Flaxseed Health Benefits You Cannot Ignore

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Flaxseed Offers Unique and Unparalleled Nutrition Benefits

So what makes flaxseed so unique and extremely healthy?

Flaxseed, ranked number one source of omega-3 fatty acids among all the world’s healthiest foods. It is also the best plant-based source of heart-healthy fatty acids.

Flaxseed also ranked as number one source of lignans. It has 7 times more lignans to the closest second, which is sesame seeds.

Flaxseed is also a natural laxative and most of its carbs, 95% to be precise,  consist of soluble and insoluble fiber.

Regular consumption of flaxseed offers many health benefits. It helps reduce cholesterol, balances hormones, improves digestion, skin and hair health,  fights cancer and to top it all, helps lose weight. All these benefits are just the tip of the iceberg.


Health Benefits of Omega-3, Lignans, and Mucilage From Flaxseed

Omega-3

Flaxseed, also known as linseed in many parts of the world, are the richest source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids in the world It is called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

Flaxseeds are small-sized seeds which come in brown, tan or golden color. You can buy them whole, ground, or roasted. Flaxseed oil is also available widely.

Read my previous article to understand everything you would want to know about omega-3 and their health benefits. 11 Health Benefits Of Fish Oil You Should Definitely Know

What are lignans?

Lignans are a type of plant estrogen and a fat soluble antioxidant. Lignans not only prevent free radical formation but they also scavenge them after they are already formed. It also protects from oxidative stress which leads to cell damage.

According to researchers, lignans help balance hormone levels in the body. It balances testosterone-DHT relationship in men and estrogen in women. It also aids in reducing stress hormone called cortisol.

Lignans are also good for fertility and help with menopause too. Flaxseed is by far the richest dietary source of plant lignans.


Mucilage

Mucilage from flaxseed is a type of Soluble Fiber which helps protect and heal the colon. Mucilage gives that gummy, thick gelatinous texture to flaxseed and has some good medicinal properties.

Flax-mucilage offers great protection from harmful bacteria in the gut and promotes good flora. It also helps keep up good blood sugars levels and healthy weight.

This unique combination of omega-3 fatty acids, high-lignan content, and mucilage make the flaxseed one of the world’s best superfoods.


Flaxseed – Awesome Nutritional Facts

Just a cursory look at the nutritional benefits of flax seeds is enough to get your attention.

Flaxseed ground, raw
2.00 TBS – 14.00 grams
Calories: 75
GI: Very low
Nutrient Amount DRI/DV
(%)
Nutrient
Density
World’s Healthiest
Foods Rating
Omega-3 fats 3.19 g 133 32.0 Excellent
Vitamin B1 0.23 mg 19 4.6 Very good
Copper 0.17 mg 19 4.5 Very good
Manganese 0.35 mg 18 4.2 Very good
Fiber 3.82 g 15 3.7 Very good
Magnesium 54.88 mg 14 3.3 Good
Phosphorus 89.88 mg 13 3.1 Good
Selenium 3.56 mcg 6 1.6 Good

Macronutrients and calorie content of flaxseed

Flax seeds, ground, raw
2.00 TBS
(14.00 g)
GI: very low
BASIC MACRONUTRIENTS AND CALORIES
Protein 2.56 g 5
Carbohydrates 4.04 g 2
Fat – total 5.90 g
Dietary Fiber 3.82 g 15
Calories 74.76 4

Vitamins Composition of Flaxseed

 
 Vitamin Amount %DV
Vitamin A 0 µg ~
Vitamin C 0.6 mg 1%
Vitamin D 0 µg ~
Vitamin E 0.31 mg 2%
Vitamin K 4.3 µg 4%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1.64 mg 137%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.16 mg 12%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 3.08 mg 19%
Vitamin B5 (Panthothenic acid) 0.99 mg 20%
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) 0.47 mg 36%
Vitamin B12 0 µg ~
Folate 87 µg 22%
Choline 78.7 mg 14%
 

Minerals composition of flaxseed

 
 Mineral Amount %DV
Calcium 255 mg 26%
Iron 5.73 mg 72%
Magnesium 392 mg 98%
Phosphorus 642 mg 92%
Potassium 813 mg 17%
Sodium 30 mg 2%
Zinc 4.34 mg 39%
Copper 1.22 mg 136%
Manganese 2.48 mg 108%
Selenium 25.4 µg 46%

Read the previous article to learn all about vitamin and minerals. Click the link: All About Vitamins, Minerals And Multivitamins


Health benefits of flaxseed

Heart Health

According to the data provided by Centres for Disease Control & Prevention, about 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year, 1 in every 4 deaths.

These 40% cardiovascular diseases are linked to nutritional factors. Most of the cardiovascular diseases can be altered by changing lifestyles and dietary choices.

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), lignan, and soluble fiber content of flaxseed help improve heart health. A recent study confirms that regular consumption of flaxseed has positive effects on cardiovascular health.

According to the researchers, the soluble fibre in flaxseed helps lower serum cholesterol levels. The fiber gets fermented in the large intestine and short chain fatty acids produced which lower the pH and inhibit cholesterol synthesis.

The study also confirms that regular consumption of flaxseed mitigates CVD risk, lowers blood pressure, relieves oxidative stress, and inflammation.


Blood Pressure

The high content of omega-3 fatty acid ALA and lignans in flax seeds make them the most potent dietary source on the planet which lowers blood pressure.

study on humans which studied the antihypertensive action of dietary flaxseed in hypertensive patients found that there was a reduction in systolic blood pressure (SBP) of 5 mmHg and 2–5 mmHg reduction in the diastolic pressure (DBP).

The study was a double-blinded, placebo-controlled and randomized trial. The 110 patients ingested a variety of foods that contained 30 g of milled flaxseed or placebo each day over 6 months. What this means is that the risk of developing heart disease is reduced by 34%.


Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance which is found in the body. High levels of cholesterol can clog arteries and contribute to heart disease.

One of the most common reasons for heart disease is high blood cholesterol and LDL being the main culprit.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 17 percent of Americans suffer from high blood cholesterol and need medication.

The soluble fiber and lignans in flaxseed trap fat and cholesterol-rich bile acids in the digestive system and excrete them resulting in lowering cholesterol.

A new study from Iowa State University’s Nutrition and Wellness Research Center (NWRC) suggests that men can combat high cholesterol without drugs by including flaxseed in their daily diets.


 Weight Loss

Since flax seed is a low-calorie food and it has soluble fiber, it may promote weight loss by reducing hunger and cravings. One tablespoon of flaxseed has just 55 calories.

The healthy fats and fiber in this food source help feel full longer which in turn helps you eat lesser calories. ALA in flaxseed also helps in reducing inflammation, which otherwise is a weight loss deterrent.

It is low in carbs as one tablespoon of flaxseed has just 3 grams of carbohydrates. Low carb diets are effective in weight loss and weight management.

Don’t forget or hesitate to add a spoon of flaxseed to your soups, smoothies etc.


Cancer Prevention

Flaxseed can be helpful in preventing the development of certain kind of cancers like breast, prostate, color, skin, and lung.

The cancer preventive properties of flax seed are largely due to its high omega-3 fatty acid content. omega-3 disrupt cancerous and malignant cells from being able to cling onto other cells of the body. The lignans in flaxseed have antiangiogenic properties, which is the ability to stop the blood supply to the tumor, according to a study.

Thanks to flaxseed antiangiogenic properties that the lignans present in it stop tumors from forming new blood vessels by interfering with cell division.


Digestive Health

One of the biggest benefits of eating flaxseed is for its ability to promote digestive health.

The mucilage in flax seed detoxifies colon and aids fat loss. Mucilage also reduces sugar cravings which mean less consumption of empty calories.

The ALA in flax seed reduces gut inflammation and it can help Crohn’s disease. ALA can also help protect the digestive tract lining and maintain good GI health.

Flax seed is also rich in soluble and insoluble fibers help better and efficient absorption of nutrients by your intestines by holding the food you consumed longer in your digestive tract.  The fibers also lead to the steady passage of food through intestines.

The fibers flaxseeds also lead to the steady passage of food through intestines and it is one of the highest magnesium foods in the world.


Menopausal Symptoms

According to a recent study, flaxseeds have shown better results than hormone therapy in the overall effectiveness of the menopausal syndrome.

Lignans in flaxseeds have estrogenic properties which can be used as an alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy which has been linked to breast cancer, stroke risk.

Lignans also help in maintain cycle regularity and also reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Healthy Skin and Hair

Adding flaxseed to your daily diets can give you an all-natural remedy for your skin and hair.

You can use flaxseed oil to protect and moisturize your skin, minimize wrinkles and makes your skin tone healthier.

It also protects you from skin cancers

Vitamins and minerals rich flaxseeds provide nourishment to the hair follicles and encourage stronger and healthier new hair growth. It also helps reduce dandruff and other skin conditions like eczema.

Omega-3 in flaxseeds also increases hair elasticity which reduces hair breakage, does not let your scalp go dry and nourishes hair.


Summary

Flaxseed offers unparalleled health benefits with its high plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, lignans, fiber.

Including this superfood to your daily life will not only avert certain health risks but also give you an improved overall health.

You can add these super seeds into your diet in many ways including adding them to homemade muffins, bread, and cookies. You can also add them to your soups as thickeners. Or just sprinkle roasted seeds on your toast.

The best way to eat flaxseed is to roast them first and then grind.

Data Sources: Authority NutritionFoods

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