The powerful nutrients in flaxseeds can help fight many ailments and diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, inflammation, arthritis, allergies, asthma, and diabetes. Flaxseeds reduce the risk of various cancers and improves reproductive health in females. It also aids in maintaining healthy eyes, skin, and hair.
What is Flaxseed?
Flaxseeds are tiny, brown or golden-colored seeds, which are also sometimes known as linseed. The health benefits of these seeds have made them a part of the traditional cuisines of Asia, America, and Africa. They can be eaten in their raw form, but are more beneficial when sprouted or grounded into a tasty meal. The body can absorb the nutrients from flaxseeds more easily when it is ground or sprouted. These seeds are used to make flaxseed oil, which is also very easy to digest.
The high nutritional values and health benefits of these seeds can outnumber those offered by any other cereal.
Health Benefits of Flaxseed
There are many health benefits of flaxseed that can improve your health and the quality of your diet. Let us look at some of them in detail:
Restricts Calorie Intake
Flaxseed forms an essential part of many diet programmes since it keeps blood sugar levels in check. Due to the presence of fiber, it keeps the stomach full and avoids the intake of surplus calories through overeating.
Flaxseed oil can treat brittle hair and nails and prevent them from splitting. It is also effective against irritating scalp conditions caused by eczema.
There are abundant phytochemicals in flaxseed that act as antioxidants, which are the main agents in preventing and fighting against cancer. Also, it is a rich source of lignans, which convert into chemicals that balance hormones in the body. There is evidence that lignans aid reproductive health, prevent menopausal symptoms, and counter the effects of type-2 diabetes. Also, omega-3 fatty acids in these seeds have been proven to reduce the risk of breast, prostate, and colon cancer according to the journal Nutrition and Cancer.
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 (bad) cholesterol levels. This property also aids in maintaining normal blood sugar levels for people suffering from diabetes.
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 flavone C-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, preceded only by 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.
The alpha-linolenic acid and the lignans found in flax seed boost the immune response in the body and prevent against inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and autoimmune disorder lupus.
Reduces Pre-menopausal Symptoms
Lignans, in flaxseed, 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 the ovarian dysfunction.
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.
Word of Caution: This sums up some of the myriad health benefits of flaxseed consumption. Care should be taken while consuming ground flax seeds to enjoy all of the benefits as whole seeds don’t release the nutrients effectively.