The health benefits of flaxseed have made it a part of the traditional cuisines of Asia, America, and Africa. Its high nutritional and health benefits can outnumber those offered by any other cereal. It is a rich source of alpha linolenic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, and lignans. These components collectively fight many ailments and diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, inflammation, arthritis, allergies, asthma, and diabetes.
Flaxseed also reduces the risk of various cancers and improves reproductive health in females. It is also a rich source of vitamins and fiber, which keeps the heart and the intestines healthy. It also maintains healthy eyes, skin, and hair.
Table of Contents
- Health Benefits of Flaxseed
- Improves Overall Health
- Good Source of Protein
- Prevents Cardiovascular Diseases
- Fights Inflammation
- Improves Gastrointestinal Health
- Prevents Cancer
- Boosts Immunity
- Beneficial for Dieters
- Reduces Pre-Menopausal Symptoms
- Prevents Osteoporosis
- Reduces Ovarian Dysfunction
- Prevents Cancer
- Reduces Dry Eye
- Maintains Kidney Health
- Skin Care
- Hair Care
Health Benefits of Flaxseed
Some of the health benefits of flaxseed can improve the quality of your diet. Below are some of the known benefits of flaxseed:
Improves Overall Health
Flaxseed is rich in most B complex vitamins and vitamin E, as well as minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and iron. Vitamin E is essential for healthy skin and bones. Potassium maintains nerve health and iron is a vital component of red blood cells and many enzymes that affect our general metabolism.
Good Source of Protein
Flaxseed is a rich source of dietary proteins, having a high essential amino acid index and providing most of the daily intake of proteins that our bodies need.
Prevents Cardiovascular Diseases
Flaxseed is a good source of flavonoids, especially flavone-C and o-glycosides, according to “Phytochemicals and Phytopharmaceuticals”. These polyphenolic compounds inhibit lipid peroxidation, platelet aggregation, and capillary permeability and fragility, thus leading to a lower incidence of cardiovascular diseases.
Flaxseed is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, second only to fish oil. Omega-3 fatty acid is the most active agent that fights inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a leading cause of heart diseases, asthma, allergies, diabetes, and even certain cancers.
Improves Gastrointestinal Health
Flaxseed is rich in fiber, both soluble and insoluble types. While soluble fiber helps to maintain proper gastrointestinal functions, insoluble fiber plays a vital role in keeping the heart healthy by lowering serum LDL cholesterol levels. This property of flaxseed also aids in maintaining normal blood sugar levels for people suffering from diabetes.
There are abundant phytochemicals in flaxseed that act as antioxidants, which are the main agents in preventing and fighting against cancer. Also, flaxseed is a rich source of lignans, which convert into chemicals that balance female hormones in the body. There is evidence that lignans aid reproductive health, prevent menopausal symptoms, and counter the effects of type-2 diabetes.
The alpha linolenic acid and the lignans found in flaxseed boost the immune response in the body and prevent against inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and the autoimmune disorder lupus.
Beneficial for Dieters
Flaxseed forms an essential part of many diet programmes, since it keeps blood sugar levels in check. Due to its richness in fiber, it keeps the stomach full and avoids the intake of surplus calories through overeating.
Reduces Pre-Menopausal Symptoms
One of flaxseed’s essential components, lignans, can be used as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy due to their estrogenic properties.
Reduces Ovarian Dysfunction
In menstruating women, regular consumption of flaxseed is shown to inhibit cycle changes and a reduction in ovarian dysfunction.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been proved to reduce the risk of breast, prostate, and colon cancer according to the journal Nutrition and Cancer.
Reduces Dry Eye
Flaxseed consumption can reduce “dry eye” syndrome. Also, the omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of macular degeneration, an eye disease caused by damaged nerves in the eye.
Maintains Kidney Health
Flaxseed has been shown to reduce the rate of kidney inflammation in cases of nephritis.
Flaxseed oil can treat brittle hair and nails and prevent them from splitting. It is also effective against irritating scalp conditions caused by eczema.
This sums up some of the myriad health benefits of flaxseed consumption. Care should be taken to consume ground flaxseed to enjoy all of the benefits, since whole seeds don’t release the nutrients effectively.