Flax seeds Health Benefits:
The following content details about Flax seeds Health Benefits and its uses.
Introduction to Flax Seeds:- Flax is a member of the genus Linum in the family Linaceae also known as common flax or linseed, Linum usitatissimum. It is a food and fiber crop cultivated in cooler regions of the world. The textiles made from flax are known as linen in the Western countries, and used for bed sheets, underclothes, and table linen. The oil is known as linseed oil. In addition to referring to the plant itself, the word flax may refer to the unspun fibers of the flax plant. This species of plant is known as a cultivated plant, and appears to have been domesticated just once from the wild species Linum bienne, called pale flax.
Flaxseeds occur in 2 basic varieties: brown and yellow or golden. Most types have similar nutritional characteristics and equal numbers of short-chain omega-3 fatty acids. The type of yellow flax called solin, which has a completely different oil profile and is very low in omega-3. Flaxseeds produce a vegetable oil known as flaxseed oil or linseed oil, which is one of the oldest commercial oils. This is edible oil obtained by expeller pressing, sometimes followed by solvent extraction. Solvent-processed flaxseed oil has been used for many centuries as a drying oil in painting and varnishing.
Even though brown flax may be consumed as readily as yellow, and has been for thousands of years, its is used in paints, for fiber, and for cattle feed. Flax is grown for its oil, used as a nutritional supplement, and as an ingredient in many wood-finishing products. Flax is also grown as an ornamental plant in gardens. Flax fibers are used to make linen. The meaning of Latin species name usitatissimum means most useful.
Flax fibers are taken from the stem of the plant, and are 2-3 times as strong as those of cotton. Additionally, flax fibers are naturally smooth and straight. Europe and North America depended on flax for vegetable based cloth until the 19th century, when cotton overtook flax as the most common plant used for making rag-based paper. Flax is grown on the Canadian prairies for linseed oil, which is used as a drying oil in paints and varnishes and in products such as linoleum and printing inks. Linseed meal, the by-product obtained after oil production from flax seeds, is used to feed livestock. It is a protein-rich feed for ruminants, rabbits and fish.
Flax fiber is extracted from the bast beneath the surface of the stem of the flax plant. Flax fiber is soft, lustrous, and flexible; bundles of fiber have the appearance of blonde hair, hence the description flaxen hair. It is stronger than cotton fiber, but less elastic. The best grades are used for linen fabrics such as damasks, lace, and sheeting. Flax fiber is a raw material used in the high-quality paper industry for the use of printed bank notes, rolling paper for cigarettes, and tea bags.
Flax seed helps in improving digestion, give you clear skin, lower cholesterol, reduce sugar cravings, balance hormones, fight cancer and promote weight lose and that’s just the beginning. Flax seeds are small, brown, tan or golden-colored seeds that are the richest sources of a plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in the world. Another important fact about flaxseeds is that they rank #1 source of lignans in human diets. Flaxseeds contain about 7 times as many lignans as the closest runner-up, sesame seeds.
Flax seeds in Indian Languages:
- English : Flax seeds.
- Tamil : Ali Vidai/Ali Virai.
- Malayalam : Cheruchana vithu.
- Telugu : Avishalu.
- Kannada : Agase.
- Hindi : Alasi, tisi.
- Bengali : Marshina.
- Gujarati : Alasi.
- Marathi : Javasu.
- Punjabi : Alasi.
The following are flax seeds health benefits.
Flax seeds Health Benefits #1: High in Phytochemicals and Antioxidants
Flaxseeds are one of the best sources of lignan, an estrogen-like chemical compound that scavenges the free radicals in the body. It contains 75-800 times more lignans than other plant-based foods. Lignans promote fertility and reduce the peri-menopausal syndrome. Flaxseeds have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which mitigate and protect against pneumonopathy.
Flax seeds Health Benefits #2: High in Fiber
One of the effective benefits of flax seeds is that they contain high levels of mucilage gum content. Mucilage is a gel forming fiber that is water soluble and has incredible benefits on the intestinal tract. The mucilage can keep food in the stomach from emptying too quickly into the small intestine, which can increase nutrient absorption. Also, flax is extremely high in both soluble and insoluble fiber which can support colon detoxification, fat loss and reduce sugar cravings.
You should consume 30-40 grams of high fiber foods daily.
Flax seeds Health Benefits #3: Cancer
Recent studies have suggested that flaxseed may have a protective effect against breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer. At least 2 of the components in flaxseed seem to contribute.
In animal studies, the plant omega-3 fatty acid found in flaxseed, called ALA, inhibited tumor incidence and growth. The lignans in flaxseed may provide some protection against cancers that are sensitive to hormones without interfering with the breast cancer drug tamoxifen. Some studies have suggested that exposure to lignans during adolescence helps reduce the risk of breast cancer and may also increase the survival of breast cancer patients. Lignans may help protect against cancer by blocking enzymes that are involved in hormone metabolism and interfering with the growth and spread of tumor cells. Some of the other components in flaxseed also have antioxidant properties, which protects against cancer and heart disease.
Flax seeds Health Benefits #4: Improves Digestive Health
Flaxseeds contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. The fiber present in flaxseeds improves the movement of food through the intestines. The mucilaginous fiber in flaxseeds also improves the intestinal absorption of nutrients. The soluble fiber dissolves in the water and creates a gel-like substance, keeping the stomach full for a longer time.
Flax seeds Health Benefits #5: Healthy Skin and Hair
If you want healthier skin, hair and nails then consider adding 2 tbsp of flax seeds to your smoothie or 1 tbsp of flax seed oil to your daily routine.
The ALA fats in flax seeds benefits the skin and hair by providing essential fats as well as vitamin B which can help reduce dryness and flakiness. It can also improve symptoms of acne, rosacea, and eczema. This also applies to eye health as flax can reduce dry eye syndrome.
Flax seed oil is another great option since it has an even higher concentration of healthy fats. You can take 1-2 tbsp internally to hydrate skin and hair. It can also be mixed with essential oils and used as a natural skin moisturizer.
Flax seeds Health Benefits #6: Prevents Cardiovascular Diseases:
The amino and omega 3 fatty acids in flaxseeds can significantly lower high blood pressure. A diet rich in flaxseeds can prevent hardening of the arteries. It also prevents the deposition of plaque in the arteries by keeping white blood cells from sticking to the blood vessels’ inner linings. Lignans in flaxseed reduce the atherosclerotic plaque buildup by 75%. It is also useful in treating irregular heartbeat. The alpha linolenic acid in flaxseeds protects the blood vessels from inflammatory damage.
Flax seeds Health Benefits #7: Weight Loss
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that flaxseeds and walnuts may improve obesity and support weight loss. Since flax is full of healthy fats and fiber, it will help you feel satisfied longer so you will eat fewer calories overall which may lead to weight loss. ALA fats may also help reduce inflammation.
This is important for weight loss in that an inflamed body will tend to hold on to excess weight. Add a couple of teaspoons of ground flaxseed to soups, salads, or smoothies as part of your weight loss plan.
Flax seeds Health Benefits #8: Reduces High Cholesterol:
Research has suggested that eating flaxseeds daily can reduce the cholesterol level significantly. It contains omega 3 fatty acids, fiber and lignan, which work together to reduce cholesterol. The low-density lipoprotein in the blood stream is often linked with heart diseases, obesity and metabolic syndrome.
Flax seeds Health Benefits #9: Flaxseeds are Gluten-Free
Using flax is a great way to naturally replace gluten-containing grains which are inflammatory where flax is anti-inflammatory. So, flax seeds are great for those who have Celiac disease or have a gluten-sensitivity. They may also be a good alternative to omega-3 fats in fish for people with a seafood allergy. Another great aspect of flax being gluten-free is that it can be used as a grain-free option in cooking. I will often use it along with coconut flour in baking at home.
Flax seeds Health Benefits #10: Controls Diabetes:
Several researchers have concluded that daily intake of lignan-rich foods stabilizes blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity. According to research, people who consumed flaxseeds for 12 weeks noticed a significant drop in their insulin resistance. This is due to the drop in oxidant stress caused by its high antioxidant levels.
Flax seeds Health Benefits #11: Digestive Health
Maybe the biggest flax seed benefits come from it’s ability to promote digestive health. The ALA in flax can help protect the lining of the digestive tract and maintain GI health. It has been shown to be beneficial for people suffering from Crohn’s disease or other digestive ailments, as it can help reduce gut inflammation.
You can also take 1-3 tbsp of flax seed oil with 8 oz of carrot juice to help naturally relieve constipation. Flax is also very high in soluble and insoluble fiber which can also improve digestive health and is one of the highest magnesium foods in the world.
2 tablespoons of flaxseeds contains about 5 g of fiber. The fiber found in flaxseeds provides food for friendly bacteria in your colon that can help cleanse waste from your system.
Flax seeds Health Benefits #12: Fights Inflammation:
Inflammation is mostly caused due to the deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acid is a key nutrient for fighting inflammation in the body. ALA and lignans found in flaxseeds may reduce inflammation by blocking the release of certain pro-inflammatory agents. Consumption of flaxseeds increases the production of two other omega 3 fatty acids, namely eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), which provide further inflammatory protection.
Flax seeds Health Benefits #13: High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
We hear a lot about the health benefits of fish oil or omega-3 fats. Fish oil contains EPA and DHA, two omega-3 fats that are critical for optimal health. Although flaxseeds do not contain EPA or DHA, they do contain ALA, another type of omega-3 fat.
A study published in Nutrition Reviews has shown that approximately 20% of ALA can be converted into EPA, but only .5% of ALA is converted into DHA. Also, surprisingly gender may play a big role in conversion where young women had a 2.5 fold greater rate than men.
Flax seeds Health Benefits #14: Reduces Hot Flashes:
A study published in 2007 found that consuming 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds in women could reduce their hot flashes by half. Flaxseed is a potential aid in managing perimenopausal and post- menopausal symptoms.
Flex seeds Health Benefits #15: Menopausal Symptoms
The lignans in the flax have been shown to have benefits for menopausal women. It can be used as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy because lignans do have estrogenic properties.
These properties may also help reduce the risk of osteoporosis. It can even help menstruating women by helping maintain cycle regularity. To experience the flax seed benefits for your hormones include 1-2 tbsp of flax meal in a breakfast smoothie along with 1 tbsp of flax seed oil.
Flax seeds Health Benefits #16: Moisture
Dry skin can lead to several skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and other signs of ageing. The essential fatty acids in flaxseed keep the skin hydrated and moisturized. Regular intake of flaxseeds increases the body’s natural oil production, keeping the skin baby soft. A daily massage with flaxseed oil prevents irritants from entering the pores. It also locks moisture into the skin, keeping dryness at bay.
Flax seeds Health Benefits #16: Controls Acne:
Flaxseeds control the production of sebum, an oily substance produced by the skin glands, preventing the onset of acne. Eat 1 to 2 tablespoons of milled flaxseed daily to achieve healthy and younger-looking skin.
Flax seeds Health Benefits #17: Prevents Hair Breakage:
The high amounts of omega 3 fatty acids in flaxseeds increase the hair’s elasticity, making it less prone to breakage. It endows you with stronger hair.
Flax seeds Health Benefits #18: Scrub
You can also prepare a scrub from ground flaxseeds to exfoliate the skin. Mix flaxseed powder with yogurt, honey and mix well. Scrub your skin gently with it for 10 minutes and wash off. The scrub removes dead skin cells and rejuvenates it, leaving it silky smooth.
Flax seeds Health Benefits #19: Reduces Dandruff:
The anti-inflammatory properties of flaxseeds reduce the possibility of dandruff, eczema and other scalp conditions. The seeds stimulate the production of sebum in the scalp, preventing flaking and dandruff.
Flax seeds Health Benefits #20: Prevents Male Baldness:
The alpha linolenic acid in flaxseeds inhibits 5 alpha reductase, an enzyme that converts testosterone into Dihydrotestosterone. DHT shrinks the hair follicles, leading to baldness. The ALA, linolenic acid and oleic acid in flaxseeds are used as natural remedies to treat male baldness. It also prevents hair loss due to Telogen effluvium.
Flax seeds Health Benefits #21: Depression
The Omega-3 and Alpha-Linolenic acid present in flax seeds help in fighting with depression. It is the new wonder food which can reduce stress and has the ability to reduce mood swings. It soothes down our temper and is more healthier than those feel-good foods like cakes and chocolates.
Flax seeds Health Benefits #22: Delays Bone Loss
Flax seeds are known to delay bone loss among diabetic patients.Omega-3 present in flax seeds helps in building bones. A research was made upon humans after a successful research was conducted over rats. The Human research proved that flax seeds improved bone health remarkably.
Flax seeds Health Benefits #23: Improves Functioning of Liver
Omega-3 and Lignans present in these seeds helps in fighting with liver diseases. It helps in the smooth functioning of liver and thus aiding in its health. Various studies have proved that regular consumption of flax seeds promotes liver health.
Flax seeds Health Benefits #24: Beautiful Hair
Flax seed is perfectly suitable for fish oil. Omega-3 present in flax seeds works wonders for the hair. Flax seeds nutures the hair follicles and increases the elasticity of hair fibers. As a result, we get shinier, thicker and stronger locks.
Nutritional facts of Flax Seeds: The following are the nutritional facts of flax seeds
- Total Fat 42%.
- Saturated fat 3.7 grams.
- Polyunsaturated fat 29 grams.
- Monounsaturated fat 8 grams.
- Cholesterol 0 mg.
- Sodium 30 mg.
- Potassium 813 mg.
- Total Carbohydrate 29grams.
- Dietary fiber 27 grams.
- Sugar 1.6 grams.
- Protein 18grams.
- Vitamin A 0%.
- Vitamin C 1%.
- Calcium 25%.
- Iron 31%.
- Vitamin D 0%.
- Vitamin B-6 25%.
- Vitamin B-6 25%.
- Magnesium 98%.
Flax seed Uses:
- Flaxseeds are often used as an egg substitute in baked goods. The soluble fiber in this seed adds structure to the cake and muffins.
- Sprinkle ground flaxseeds over oats, cereals, yogurt and smoothies.
- You can cook flaxseeds in casseroles, meatball and curries. Use 4 to 8 tablespoons of flaxseeds in a dish serving 6 to 8 people.
- It also goes well with dosa, chapatti dough, buttermilk, chutney and upma.
- The seeds from the flax plant can also be pressed to make vegetable oil, commonly known as linseed oil.
- Add a teaspoon of ground flaxseed to your cheese spread or mayonnaise when making a sandwich.
Flax seed Oil Side Effects:
- Flaxseeds are extremely high in calories and can have a laxative effect if consumed in large quantities. People with irritable bowel syndrome can have a strong reaction to it.
- People suffering from a seizure disorder should avoid flaxseed supplements as it can aggravate the condition.
- People taking blood thinning, blood sugar, topical steroids, anti-inflammatory and cholesterol lowering medications should avoid eating flaxseeds.
- Flaxseeds contain small amounts of cyanide compounds, which can have neurotoxic effects in the body. They should not be consumed in large quantities. Heating the flax seeds can help break these compounds. Our body can also neutralize a certain amounts of these compounds.
- Pregnant and lactating mothers should not supplement their diet with ground flaxseed. It has estrogen-like properties that can affect the pregnancy outcome. It may also cause birth defects and spontaneous abortion in pregnant women.
- Drink plenty of water while consuming flaxseed, so that it does not swell up or obstruct the throat or digestive tract.
- Other side effects of flaxseeds include itching, rashes and shortness of breath.