Flax seeds are enriched with some of the most essential and basic nutrients that our body requires. They are a particularly good source of omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fibre and boron. But are best known for their lignan content.
1 ounce (3 tbsp.) serving of flaxseeds contains:
- Omega-3 (ALA) 6,338mg
- Fiber 8g
- Protein 6g
- Vitamin B1 31% RDA
- Manganese 35% RDA
- Magnesium 30% RDA
- Phosphorus 19% RDA
- Selenium 10% RDA
- Also, flaxseeds contain a good amount of vitamin B6, Iron, potassium, copper and zinc.
This flax seed nutrition profile makes it easy to see why it’s one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet.
Benefits of Flax Seeds
Flaxseeds are rich in alpha linolenic acid which prevents inflammation and protects blood vessels from damage. Researchers showed that regular intake of these seeds lowers LDL (low density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol) and increase levels of HDL (high density lipoprotein or good cholesterol).
Recent studies have suggested that flaxseed may have a protective effect against breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer. At least two of the components in flaxseed seem to contribute, says Kelley C. Fitzpatrick, director of health and nutrition with the Flax Council of Canada.
In animal studies, the plant omega-3 fatty acid found in flaxseed, called ALA, inhibited tumor incidence and growth.
Benefits of flaxseed for the digestive tract—although mentioned earlier throughout this food profile—are worth repeating here. The strong fiber content of flaxseeds—including their mucilaginous fiber—help to delay gastric emptying and can improve intestinal absorption of nutrients. Flaxseed fibers also help to steady the passage of food through our intestines. Finally, the lignans in flaxseed have been shown to reduce risk of colon cancer. This impressive group of digestive tract benefits is likely to receive more attention in future research studies.
There are plenty of antidepressants that doctors may prescribe, but according to a Japanese study, simply adding flaxseed to your diet may also prove useful. Their study found that patients with significant depression levels also suffered from lower levels of docosahexaenoic and eicosapentanoic acids—the same acids that are found in various foods like fish, walnuts, and flax. Eat up, the theory goes, and it might help correct those imbalances.
According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 10 adults had diabetes in the year 2012.
In people with type 2 diabetes, studies show that supplementing 10–20 g/day of flaxseed powder for 1–2 months may reduce fasting blood sugar by up to 19.7%.
However, not all studies have found flaxseeds to be effective in regulating blood glucose and insulin levels. Although the link between flaxseeds and type 2 diabetes is still unclear, they may be considered a safe and healthy addition to the diet for individuals with type 2 diabetes
Ground flaxseeds or milled flaxseeds are more effective when it comes to weight loss. That’s because the whole flaxseeds contain a cover that makes it difficult for the digestive system of humans to absorb all the nutrients present in them. On the other hand, ground flaxseeds are more easily absorbed by humans. And the more easily they are absorbed, the more the chances of you getting all the essential fats, proteins, lignans, and dietary fiber present in them. You can buy whole flaxseeds from the supermarket and grind them into a powder or buy milled flaxseeds if available.
How to Use Flaxseeds
You can use flax seed in a lot of different ways here are some of them:
Baked Goods: The nutty flavor of flax makes it a great add-on for pastries. Simply add 1/2 cup ground flax seed to your favorite muffin, cookie, or bread recipe.
Oatmeal: Use flax seed as a crunchy topping for oatmeal, porridge, or cereal.
Toast: Add to French toast batter or sprinkle on regular toast.
Yogurt: Mix 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed into yogurt with fruits, nuts, and honey.
Smoothies: Add 1 tablespoon whole or ground flax to any smoothie recipe. Use it as a topping for smoothie bowls.
Salads: Sprinkle on salads for a nutty twist. You can also mix flax into salad dressings.