand, insoluble fiber allows more water to bind to stools, increases their mass and results in softer stools. This is useful for the prevention of constipation and for those with irritable bowel syndrome or diverticular disease. (6)

Related Post: Benefits of Flaxseed oil for Skin and Hair

5. Flax seeds might improve cholesterol

The ability of flax seeds to lower cholesterol levels is another health benefit.

In one study in people with high cholesterol, 3 tablespoons (30 grams) of flaxseed powder daily for three months lowered total cholesterol by 17 percent and “bad” LDL cholesterol by almost 20 percent. (7)

Another study of people with diabetes found that taking 1 tablespoon (10 grams) of flaxseed powder daily for one month resulted in a 12 percent increase in “good” HDL cholesterol. (8)

In postmenopausal women, consuming 30 grams of flax seeds daily decreased total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol by approximately 7% and 10% respectively.

This is apparently due to the fiber in flax seeds that binds to salts in the bile and is then excreted by the body.

Cholesterol is taken from your blood to your liver to replenish these bile salts. This lowers your blood cholesterol levels.

This is definitely good news for those who want to improve their cholesterol.

6. Flax Seeds May Lower Blood Pressure

Studies on flax seeds have also focused on its natural ability to lower blood pressure.

A Canadian study revealed that the consumption of 30 grams of flax seeds daily for six months reduced the systemic and diastolic blood pressure by 10 mmHg and 7 mmHg. (9)

For those taking blood pressure drugs, the Flax seeds further reduced blood pressure and reduced the number of uncontrolled high blood pressure patients by 17%.

In addition, according to a large review, which looked at data from 11 studies, taking flaxseeds daily for more than three months lowered blood pressure by 2 mmHg. (10)

While this may seem insignificant, a 2-mmHg reduction in blood pressure may reduce the risk of death from stroke by 10% and heart disease by 7%.

Related Post: Benefits of Flaxseed oil for Skin and Hair

7. Flax Seeds Contain High-Quality Protein

Flax seeds are a major source of plant-based protein and are increasingly interested in and beneficial to the health of flax seeds proteins.

The protein of flax seeds is rich in amino acids such as arginine, aspartic acid, and glutamic acid. (11, 12)

Numerous laboratory and animal studies have shown that flax seeds protein helps improve immune function, lowers cholesterol, prevents tumors and has anti-fungal properties.

If you’re thinking about cutting back on meat and you’re worried that you’re going to be too hungry, flax seeds might just be your answer.

In fact, 21 adults were given animal protein meal or plant protein meal in a recent study. The study found no difference between the two meals in terms of appetite, satiety or food intake.

It is likely that both animal and plant protein diets stimulate hormones in the intestines to produce a feeling of fullness that results in less eating at the next meal.

8. Flax Seeds might Help to Control Blood Sugar

Lignans in flax seeds are also related to improved levels of HA1C, which is an average three-month measure of blood sugar. Seeds may also help to reduce the risk of diabetes in other ways. In one small study, scientists gave 0 g, 13 g, or 26 g of flaxseed to humans daily for 12 weeks.

All participants had prediabetes, including obese men and postmenopausal overweight women. People in the group who consumed 13 g of flax seeds daily had lower blood glucose and insulin levels and increased insulin sensitivity at the end of the study period.

9. Flax seeds can be helpful in weight loss

Most of the soluble fiber in flax seeds is called mucilage. This fiber combines with water to form a gel-like consistency that slows the emptying of the stomach, which leads to an increased feeling of fullness and slows the return of hunger.  A meta-analysis of 45 studies concluded that the consumption of flax seeds (especially 30 grams per day or about two tablespoons) resulted in a reduction in both body weight and waist measurement. (13,14)

10. Flax seeds might even improve hot flashes

Research is mixed, but some studies suggest that flax seeds can help with this symptom of perimenopause. One study found that women who consumed 20 grams of crushed flax seeds twice a day, mixed with cereal, juice, or yogurt, had half as many hot flashes as they had before. The intensity of their hot flashes also decreased by more than 50%.

Related Post: Benefits of Flaxseed oil for Skin and Hair

How to get the maximum health benefits from eating Flax seeds

The first thing to know is that it’s best to eat flax seeds after it has been crushed or preferably ground. This is because the whole flax seeds are likely to pass through your intestines undigested. In other words, healthy fats and other nutrients are not absorbed into your bloodstream.

But there’s more: because the flax seeds oils are delicate, they can begin to disintegrate when exposed to air and light. So grind the seeds in the coffee grinder right before eating them, to take full advantage of their benefits.

Look for golden or brown whole flaxseeds in the grocery store (most mainstream markets sell them) or online. If you can find sprouted flaxseed, it’s even better. Sprouting is a process that improves the digestibility of seeds and makes their nutrients easier to access.

Store all the flax seeds in a cool, dark place at home. If you have extra ground flax seeds, put it in the freezer to better conserve the nutrients.

It is easy to sprinkle ground flax seeds on oatmeal, salads or cooked vegetables. But it could also be baked. Lower oven temperatures do not appear to significantly reduce the amount of ALA that makes flaxseed a terrific addition to muffins, cookies, brownies, and sweetbreads, such as pumpkin or zucchini. You can also add ground flax seeds to smoothies, energy balls, and healthy pancakes. Or use them as a plant-based substitute in many recipes for baked goods that call for egg. Just replace each egg with one tablespoon of flaxseed and three tablespoons of water.

How much flax seeds should you eat a day?

The health benefits of eating flax seeds reported in the previous studies were just 1 tablespoon (10 grams) a day with ground flax seeds.

Nonetheless, serving sizes do not exceed 5 tablespoons (50 grams) of flax seeds per day.

Related Post: Benefits of Flaxseed oil for Skin and Hair

Caution

Because of the fiber content, begin with one to two teaspoons of ground or whole flaxseeds per day to prevent discomfort, bloating or constipation. Drink with any meal containing whole or ground flax seeds 1 to 2 glasses of water. Increase over many weeks the amount of whole or ground flaxseeds to increase tolerance.

Talk before you add flaxseeds to your diet because they may minimize the absorption of some medicines and may interfere with fish oil, omega-3 supplements, or anticoagulant medicine.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to the health benefits of eating flax seeds, it is full of nutritious goodness

Though thin, they are rich in omega-3 fatty acid ALA, lignans and fiber, both of which have been shown to have many potential health benefits.

They may be used to boost digestive health, lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels, minimize cancer risk and can help people with diabetes.

Flax seeds or flaxseed oil are a versatile food ingredient that can easily be added to your diet.

With many proven health benefits and probably more, there’s no better time than now to get some flax seed from your local grocery store.

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