Many think that flaxseeds are a trendy new addition to the superfoods list. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Flax was grown in ancient China and Egypt; even Ayurveda uses it for its medicinal and nutritional properties.
These days, flaxseeds are known as a “functional food” and “superfood.” And rightly so, because the list of goodness contained in these tiny seeds is unending – from lignans, fiber, proteins, antioxidants, omega-3, polyunsaturated fatty acids. Alongside adding flax seeds to your plate, you should consume multivitamin tablets so that your body gets the missing nutrients from our meals.
Flaxseeds can be found in many forms in the market – from food items like seeds, flour and oil to supplements like powders and capsules. So, why exactly are flax seeds such a popular health food and how do they help?
Let’s have a look at some of their health benefits.
1. Flaxseeds Prevent Hunger Pangs
If you are someone who snacks a lot, and that is contributing to your weight gain, consider adding flaxseed to your diet. The most popular method of consuming dietary flax is by adding ground flax to your beverages and keeping the urge to snack at bay.
Flax contains lots of fiber, which keeps you feeling full for longer. They digest very slowly and keep your body from triggering the hormones that make you think you are hungry. Over time, they help you control your weight by suppressing hunger.
2. Flaxseeds Relieve Constipation
Flaxseeds contain insoluble fiber that stays in your digestive tract instead of dissolving in water. While there, this fiber adds bulk and absorbs water, promoting regularity and making your digestive process more efficient.
If you are planning to take flaxseeds to reduce constipation, it is best to stick to seeds as they have the highest quantities of fiber. Grind them up and pour a teaspoon over oatmeal. Start with smaller quantities and consume flaxseeds with a lot of water to avoid side effects like diarrhoea.
3. Flaxseeds Improve Heart Health
Every article about improving heart health will tell you to consume three nutrients in ample quantities – fiber, omega-3s, and lignans. Guess which superfood has all three? Flaxseeds! It’s an absolute must in your diet if you are worried about your heart.
They also contain phytosterol – a kind of ‘good cholesterol’ that prevents bad cholesterol from being absorbed in the intestines, lowering overall cholesterol levels in the body. For those who can’t consume fish for their heart health, flaxseeds are a great alternative source of omega-3 oils.
4. Flax Seeds Lower Blood Sugar
Good news for those suffering from Type 2 diabetes! Studies have shown that people with diabetes, who consume 10-20 grams of flaxseeds as part of their daily diet, reported a drop of 8-20% in their blood sugar levels.
The effect is largely tied to the presence of insoluble fiber in flaxseeds, which slows the release of sugar into the bloodstream and, over time, reduces blood sugar levels. For this purpose, ground flaxseeds work best as only they have high amounts of fiber.
Tips to Add Flax to Your Diet
- Flaxseeds are a very versatile ingredient and can be consumed in multiple ways. If you have a sweet tooth, you can sprinkle a tablespoon of ground seeds over your morning oatmeal, add them to baked goods like muffins and bread, or use them to thicken up your smoothies.
- If you prefer savoury, you can make patties with them or throw flaxseed oil in salad dressings. If you don’t really care how you consume them, you can simply add them to water or any other beverage and drink them up. If you are vegan, they also make a wonderful substitute for the egg.
Remember these golden rules when consuming flax:
- Start with 1 tablespoon or 10 grams a day and keep your intake below 5 tablespoons or 50 grams.
- Grind your flax seeds instead of consuming whole seeds – they are easier to digest and provide more benefits.
- If using flaxseed oil, store it in a cool, dry place. When cooking with it, use a low flame.
When it comes to nutritional goodness, you will find very few foods as packed with it as flaxseeds. They benefit your body in many ways – from improving digestive and heart health to aiding in weight loss. They are also inexpensive, easily available, and can be consumed in a variety of ways. Go grab some from your local store!
Swati Sharma is a beauty and skincare enthusiast. She loves to create content around it and presently is a blogger at 365 Gorgeous, a beauty and skincare blog dedicated to keeping you gorgeous, always. When not writing, you would often find her sipping a cuppa and reading non-fiction books.