Flaxseeds are one of the most versatile seeds we have. Today, you see them in oatmeal bowls, acai bowls, smoothies, and other foods, but before that, they were mostly used to create textiles.
Now that more and more people are becoming more health conscious and food conscious, flax seeds have grown in popularity. This is no surprise as they offer many health benefits. When it comes to flaxseed benefits, weight loss is one of the biggest and we will discuss it in detail.
In this article, we will learn what flaxseeds are, where they come from, the many benefits they offer, how they help with weight loss, if they have any side effects, and the different ways to consume them.
What are flaxseeds?
Flax seed comes from the flax plant, which is grown in countries across Asia, Europe and the Mediterranean. These seeds are usually golden yellow to reddish brown in color and contain phytoestrogens, which are very similar to estrogen. Flaxseeds also contain oil and soluble fiber.
Today, the flax plant is grown primarily for its seeds, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Thanks to this, flaxseed has become extremely popular in the healthy eating scene in recent years, with experts even naming it as a superfood that should be included in our daily diet.
Of course, the benefits of flaxseed are numerous, and regular consumption can improve our physical and mental health. In fact, these seeds have become so popular that they have even been added to pet foods.
Considering all this, it is not for nothing that the flax plant itself is called Linum usitatissimum, which means “the most useful” in Latin. Flax seeds are also known as alasi, aliviraaii, common flax, brown seed flax, and more.
Top 7 Proven Health Benefits of Flax Seeds
As just mentioned, the benefits of flaxseed are numerous. These are considered superfoods, which means they have many healthy properties, making them essential in our daily diet. Below, we discuss these benefits in detail.
1. Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids your body needs to function optimally, and flaxseeds are great sources of them. These seeds are rich in alpha-linolenic acid or ALA, which is a type of omega-3 fatty acid that is mostly plant-based.
ALA is not naturally produced by your body, so you need to get it from outside sources, like the food you consume. Studies have found that consumption of ALA is associated with a lower risk of heart attacks and strokes.
2. Flaxseeds have a lot of nutrient content
Flax plants are one of the oldest cultivated crops and are of two different types – brown and golden. However, both are equally nutritious.
Even just one tablespoon of ground flax seeds contains about 37 calories, 1.3 grams of protein, 2 grams of carbs, 1.9 grams of fiber, 3 grams of total fat, 0.3 grams of saturated fat, 8% RDI for Vitamin B1, 2% RDI for Vitamin B6, 2% RDI for folate, 2% RDI for iron, 2% RDI for calcium, 7% RDI for magnesium and many other nutrients.
3. Flaxseeds may help lower cancer risk
Flaxseeds are very rich in lignans, which are plant compounds that have estrogenic and antioxidant properties.
Both are known to reduce the risk of developing different types of cancer and are also extremely helpful in improving overall health. The lignan content in flaxseeds is up to 8,000 times higher compared to other plant foods.
Studies have shown that daily consumption of flaxseed may result in a lower risk of developing breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, and skin cancer. For the latter two, more research is needed.
4. Flaxseeds can lower blood pressure
Among the many benefits of flaxseeds, one is that they can help in lowering blood pressure.
One study found that those who ate 30 grams of flaxseed every day for a period of six months experienced a decrease in systolic blood pressure by 10 mmHg, while diastolic blood pressure decreased by 7 mmHg. For subjects who were already on blood pressure medication, the decrease in blood pressure was even smaller.
5. Flaxseeds are rich in high quality protein
Flaxseeds contain a lot of high quality plant proteins that are rich in glutamic acid, aspartic acid and amino acids.
Several studies have shown that flaxseed protein can improve and strengthen the immune system, prevent tumor development, lower cholesterol levels, and also have antifungal properties.
6. Flaxseeds can lower cholesterol levels
Flaxseed benefits include its ability to improve cholesterol. A study in people with high cholesterol found that those who consumed flaxseed powder every day for a period of three months had lower cholesterol levels by up to 17%, while “bad” LDL cholesterol was reduced by nearly 20%.
Another study found that people with diabetes experienced a 12% increase in “good” HDL cholesterol when they took a tablespoon of flaxseed powder every day for a month. This implies that flaxseeds are also great for people with type 2 diabetes.
7. Flaxseeds can help with weight loss and control
The benefits of flaxseeds for weight loss is another benefit of including these super seeds as part of your daily diet. If you want to lose weight, flaxseeds can be your snack as they can help you keep hunger at bay.
How to eat flax seeds for health benefits
There are many ways to eat flaxseeds. They can be eaten whole or ground. They can also be taken in the form of flaxseed oil. You can try these if you want to incorporate flax seeds into your daily diet:
- Drizzle ground or whole flaxseeds, or as oil in your salad dressing
- Add flaxseed to yogurt
- Drizzle ground flaxseeds over breakfast cereal or oatmeal bowl
- Add flaxseeds to smoothies. This also thickens the smoothie’s consistency.
- Use flaxseeds in your baked goods like cookies, bread and muffins
- Add flaxseeds to your meat dishes like chicken, beef and fish
- Just add flaxseeds to drinking water
These are just a few popular ways to consume flaxseeds. You can also try out different options on your own.
Flaxseeds for weight loss
As we mentioned earlier, flaxseeds play an important role in your diet if you want to lose weight and/or control your weight. This is mainly due to its high fiber content. Fiber helps you feel full, which in turn results in lower calorie intake on a daily basis.
In other words, flaxseeds help to suppress your appetite, giving you a feeling of satiety quickly and easily. You don’t need to consume a lot of food to satisfy your hunger. If you often snack between meals and want to cut down on food consumption, flaxseeds are great for controlling your appetite. If you are wondering how to eat flaxseeds to lose weight, you can incorporate them into your meals, especially breakfast.
One study found that feelings of hunger, as well as general appetite, can be reduced simply by adding 2.5 grams of ground flaxseeds to drinks. This is because flaxseeds are very rich in soluble fiber, which slows down digestion in the stomach, triggering various hormones that control appetite. This then makes you feel like you are full.
Furthermore, after reviewing a total of 45 different studies in 2017, researchers concluded that incorporating whole flaxseeds into your diet can lead to a reduction in waist circumference, body weight, and body mass index (BMI).
side effects of fax seeds
While the benefits of flaxseed are many, they may not be for everyone. For example, people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) should stay away from flaxseeds.
This is because they can act as laxatives and irritate the walls of the colon, which can result in inflammation and, in some severe cases, even bleeding.
It is also suggested that those suffering from hormonal imbalance or endometriosis do not consume flaxseed as it can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body.
Flaxseeds are super seeds that have a lot of benefits for your overall health and can also significantly help with weight loss. They provide many nutrients to the body, thus strengthening the immune system and preventing the development of various diseases. The best part is that they can be eaten in a variety of ways, whole or ground.
However, it is important to keep in mind that these are not miracle workers. You must ensure a healthy diet and also exercise regularly if you want to lose weight effectively.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Q. What are the benefits of flaxseeds?
A: The lignans and omega 3 fatty acids present in flaxseeds help to reduce blood pressure and prevent overeating. In addition, it is also good for the skin and has anti-cancer properties.
Q. Can we eat raw flaxseeds?
A: Yes, we can. However, they must be chewed carefully before swallowing.
Q. Are flaxseeds good for weight loss?
A: Flaxseeds can be an added benefit in the weight loss process due to the presence of fiber, healthy fat and their satiety property.
Q. Do flaxseeds help you lose belly fat?
A: No, flaxseeds cannot help reduce fat in any specific area of the body. That said, one should not aim for one-off reduction either, as it can be extremely harmful.
Q. Are raw flaxseeds poisonous?
A: Raw flaxseeds are not poisonous. If one is intolerant of raw flax seeds, they can be roasted at a low temperature, pulverized and eaten. Those who have IBS and other gastrointestinal issues should consult a doctor or nutritionist before consuming raw flaxseeds.