9 Fantastic Benefits of Flaxseed
With all the new superfoods popping up, it’s kind of hard keeping up with the names. I’m sure you’ve heard all about wheatgrass, kale, chlorella, and all those other popular ones. But have you heard about flaxseed? No? Well, it’s about time that you know more about this amazing superfood!
Flaxseed is also known as common flax or linseeds. It is a food and fiber crop that originated in the Middle East. The textiles made from this crop is what Western countries know as linen.
Flaxseeds are usually brown or yellow in color. They are sold whole, ground, milled, or roasted.
History of Flaxseed
Contrary to what most of you are thinking, flaxseed isn’t a newly discovered superfood. It has actually been around for centuries. It’s one of the oldest cultivated crops. It’s been around as early as 3000 BC. Back in the day, it was used as a laxative, a plant food, responsible for adding and sustaining energy, and also a cure for abdominal pains.
King Charlemagne, the mighty roman emperor, even passed laws requiring his subjects to consume it for their well-being.
Flaxseed Nutrition Content
Flaxseed is known by some people as one of the most powerful plant foods on the planet. The three major healthy components of the flaxseed are omega-3 essential fatty acids, lignans, and fiber.
Here’s a fun fact: they are the number one source of lignans in the human diet.
Other than these three, flaxseed also contains vitamins B1 and B6, manganese, magnesium, protein, phosphorus, selenium, molybdenum, copper, zinc, and potassium.
And finally, this crop also contains beneficial plant compounds.
Benefits of Flaxseed
For such a tiny superfood, it might surprise you that this has a lot of benefits to offer. Read on to know the top 9 positive effects flaxseed has for your body.
Fights Against Cancer
A study found in the Journal of Clinical Cancer Research shows that consuming flaxseed may decrease the risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer.
Another study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that the lignans in flaxseeds may also reduce the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer.
The ALA omega-3 fatty acid in flaxseed inhibit tumor incidence and tumor growth. In addition, exposure to lignans during adolescence reduces the risk of breast cancer and also increases the survival of breast cancer patients. Lignans fight against cancer by blocking enzymes that lead to hormone metabolism. They also interfere with the growth and spread of tumor cells.
Fights Against Cardiovascular Disease
Several studies suggest that diets rich in flaxseed omega-3 help prevent the hardening of the arteries and keep plaque from being deposited in the arteries, partly by keeping white blood cells from sticking to the inner linings of blood vessels.
Flaxseed also lowers blood pressure and normalizes the heartbeat. Studies show that lignans reduces atherosclerotic plaque buildup by up to 75 percent.
Omega-3 fatty acids also maintain the heart’s natural rhythm. They treat heart arrhythmia and heart failure.
Protects from Diabetes
Again, the lignan content plays a major role in this benefit. Patients with type 2 diabetes took flaxseed, and the results were positive. There was a drop in fasting blood sugars, triglycerides, and cholesterol. There was also a drop in A1C level. Insulin resistance is also lowered.
Adding flaxseed into your daily diets naturally reduces cholesterol levels. This superfood has soluble fiber, that traps fat and cholesterol in the digestive system. That means it won’t be absorbed. The soluble fiber also traps bile. Bile is cholesterol from the gallbladder. The digestive system then excretes the bile. This forces the body to make more, and this uses up excess cholesterol in the blood. This lowers overall cholesterol.
Aids in Weight Loss
Since flax is full of healthy fats and fiber, it will help you feel fuller longer. That means you will eat fewer calories overall. Flaxseed also is high in fiber, but low in carbs. Overall, it supports weight loss plans and controls obesity and overweight.
ALA fats found in this superfood also reduces inflammation. Take note that an inflamed body holds on to excess weight.
Promotes Healthy Skin and Hair
The ALA fats in flaxseed benefits the skin and hair by providing essential fats. It also has B vitamins, which can help reduce dryness and flakiness. Also, it can improve symptoms of acne, rosacea, and eczema.
You can apply it topically as well. You can mix it with essential oils as a great natural skin moisturizer.
Fights Against Menopausal Symptoms
This is great for older women who are on the road to menopause. It is an alternative to hormone replacement therapy as lignans possess estrogenic properties. These properties also reduce the likelihood of osteoporosis. If you mix just 2 tablespoons of flaxseed into food, it can cut hot flashes in half. The intensity of these hot flashes also dropped by 57 percent.
Promotes a Good Digestive System
The ALA in flax protects the lining of the digestive tract and also maintains gastrointestinal health. It reduces gut inflammation, so it’s great for people with Crohn’s disease or any other digestive ailments. It’s great in relieving constipation as well. And finally, it produces food for friendly bacteria in the colon that cleanses waste from your system.
This superfood is a great replacement for gluten-containing grains. Those who have Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should take in flaxseed. They are also a great alternative to omega-3 fats found in fish for people with seafood allergies.
How to Add It To Your Diet
Okay, so you’re a little skeptical in adding this to your everyday meals. Don’t worry, your eating patterns won’t drastically change with this superfood. It has a light and nutty taste, so if anything, it can just enhance the flavor of your favorite food.
Here are some ways to add it to your meals:
- Sprinkle flaxseed on top of cereal or oatmeal.
- Add around a teaspoon of this superfood to your favorite sandwich spread. Make sure to mix it properly.
- Add flaxseed into your favorite refreshing juices or healthy smoothies.
- Garnish your favorite salad with a sprinkling of flax.
- Top off soup with this grain.
- Add flax to your favorite pasta sauces.
- Incorporate the grain into meatballs, omelets, or casseroles.