As scientific research expands its area of interest, many food items are coming into the limelight. Flaxseeds are one such item. Considered a ‘superfood,’ they have been prized for their amazing health benefits for centuries. So much so that their scientific name, Linum Usitatissimum, means ‘the most useful Linum.’
Flaxseed Nutritional Facts:
Flaxseeds contain a good amount of protein, dietary fibre, B vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Flaxseeds also contain high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids ( mostly ALA- Alpha-Linolenic Acid).
Health Benefits of Flaxseed Are:
Good for our Digestive System:
Flaxseeds are rich in both soluble and insoluble dietary fibre. Insoluble fibre absorbs a lot of water and increases the bulk of faeces. This maintains regular bowel movements and prevents constipation. They are very useful for people suffering from Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Soluble fibre slows our digestion and reduces cholesterol and blood sugar levels. This reduces the chances of cardiovascular diseases and is helpful for people with Diabetes Mellitus.
Reduces Risk of Cardiovascular (Heart) Diseases:
Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA), the Omega-3 fatty acid present in high quantities in flaxseeds, prevents the deposition of cholesterol in the blood vessels of the heart. It is also effective in reducing inflammation in the arteries. Soluble fibre and proteins in Flaxseeds are also responsible for the reduction of cholesterol levels in our blood. Flaxseed consumption is also known to reduce blood pressure.
Reduces Risk of Cancer:
Plant compound, Lignans are present in Flaxseeds. As per research, Lignans were found to be effective in reducing the risk of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men. Flaxseeds also contain Omega-3 fatty acids and proteins in high amounts. These proteins and Omega-3 fatty acids were found to prevent the development of tumours, further reducing any risk of cancer.
Improves Blood Sugar Levels:
The soluble fibre in flaxseeds improves blood sugar levels by slowing down digestion. Thus, it helps in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Immune System Booster:
Proteins in flaxseeds contain amino acids like Arginine, Aspartic acid and Glutamic acid. These amino acids were found to protect our body from a variety of fungal Infections, thus improving our overall immunity.
Improves Satiety & Promotes Weight Loss:
The soluble fibre in flaxseeds slows our digestion. This makes us feel full for a long period of time. Satiety, thus improved, reduces hunger. It further reduces our food intake, in turn reducing the number of calories consumed by our body every day. This results in the reduction of weight.
Reduces Risk of Stroke:
Reduction in blood pressure due to consumption of flaxseeds reduces the risk of stroke.
Eases Hot Flashes:
Hot flashes and night sweats are common symptoms observed in women, going through menopause.
Lignans, the plant compounds present in flaxseeds have a weak oestrogen effect. As per research, this oestrogen effect of Lignans was found to ease hot flashes in post-menopausal women.
How to consume flaxseeds?
Whole Flaxseeds can be added to salads, baked goods, pancakes, crackers, smoothies etc.
The best way to consume flaxseeds is to grind them, which makes them easier to digest. Ground flaxseeds can be easily added to paranthas, pooris, chutneys, cookies, muffins, bread etc
Flaxseeds can also be consumed in the form of Flaxseed oil, powder, tablet, capsule or flour.
The daily dose of flaxseeds:
1 tablespoon (tbsp) Whole Flaxseeds/Flaxseed Powder.
1 to 2 tablespoon (tbsp) Flaxseed Oil.
1200 to 3000 mg Flaxseeds in the form of Capsules.
Storage of flaxseeds:
Ground flaxseeds are best stored by keeping them in airtight containers and refrigerating them.
Side Effects of Flaxseeds:
Higher doses of flaxseeds may cause side effects like diarrhoea, nausea, stomach pain, flatulence, bloating etc.
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