Flax seed is a versatile ingredient that can improve the flavour and texture of practically any recipe thanks to its mild, nutty flavour and crispy consistency. Healthy fat, antioxidants, and fibre are all present in the plant-based food flax seed, also known as linseed. It is referred to as a ‘superfood’ due to its various nutritional and health benefits.
One of the oldest crops in the world, flax seed was first cultivated in Babylon as early as 3000 BC. There are two popular varieties of flax seed: golden and brown, and both are equally nourishing. Protein, fibre, and omega-3 fatty acids are all present in reasonable amounts in flax seeds along with a number of critical vitamins and minerals making them a healthy food source. Let's look at some of the health benefits of flaxseeds in this blog.
The Health Benefits of Flax Seed
1)It May Reduce the Risk of Cancer
Flax Seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids. These, according to a research-validated source, may aid in halting the growth of several cancerous cells. Flax seeds may have a protective effect against breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer. Lignans, which are antioxidants found in flax seed, may help against cancer by blocking enzymes that are involved in hormone metabolism and interfering with the growth and spread of tumour cells.
2)Improved Heart Health and Cholesterol Levels
To improve heart health, AHA (American Health Association) advises consuming more fibre and omega-3 fatty acids. Two components in flaxseed - ALA and lignans may reduce inflammation in the body that comes with certain illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease and asthma. They also reduce inflammation associated with plaque buildup in arteries with help prevent diseases like heart attack and stroke.
Phytosterols are also present in flax seeds. Although phytosterols and cholesterol share a similar chemical structure, they work to stop the intestines from absorbing cholesterol.
Therefore, consuming phytosterols via flax seed may assist in lowering the body's levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad," cholesterol.
3)Easing Arthritis Symptoms
Flax seeds may help lessen stiffness and pain in the joints. It can also be used to treat Raynaud's syndrome, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.
The ALA in flax seeds may also help in reducing inflammation by blocking the release of certain pro-inflammatory agents.
4)Blood Sugar Improvement
Lignans and other phytoestrogens might lower the chance of developing chronic diseases like diabetes. Daily intake of lignans in flaxseed may moderately improve blood sugar levels.
Although there is not sufficient evidence to establish a link between flax seeds and type 2 diabetes, they may still be a healthy addition to your diet if you have type 2 diabetes.
Insoluble fibre, which does not dissolve in water and is retained in the digestive system after consumption, is found in abundance in flax seed. It builds mass and absorbs water which might aid in promoting regularity in bowel movements.
For those who are not used to eating a lot of fibre, incorporating flax seeds too quickly can cause mild digestive problems such as bloating, nausea or abdominal pain. It's best to start consuming flax seeds in smaller doses and then increase them eventually. Adding flax seeds to your diet may also improve your bowel movements as it contains fibre and is a natural laxative.
6)May Help you Manage Weight
Several studies have shown that flax seeds may aid in weight management. Flax seeds contain soluble fibres which slow digestion and increase the feeling of fullness, which may help if you are someone trying to lose weight.
7)Versatile and Easy to Use
Flax seeds can be added to various recipes. You can boil them and then use them in different ways such as-
- Add them to your salads as a dressing for some crunch. Drizzle your salad with flax seed oil.
- Mix it with your favourite yoghurt and enjoy it as a mini snack.
- Add flax seed to your trail mix for some instant energy and fibre.
- Add it to your Indian curries and enjoy them in your meals.
- Add flax seeds to baked goods such as cookies and cakes.
Risks associated with flax seeds
Flaxseeds indeed come packed with nutrition. However, there is a limitation attached to it. The following people should avoid including flax seed in their diet-
- Those taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) or blood thinners such as aspirin or warfarin (Coumadin)
- Those consuming cholesterol-lowering medication
- Ladies who are pregnant or nursing and have hormone-sensitive breast or uterine cancer
- Those having flax seed allergies.
Contact your doctor before taking it if you have any of the above health issues or conditions.
Here are some extra notes to take care of, while consuming flaxseeds:
- Avoid eating uncooked or unripe flax seeds because they could be poisonous.
- To avoid digestive issues, eat crushed flax seeds with lots of liquid.
- Because flaxseed oil can degrade fast, only buy small dark-coloured bottles and keep them in the fridge.
- Additionally, don't use the flax seed oil after the labelled expiration date.
Even though they are tiny, flax seeds are incredibly nutrient-dense when it comes to lowering blood pressure, enhancing digestion, and guarding against some types of cancer. They can also be used in savoury, sweet, spicy, and cold meals, which makes them highly adaptable and versatile.
Antioxidants are abundant in flax seeds and their derivatives, particularly lignans. Although there is not yet enough data to support their potential health advantages such as lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of certain types of cancer, and weight management they might have some.
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