Flaxseeds are a prized superfood, known for their extensive nutritive values and health benefits. The tiny, nutty and crunchy seeds have gained the status of a superfood lately, but they are actually one of the oldest crops, having been cultivated since the beginning of civilization. Also known as common flax or linseeds, these tiny seeds originated in the Middle East thousands of years ago.
Long before flaxseeds were known for its amazing health benefits, it was used to create textiles. Now they have become a staple in the world of healthy eating due to their high omega-3 fatty acids and fiber content. Some people also refer to them as “functional food,” which means food that can boost health. Tiny brown seeds are known to improve digestion, reduce risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer
1. Nutritional content: Flaxseeds are inexpensive and high in calories as compared to other nuts but are also extremely nutritious. 100 grams of flaxseeds contains 534 calories that simply means a teaspoon of whole seeds has approximately 55 calories.
Other nutrients 10 grams of whole flaxseeds contains:
Water: 7 per cent
Protein: 1.9 grams
Carbs: 3 grams
Sugar: 0.2 grams
Fiber: 2.8 grams
Fat: 4.3 grams
Flaxseeds have high-quality amino acids almost comparable to soybeans. Tiny brown seeds are also high in omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6. Besides, it contains other important minerals and compounds like thiamine, copper, molybdenum, magnesium, phosphorus, ferulic acid, cyanogenic glycosides, phytosterols and lignans.
2. Weight loss: Nuts and seeds hold an important place in a weight loss diet plan and flaxseeds are one of them that can be included in the diet when the mission is to shed kilos. The tiny brown seeds are loaded with fiber called mucilage, which can suppress hunger, craving and prevent you from indulging in unhealthy munching. A review study even noted that flaxseeds can promote weight loss in overweight and obese people.
3. Lower blood cholesterol level: Having these seeds can help to lower the level of LDL or bad cholesterol. A study suggests that consuming flaxseeds daily may help to lower the level of cholesterol by 6 per cent to 11 per cent. That’s possible because of the presence of high fiber and lignan content. Both the substances bind with bile acids, amphipathic molecules synthesized from cholesterol in the liver and remove them from the body through the digestive tract. These tiny seeds can easily be paired with cholesterol-lowering medication.
4. Good for heart health: Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial for us in many ways, particularly in maintaining good heart health. These seeds contain a high amount of omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which has shown to cut down the risk of heart diseases in several lab tests. The healthy fat basically reduces the inflammation in the arteries, which often leads to various heart issues like stroke, heart attacks and cardiac arrest.
5. Lower blood pressure: Consuming flaxseeds is a natural way to reduce blood pressure. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2015, the blood pressure of participants who consumed flaxseeds daily for more than 12 weeks was reported to be under control. These seeds are also rich in potassium, a nutrient that can help to ease tension in blood vessel walls, which helps further lower blood pressure.
6. Diabetes: According to some preliminary research daily intake of the lignans (a compound found in flaxseeds ) may improve blood sugar level. During the study, it was noticed that when people suffering from Type 2 diabetes were given 10–20 grams of flaxseeds powder supplement per day for 1–2 months their fasting blood sugar dropped by 19.7 per cent.
7. Cancer: Some recent studies suggest that compounds present in flaxseeds may even protect against breast, prostate, and colon cancer. In a lab study, it was found that compounds present in it can inhibit the growth of tumours. As per a Canadian study carried out on 6,000 women, consuming flaxseeds can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by 18 per cent. Still a lot more research is needed in this area to come to any conclusion.
8. Skin health: Lignans and several antioxidants present in brown seeds can also help to prevent wrinkles on the face. A study suggests that applying flaxseeds oil topically on the skin can significantly decrease skin sensitivity, roughness, and scaling. The fatty acids in flaxseeds also help in keeping the skin moisturised and smooth. Moreover, it can even repair damaged hair, prevent hair fall, eczema and dandruff.
The right way to eat flaxseeds
Flaxseeds have a mild nutty nutty flavour. It can be eaten on its own or can be used in the form of flaxseeds oil. There are two types of flaxseeds: yellow and brown. Both are equally nutritious and beneficial for health. It is easy to incorporate these seeds into your diet. You can add them to your salad or smoothies. As per most experts, it is better to have ground flaxseeds over whole flaxseeds as the ground form is easier to digest. The cover shell of whole flaxseeds are quite hard and may pass through the intestine undigested, which means you will not get all of its nutrients. Also, one should not consume more than a tablespoon of flaxseeds in a day.
Who should not consume flaxseeds?
Flaxseeds are generally safe for consumption by most people. But people suffering from low blood pressure, low blood sugar level, constipation, diarrhoea, hormonal issues and the bleeding problems should be careful before including these seeds in their diet. Tiny brown seeds are good for pregnant and breastfeeding women, but they should avoid flaxseeds supplements. In case of any complication or allergy contact your doctor immediately.