Ever scrolled down an ingredient list that mentions ‘flax seeds’ and wondered what they are? These small seeds are high in nutrients and have health advantages not many know. The benefits of flax seeds are not limited to just one or two but stretch to a vast array. Flaxseed nutrition is often overshadowed when health freaks have to choose between flax seeds and chia seeds. The latter is much more popularly utilized when people want to elevate their lifestyle patterns and switch to healthier foods.
On the other hand, this unsung hero of your kitchen wardrobe definitely needs more attention than it is given. It is believed that eating flax seeds massively improves the functioning of your body. However, there are a number of other flax seeds uses apart from just eating them. This unheard nutrition-rich food is often known as alsi seeds in some of the prominent Indian languages including Hindi.
Benefits Of Flax Seeds
The advantages and perks of eating or using flax seeds are innumerable but it is impossible to list all of them. Therefore, we will be focusing on six significant flax seed health benefits. Information on how and when to consume these seeds will also be provided.
1. Flax Seeds Are Full Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The vital fatty acid that our body cannot produce is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and flax seeds are a rich source for obtaining these. It is difficult to obtain this fatty acid from other sources since it is not naturally produced within us.
In addition, omega-3 fatty acids also aid in reducing inflammation in the human body, which will, in turn, reduce the risks of chronic diseases. Specifically, ALA is known for lowering the possibility of developing heart diseases. Apart from flax seeds, one can also obtain ALA from fatty fish, chia seeds, soybeans, and walnuts.
2. Flax Seeds Are Great For Your Heart
As we mentioned earlier, consuming ALA will reduce heart disease risks, but there are other benefits that it provides. According to a report published named Advances of Nutrition, there is proven evidence that ALA intake prevents cardiovascular diseases. The reason mentioned for this is that ALA is a kind of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA), and these fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties which eventually work towards reducing heart disease risks.
In addition, the Advances in Food and Nutrition Research report mentions that ALA also contains highly potent anticancer, antioxidant, antihypertensive, antiaging, antiarthritis, and anti-depression properties. These features ensure the overall well-being of one’s heart. High levels of LDL, popularly known as ‘bad’ cholesterol in the human body can lead to an accumulation in arteries, thereby, increasing the risks of any cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, flaxseed intake can aid in reducing blood cholesterol levels in our bodies, as suggested by some reports and studies. Moreover, flax seeds’ health benefits include lowering blood pressure, thereby, reducing heart attacks or strokes.
3. Flax Seeds Are Host Of Fiber
Looking to add fibers to your diet? Your answer is flax seeds. These small seeds are rich in fibers and are an easy way to include fiber into your diet without much hassle. A few tablespoons of this seed are enough for achieving one’s recommended daily amount of fiber. A tablespoon of flax seeds has about 3 grams of fiber, which is about 11% of what an average person should intake on a daily basis.
American Heart Association’s data suggests that a person should consume about 25 to 30 grams of fiber in a day. However, Americans intake an average of 15 grams of fiber a day. A low fiber diet affects weight management attempts largely. This is why doctors often advise eating flax seeds for weight loss. Also, low fiber intake can lead to digestion problems and might even uplift the risks of getting diagnosed with chronic diseases.
Flax seeds when added to your breakfast would work great and this is the place where one should start making changes to food habits. Breakfast is the first meal, therefore, the right place to start. One can mix these seeds in their oatmeal, blend them with milk, eat them as it is, add flaxseed powder to milk, or even make a smoothie by adding bananas and milk. Since ground flaxseed is easier to consume in various forms, it is highly recommended to be added to one’s diet.
4. Flax Seeds Are Beneficial For A Weight Regime
Changing lifestyle demands a proper weight management regime and flaxseeds are one of the first options to add to your diet. The fiber content in these seeds aids in stimulating the feeling of being full for extended hours. Therefore, it will reduce your chances of eating at repeated intervals. Flax seeds intake has often been related to insulin sensitivity and glucose control, both these properties aid in successful weight management outcomes.
5. Flax Seeds Are Digestive Aids
These not-so-popular seeds are a natural source of purgatives and help with the digestive process. It also prevents constipation issues. According to a 12-week-long study reported in Nutrition & Metabolism, flax seeds when merged with baked products help in decreasing constipation symptoms. Moreover, this combination also reduces lipid and glycemic levels in the body, which is beneficial for Type-2 diabetes patients.
Further, these seeds are known to affect the gut microbiomes in a positive manner during the digestion process by raising the bacterial flora in the gut. It also helps in decreasing the inhabitants of Porphyromonadaceae and Proteobacteria, which might cause alcoholic liver diseases.
6. Flax Seeds For Skin And Hair
These seeds not only improve the body internally but also help in external positive developments. A healthy internal working of your body ensures healthy skin as well. This is because what you eat plays a major role in how you look. Further, flax seeds benefits for skin include anti-aging and anti-inflammatory benefits which improve the way one looks. Since flax seeds contain omega-3 acids in large amounts, the skin is prevented from being dry and thus starts glowing.
Dermatologists have often suggested the consumption of flaxseed for hair growth. Flaxseed oil benefits hair growth if applied at regular intervals. Moreover, other aids that the usage of flaxseed oil for hair provides include the necessary to the scalp and roots.
The Other Side
Every coin has two sides, similarly, everything has a positive or negative side. Flax seeds are one of the richest sources of fiber as well as omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, the benefits of flax seeds are in fact innumerable. But these seeds can also cause harmful reactions if not consumed in the recommended quantity. Flax seed side effects include reduced absorption of some essential minerals and digestive problems.
Someone who is iron or zinc deficient should avoid eating flax seeds. This is because there is already a dearth of these minerals in their body and eating flax seeds would only worsen that. The other minerals that flax seeds reduce the absorption of include magnesium, calcium, and copper. However, there is a relief that flax seed effects on these minerals are almost negligible.
We earlier stated that eating fibers aids digestion, while this is true, the fact is that consuming too much fiber is negative for the same thing. This is because a high fiber intake can often cause bloating, stomach ache, gas formation, and might sometimes trigger nausea.
The several benefits of flax seeds are summarised here so one doesn’t forget any important points. Flax seeds are a host of fiber and nutrients that can aid us in multiple ways. These include the promotion of gut health, better heart conditions, prevention of severe chronic diseases, improved digestion, and better quality of skin and hair. In addition, there are flax seeds benefits for female health that include the maintenance of a normal duration between ovulation and menstruation. However, these seeds have still not gained the popularity they deserve.
While counting the merits, one often forgets to notice the demerits, but we won’t do so. Excessive consumption of flax seeds can lead to reduced absorption of some essential minerals in the body. Moreover, high fiber consumption in the form of flax seeds would also lead to digestive issues that include nausea as well.