Flaxseeds make a great vegan egg substitute, but did you know they also pack an awesome nutritional punch? Here are the top 10 flaxseed benefits that show why you should add it to your diet today.
Flaxseed, also called linseed, refers to the seeds of a flax plant. This potent seed has been used as food for humans and animals for thousands of years, as well as in fabrics (linen), paints and varnishes.
It is only more recently that flaxseeds have been recognized for their favorable nutritional contribution, with the market for flax products expanding to include ground flax, flaxseed oil and foods containing flaxseed. added.
Due to its versatility, flaxseed can be used in a range of food products from bars and cereals to salad dressings and drinks.
Flax seeds come in two main varieties; golden and brown. In just one tablespoon, both varieties provide over 1g of protein, nearly 3g of fiber and 1.6g of omega 3 fatty acids.
Additionally, flax seeds provide an abundance of antioxidant compounds, including phenolic acids, phytoestrogens, and flavonoids.
We take a look at the top evidence-based benefits of including flaxseed in your diet and discover the top 10 flaxseed benefits you need to know about.
Top 6 benefits of flaxseeds
1. Plant source of omega-3s
When your diet doesn’t include fatty fish, it’s important to consider an alternative source of omega-3 fatty acids to support healthy body and brain function.
Luckily, these humble little seeds are a wonderful plant source of omega 3 in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which our bodies can convert into the long-chain fatty acids we would get from fish.
All you need is 1 tablespoon a day to meet your ALA needs.
2. Source of soluble fiber
Flaxseed is a rich source of fiber; just 1 tablespoon provides 3g of fiber, which equals 10% of our recommended daily intake.
About 20% of this fiber is soluble, which absorbs water and acts like a gel in your gut.
This not only bulks up your stool, making it softer and easier to pass, but also feeds our healthy gut bacteria, producing anti-inflammatory substances like butyrate which works to support blood sugar, regulate hunger hormones and reduce our risk of bowel disease. .
3. May Improve Cholesterol Levels
Research suggests that the soluble fiber content of flaxseeds also benefits our cholesterol levels. Flaxseeds can lower bad low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, known as LDL-C, in our blood, especially in those with high levels.
Soluble fiber does this by binding to cholesterol in the gut, preventing it from being reabsorbed1.
4. May Lower Blood Pressure
Flaxseeds have been found to help reduce blood pressure, another risk factor for heart disease2.
This is believed to be due to the fiber content as well as the anti-inflammatory effects of flax seeds.
This may be due to downregulation of oxylipin, a hormone that promotes inflammation and constriction of blood vessels 3.
5. Provides dietary lignans
Lignans are a type of polyphenol called phytoestrogen. Flaxseed is one of the most concentrated sources of lignans.
Laboratory research has shown that lignans possess antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Dietary intake of lignan-rich foods, such as flaxseed, may reduce the risk of certain types of cancers, including postmenopausal breast cancer and bowel cancer.
Some evidence also suggests that lignan consumption is associated with a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease.4.5.
6. May Support Weight Management
Some research suggests that including whole flaxseed in the diet over the long term may help reduce body weight, especially in overweight or obese people.6.
The effect is likely due to the action of soluble fiber, leading to an increased feeling of fullness and supporting a healthy gut microbiome.
Do you like to discover the power of plants? Find more food facts here:
How many flaxseeds should you eat each day?
When it comes to eating flax seeds, 1-2 tablespoons a day is enough to get the benefits. But if you don’t currently use flaxseed in your diet, approach with caution.
Having too much too soon can cause abdominal symptoms due to the sudden increase in fiber.
Start with 1 teaspoon a day and slowly increase as tolerated, and your gut will adapt over time.
How to use flax seeds
Opting for ground or whole ground flax seeds will improve the absorption of all the nutrients these seeds have to offer.
This is because our digestive system is unable to break down the tough outer shell.
You can buy ground flaxseeds, or you can grind them yourself, but once ground, store your flaxseeds in the refrigerator to preserve their nutritional value.
With their mild flavor and small bulk, adding flax seeds to your diet is really easy. You can add a tablespoon to your breakfast smoothie, porridge, oatmeal, or soy yogurt, sprinkle it on your lunch salad, or even stir it into your soup or stew at dinner. .