Author: Margaret Dew
August 9th, 2018 • 5 min read
Last Updated: August 12th, 2018
Inspiration of the article:
Flax seeds have long been praised for their health benefits, and now they have been trending recently as a superfood for weight loss tips due to their abilities to prevent weight gaining habits, like overeating. They're also emerging as an important food ingredient that plays a functional role due to its rich contents of a-linolenic acid (ALA, omeg-3 fatty acid), fiber, and lignans (1).
Some people have actually gone as far as calling them one of the healthiest, powerful edible plant foods on the planet! Well, its an understandable point of view considering the amazing health benefits that come from them, as we will see shortly.
And because the health benefits of flaxseeds are so healthful to us, they've been incorporated into milk, juices, baked foods, dairy products, muffins, pasta products, meat and even macaroni products as flax or flaxseed oil (2).
So, if you don't know much about what flaxseeds has to offer, read on!
Here are 9 best health benefits of flaxeeds:
Flaxseeds are rich sources of lignan and contain approximately 75-800 times more lignans than other plant foods (3).
Lignans are special plant compounds that have estrogen and antioxidant properties, both of which are able to help reduce the chances of developing cancer and improve overall health (4). In other words they are a type of phytonutrient that have potential for preventing many varieties of health conditions!
Oh flaxseeds, why couldn't we have met sooner?
Related: 10 Top Health Benefits of Grapefruit
Here is a visual representation of how a lignan would look like, in structure.
According to the American Dietetic Association, 1 tablespoon of flaxseeds is equivalent to 3g of fiber, which is 8-12% of the daily recommended intake of fiber for both men and women (5). T
They sure make a great companion when we are lacking in our daily recommended intake of nutrients, don't they?
The fiber content comes in 2 forms:
Soluble fiber makes up 20-40% of overall fiber in flaxseeds
Insoluble fiber makes up the other 60-80% of overall fiber
Overall, the fiber in flaxseeds gets fermented which lead to better bowel movements in the body and prevent constipation.
Studies in recent years suggest that flaxseeds may have a protective effect in several types of cancer, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer. Kelley C. Fitzpatrick, director of health and nutrition with the Flax Council of Canada states at least two of the components in flaxseeds contribute to this effect.
Flaxseeds have the amazing ability to lower cholesterol levels.
For example, in one study, 50 individuals between the ages 40 and 60 whom were regular visitors of clinics and hospitals having high cholesterol (dyslipidemia) were recruited as subjects. They were equally divided into 2 groups: the control group and experimental group.
The experimental group were given 3 tablespoons (30g) of flaxspeed powder to consume daily for a whopping 3 months, and results showed their LDL cholesterol lowered by almost 20%, and overall cholesterol lowered by 17%.
Researchers in the past have shown that fiber is able to help reduce cholesterol, which is most likely the primary contributer to this beautiful news.
Flaxseeds are a great choice for those wanting to improve their cholesterol. Go for it!
Since flaxseeds are rich in fiber (which are highly sticky when mixed with water), they have a major role in suppressing your hunger signals, helping with weight loss.
Foods with high fiber content have been shown to make you feel full longer periods in time, as well as keeping their body away from mindless eating because of its appetite suppressant effects.
So if you were one to look for information on losing weight, it's a good thing you're reading about the health benefits of flaxseeds!
But there's more to the health benefits of flaxseeds: Flaxseeds contain very high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
Researchers have shown that plant omega-3s help support the cardiovascular system by several mechanisms, which help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The omega-3s also help prevent the arteries from hardening as well as keeping plaque away from being deposited into the arteries by holding the white blood cells back from sticking to the blood vessel's inner linings. Oh, my god. They have a mind of their own.
Studies show that in people with type 2 diabetes, supplementing 10-20g of flaxseed powder a day are able to reduce fasting blood sugar by roughly a quarter. The life-enhancing lignans in flaxseeds modestly improve blood sugar levels. Ande diabetes is not uncommon either. 1 in 10 adults had diabetes in the year 2012, according to the World Health Organization (6).
Flaxseeds may reduce the inflammation that occurs from some illnesses, like asthma or Parkinson's disease. It does this by helping to block certain pro-inflammatory agents from releasing, says Fitzpatrick.
In addition, flaxseeds are known to prevent stroke and heart attacks from the reduction of inflammation associated with the buildup of plaque in the arteries.
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