11 Amazing Flaxseed Benefits, Flaxseed Nutrition, Recipes & Tips
Are you facing any problem related to digestion? or Constipation? If yes, I have a wonderful natural home remedy for you. It’s Flaxseed! Many times when we are traveling or having a busy schedule, we forget to take a wholesome diet. If this continues to happen for a long period of time it causes several nutritional deficiencies in our body and degrades our health. There are tonnes and tonnes of things that we can do to keep up with the nutritional requirements of our body, one of them is regular consumption of flax seeds. Today I am going to tell you about 11 amazing flax seeds benefits you don’t know.
Amazing Flaxseed Benefits
About Flaxseed :
Flax seeds or linseed is fibre crop cultivated in cooler regions of the world. The oil extracted from its seed is called as linseed oil which is edible. Flaxseeds are found in two different varieties: Brown and yellow or golden varieties. Most types of flax seeds have similar nutritional characteristics and equal numbers of short-chain omega-3 fatty acids. The exception is a type of yellow flax seed called Solin, which has a completely different oil profile than other types and is very low in omega-3 fatty acids. In northern parts of India, flaxseeds are traditionally roasted, powdered, and eaten with boiled rice, a little water, and a little salt. Whole flax seeds are chemically stable, but ground flaxseed may go rancid when left exposed to air at room temperature because of oxidation.
Nutritional Benefits :
In a 100 gram serving, flaxseed contains high levels of protein, dietary fibre, several B vitamins, and minerals. It contains water-soluble and insoluble fibre. It contains Omega 3 fatty acids and many micronutrients which are essential for various body functions (1).
How to Eat Flaxseed?
You can buy and store flaxseeds and grind whenever you need. You can consume it along with your meals by adding salt to it. It can also be consumed post lunch every day. This will aid digestion and can cure chronic constipation. Remember to store the powdered flax seeds in an airtight container in a cool and dry place to avoid oxidation. One or two tablespoons of flaxseed powder every day will provide you almost all necessary nutrients.
This powder can be added to yogurt, oatmeal, cereal, casseroles, smoothies and baked goods.
There are many tasty and healthy recipes in which flax seeds can be included.
Benefits of Flaxseeds:
1. Improved Digestion:
Flaxseeds are rich in insoluble fibre and fats which makes it extremely precious for our digestive system. It is also a proven food to reduce gut inflammation. It provides food for gut-friendly bacterias in your colon that can help cleanse waste material from your body or system. Avocado is also a fiber-rich food and aids digestion like flaxseed.
2. For Clear Skin:
The ALA fatty acids in flaxseeds are essential for our skin and hair. It improves skin tone and texture. It is also helpful in reducing Acne, Scars and many other skin diseases. Since it aids digestion and good digestion means clearer skin. It helps reduction of stretch marks etc.
3. Lowers Cholesterol Level:
The soluble fibre in flaxseeds helps in lowering fat and cholesterol and prevents its absorption. It also traps bile which is made in the gallbladder which is excreted through digestive tract which further helps in reduction in cholesterol levels. It is one of the best flax seeds benefits.
4. Reduce Sugar Cravings:
As we have seen earlier that Flaxseeds have high nutritional value. Its fibre, protein and fats make us feel full for a long period of time. This promotes a slow rise in blood sugar level and in this way it reduces the sugar cravings. It is excellent for diabetic patients and should be taken regularly. Flaxseed is also a fiber-rich food and high in nutrition.
5. Balances Hormones:
As Flaxseeds contains almost all essential nutrients, it fulfils the nutritional requirements of our body. This promotes proper absorption of all necessary nutrients and balances our hormones, one of the best flax seeds benefits for women.
6. Fights Cancer:
Lignans present in flaxseeds are very helpful in fighting cancer and cancer-causing cells. The three lignans can be converted by our intestinal bacteria into enterolactone and enterodiol which naturally balance hormones.
7.Promotes Weight Loss:
Flaxseeds are low in calories and high in nutrition which makes it extremely priceless for your healthy weight loss. It promotes a slow rise in blood sugar level and has high fibre content which keeps us full for a long period of time and prevents overeating. Weight loss is one of the amazing flax seeds benefits.
8. High in Anti-oxidants:
Lignans present in flaxseeds are full of anti-oxidant properties. It reduces the free radical effect, prevents ageing of cells and gives you wrinkle free skin. It has a similar effect as green tea on reducing the ageing effect.
9. High in Omega 3 Fatty Acids:
The main two sources of omega 3 fatty acids are Fish and Flax seeds. The three main omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid(DHA). Our body cannot make ALA on its own, thus we need to take it from various plants and animal sources. The body can convert some ALA into EPA first and then into DHA, but only in very small amounts. Therefore, getting EPA and DHA from foods is the only practical way to increase levels of these omega-3 fatty acids in our body. DHA levels are especially high in the retina (eye), brain, and sperm cells.
10. Helps in Menopausal Symptoms:
Flaxseeds have estrogenic properties which help women during menopause. It helps in reducing mood swings and chances of osteoporosis in old age (2).
11. Flaxseeds Are Versatile:
Flaxseeds almost contain all necessary nutrients which make it a versatile food. It is easily available and easy to carry anywhere.
Here is an informative video from Viance Nutrition on Why you should eat flaxseed daily, check it out
FLAX SEEDS VS CHIA SEEDS
Flaxseed known by its other name linseed belongs to genus Linum and family Linaceae. It is a crop which is consumed as food and is fibrous in nature. It is predominantly harvested in the temperate region where the temperature is low for almost the entire year. They are extensively used in the production of textiles which is known as linen in Western countries. Flaxseed form the base of bedsheets, bed covers, underliners, tablecloth etc. The oil extracted from flaxseed is called linseed oil.
Chia seed belongs to genus Salvia Hispanica and family Lamiaceae. It is obtained from the flowering plant chia in the mint family. The flower is cultivated all over the world primarily because of its edible seed and extractable oil. The seeds are used both for consumption and medicinal purpose. The seeds resemble the structure that of tiny ovals with a diameter of approximately 1mm. They have an abundance variety in color ranging from brown, grey, black to white and many others.
Is Chia Seed More Nutritious
Both of them are mildly flavored in nature which when blended in meals and snacks serve as a superfood. Both offer health benefits but they slightly differ in the type of nutrients that they possess. Flaxseeds and chia seeds are sources of good fat which produces energy in order to boost our metabolism. While flaxseed provides 151 calories, Chia seed comes with 138 calories for a person following a 2000 calorie diet. Another nutrition which is common among them is the omega 3 fatty acid. This nutrient helps in maintaining healthy skin and hair, improve your cardiovascular health and enhance your function of the brain.
Chia seeds and Flaxseeds provide this fatty acid in the form of alpha-linolenic acid or ALA. Here flax seed takes the upper hand as it is a richer source of this acid providing 6.5g per ounce compared to chia seed which settles for 5g per ounce. Both contain soluble and insoluble fibers. The function is to increase your appetite after a meal and lower the blood sugar post eating and constipation. Each ounce of flax gives 8g of fiber while that of chia is 12g. Both are a moderate source of essential vitamins such as vitamin B complex & vitamin E and minerals like magnesium, potassium, and magnesium. Though chia has a greater content of minerals, flax is a source of choline, a mineral that stimulates the working of the brain which is not found in chia
Therefore, overall flax seeds are considered more nutritious and have got healthier benefits as compared to chia seeds
HISTORY OF FLAX SEEDS
The ancient history has evidence of human cultivating flax seed. It has been used as a textile since the last 30,000 years. The Fertile Crescent is the spot where first flax domestication took place. With each passing day, the crop became more widespread and accessible in use and reached as far as Germany and Switzerland in just in its 5,000 years. Asian countries like India and China also joined their hands in this perspective of flax harvesting. Among African countries, Egypt used to be a major consumer of flax with its temples painted with portraits of flowering wax and mummies embedded and wrapped in linen.
FLAX SEEDS RECIPES:
Flax seeds are healthy when consumed without much polishing. When mixed with other ingredients, they can taste better. You can consume flax seeds in the way of a refreshing smoothie. To prepare such a refreshing smoothie, here are the ingredients you require for proper making:
Soya milk: 250ml
Chilled and chopped strawberries: 250g
Honey: 2 tsp.
Roughly chopped nuts, mint leaf and a banana slice for garnish
Once you’ve all the ingredients, you must follow the steps below to get a flavored smoothie that benefits your health in numerous ways and does not taste bad:
- Pour all of the above-mentioned ingredients except garnish in a food processor and blend to a smooth and thick juicy like substance.
- Pour in glasses as per your choice.
- Garnish with roughly chopped nuts, mint leaf and a banana slice for additional flavors and taste.
- Serve chilled and enjoy the refreshing and rejuvenating power of flax seeds.
Besides, Smoothie, you can also make FLAXSEED RAITA as a wholesome side-meal that can be enjoyed by you and your family. The ingredients you require to make the Raita are mentioned below:
Gourd: 250g, grated to a thick consistency
Curd: 250g, smoothly beaten (preferably low fat)
Pudina chutney: 120g
Jeera seeds: 1/4 tsp. (roasted)
Coarse salt: 1/4 tsp.
Flaxseed: 20g, roughly grounded and roasted
Once you’ve collected the ingredients, please follow the procedure below.
- Mix gourd and water in a pan. Cover and cook for around 5 minutes on low flame
- Blend all the ingredients in the gourd-water mixture and combine well
- Refrigerate a few hours
- Serve chilled as an accompaniment
Another recipe that you can consume for a long time, besides storing it, without issues is FLAX SEEDS PODI POWDER. Listed below are the ingredients you need to make this powder and the method you need to follow to make this preparation, in the healthiest way possible.
Red chilies:8 in number(fried)
Cumin seed: ½ tsp.(roasted)
Garlic cloves:4 in number(roasted)
Salt: As necessary
Oil: For frying
- Process all of the above ingredients to a fine powder with the help of a mixer grinder. It is a simple task and by far, the simplest way to consume flaxseeds.
- Store in an airtight container preferably of glass for use. You can consume it with milk, water and never be bored of its taste.
- This powder would remain usable for about a month. Enjoy it every day or whenever you prefer! This is healthy, tasty and stays long.
When seeds are planted, they are treated in a way to produce small green or white sprout known as sprouting. Various studies reveal that the nutritional value of the plant doubles after sprouting . It is more difficult to sprout flax seeds as compared to other seeds because of their secretion of a viscous fluid known as mucilage. A jelly-like substance starts to develop where water is poured over the seed and it just starts to absorb the water. Being slippery in nature, other methods have to be adopted in order to sprout the seed. So in order to sprout the seed some thorough moisture retained medium is essential such as paper towel. The seed then needs to be spread evenly on that wet surface.
Benefits of Sprouted Flaxseeds
- Source of vitamins A, B complex, C, E, all and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron all of which possess antioxidant properties
- Contain Omega 3 fatty acid in the form of alpha-linolenic acid
- Has essential amino acids which help in the repair of damaged tissues and cells
- Being low in calories, they prevent obesity
- Involves the formation of collagen in the body
- Synthesises DNA and RNA structure
- Has anti-inflammatory properties which promote hormonal balance in the body
Side Effects of Flaxseeds
Flax seeds are rich in a number of nutrients as we have studied earlier. But the excess of such nutrients can prove to be fatal. So here are the few side effects that flax seeds seem to possess. They are:-
- Possible chances of increase in gastrointestinal (GI) level which leads to stomach disorder like gas, abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating and constipation
- Excessive increase in fiber level in the body (main nutrient of flax seeds) causes a decrease of vitamins and minerals in the body
- Increasing formation of laxative acid in the body through flax seeds can block the intestine
- Partially defatted flaxseed increases triglyceride level. It is a fat that blocks the mechanism process of heart
- Raw or unripe flax seeds are found to be poisonous
- It causes bleeding disorder and seems to slow down the process of clotting
- For a diabetic patient, it can lower the blood sugar level
- Excessive presence of fiber on the diet narrows the esophagus (the tube that carries from the mouth through the throat to the stomach)
- Unnecessary high level of flaxseed in the diet opposes the growth of estrogen (female sex hormone)
How to Buy Flaxseeds?
Flaxseed comes in various forms. The best and the most nutritive one which is consumed by our body is the ground or milled flaxseed. Prepared flaxseed meal is available in the market. But due to its high content of fat, it undergoes rancidity easily. It is advisable to grind on your own using a food processor or a blender.
Always preserve the seeds in opaque sealable bags. Choose from the course or fine texture of the seed. The finer it is, the more easily it can be used as a flour substitute. Opt for whole seeds. Because of the strong exterior, they have a relatively long shelf life. Freshly grounded flax seeds possess a nutty aroma. Refrain from buying bitter smell ones. Try to go for flavors which is warm and earthy. Deciding upon the need of flaxseed in your diet is essential because of their extensive usage. It can be used as a topping on sandwiches, or as a thickening agent instead of flour in the dough, cake batter and waffle batter. The extractable linseed oil is a daily health supplement.
Price & Quality
Quantification in the amount is also necessary. If you buy too much at once, chances of getting spoilt or rotten prevail. Also, buying too less is actually a matter of inconvenience. So both are a waste of your most precious time and money. So be wise and rely on ideal choosing. Make a thorough research on which brand produces the best quality flax seeds
Type of the seed is also vital. They come in a variety of color with each having separate nutritional concentrations. So the purpose of consuming the seed must be very clear in your mind. Organic flax seeds are grown with the addition of hormones, medicines or pesticides.
Frequently Asked Questions on Flaxseeds
Q: Is Flaxseed Helpful in Weight Loss?
Ans: Being a rich source of fiber, flaxseed stimulates weight loss. The fiber content decreases the appetite and boosts up metabolism. Also possessing essential fatty acids such as omega 3 fatty acid in the form of alpha-linolenic acid it serves as a very important fat burner in the diet. It enhances peristalsis (movement of muscles in the intestine) for the easy bowel movement and makes fecal matter soft
Having a high content of water, flaxseed regulates the body temperature. It also lowers levels of triglyceride which is a bad fat. It also decreases bad cholesterol and blood sugar levels. All of these act together towards a healthy way of losing weight.
Q: What Should You Eat Flaxseeds With?
Ans: You can consume flaxseeds in a number of ways. You can add them as topping on bread, sandwiches etc. They also act as a thickening agent replacing flour in doughs and batter preparations. It is considered a healthier option as it free of gluten. It can be blended with or sprinkled over cereals like oatmeal.
They add delicious flavors to the end product when are made as smoothies, raitas, and chutneys. You can ensure good taste and nutrition value both by this way. The extractable linseed oil can be used as a salad dressing. They serve as a rich and stomach filling meal post workout
Q: Is Flaxseed Good For Your Hair?
Ans: Since flaxseeds provide a rich source of omega 3 fatty acid in the form of alpha-linolenic acid, it helps in the prevention of dried scalp and enriches your hair with proper nourishment. This results in minimization of breakage and also remedies hair problems like dandruff, roughness etc.
They strengthen the follicles and hair shafts which ensures the new and healthy growth of hair. This results in lesser chances of damage to the hair. It increases hair elasticity which makes smoother and shinier hair. They also stimulate the growth.
Q: Can You Eat Raw Flaxseeds?
Ans: Though it’s fine to consume flax seeds as raw as an individual item, the high-fat content in the raw seed actually makes it rancid. So it is advisable to ground and blend the seeds with cereals or bake them with cookies or consume it as a salad topping.
Health experts suggest grounded seeds over raw ones because once it is grounded it becomes more digestible and passes through the intestine with ease. If the movement is not smooth, health issues arise such as disorder in bowel movement, stomach ache, constipation etc. To avoid raw if you have past experiences indigestion problems
Q: Is Flaxseed Good For Your Skin?
Ans: Since flaxseed provides essential fatty acids in the form of omega 3 fatty acid they are considered very prospective for good skin. This fatty acid enhances the process of healing of cuts and wounds. Regular consumption of flax seeds decrease levels of skin diseases, rashes, and irritation
Having anti-inflammatory properties, which lowers your chances of skin inflammation. The extractable linseed soil acts as a nutritive moisturizer for roughened and damaged skin. The oil also decreases the visibility of wrinkles.