Flax (Linum usitatissimum), afiber crop, was first cultivated in Egypt. For centuries, it has played a key role in Ayurvedic medicine in Asia. Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and proteins. Flaxseeds are rich in lignans that offer powerful antioxidant effects. They may reduce risk of certain types of cancers and aid in diabetes treatment. It also is believed that the seeds may help with weight loss, enhance digestive health, and protect the heart.
1. Help In Cancer Prevention
Several studies on postmenopausal women showed that supplementing diets with flaxseeds could reduce the risk of breast cancer. The seeds may also reduce tumor growth in patients with breast cancer. The omega-3 fatty acids in the seeds have anti-inflammatory properties that help in this regard. Lignans were also found to reduce the growth of cancerous tumors. Research also shows that flaxseeds may help prevent prostate cancer.
2. Aid Diabetes Treatment
Studies showed that flaxseed supplementation lowered fasting blood sugar levels by 20%. More importantly, the seeds contain mucilage, which is a gel-forming fiber that can slow digestion and the resultant release of glucose into the blood. Preliminary studies have also shown that flaxseeds can delay the onset of diabetes mellitus. They contain a compound called SDG, which could reduce the risk of type 1 diabetes and delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
3. Aid Weight Loss
As flaxseeds are rich in fiber, they can aid weight management. The seeds also contain omega-3s. Studies show that omega-3s may suppress appetite and improve satiety – and this may help in weight loss. The lignans in flaxseeds are also believed to boost metabolism, which may aid weight loss. However, more research is needed to understand the mechanism. Studies also showed that flaxseeds could increase fat excretion, thereby decreasing the amount of fat content in the body. This may promote weight loss.
4. Enhance Digestive Health
Animal studies showed that flaxseed supplementation in the diet could promote the health of gut flora. The soluble fiber in flaxseeds could aid digestion as well, although supporting research is limited. Ground flaxseeds are believed to work better as eating them whole can ake them pass through your system without getting digested. The most common use of flaxseeds involves its laxative properties. This means the seeds can make you poop. They can also help treat constipation but ensure you drink enough water after consuming them. The omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseeds can help reduce inflammation and protect the lining of the GI tract. In people with healthy digestive systems, the seeds promote the beneficial gut flora. Further research is needed to understand the benefits of omega-3s and their connection to gut flora.
5. Protect The Heart
The omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseeds have been found to cut the risk of coronary heart disease. They also help improve the functioning of the arteries. A Costa Rican study showed that individuals consuming more of ALA (the type of omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseeds) had a lower risk of heart attack.
6. Fight Inflammation
Two tablespoons of ground flaxseeds contain over 140% of the daily value of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to fight inflammation. The alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) in the seeds was found to decrease pro-inflammatory compounds in the body. The omega-3s in flaxseeds can also help treat inflammatory arthritis.
7. Treat Menstrual Symptoms
Consuming flaxseeds may regularize ovulation. Women who regularly ate flaxseeds were found to ovulate during every menstrual cycle. Adding flaxseeds to your diet may also help reduce menstrual cramps, though more research is required to support this effect. Another important piece of research tells us that flaxseeds may help ease hot flashes. However, some other studies state otherwise, and more research is warranted to understand how flaxseeds work in this regard.
8. Flaxseeds Are Gluten-Free
Flaxseeds work as a great replacement for all those gluten-containing grains in your diet. In case you are gluten-intolerant, most grains could be hard to digest. This is where flaxseeds can be a good choice for anyone with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
9. Beneficial During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
Flaxseeds are a rich source of fiber and omega-3s and a good source of protein – and a pregnant woman requires all these nutrients. Fiber could help treat constipation that often occurs during pregnancy. The protein and omega-3s are critical for the child’s health. However, there is no direct research stating the benefits of flaxseeds during pregnancy or breastfeeding. As per an animal study, flaxseeds can promote retina and optic nerve development in the offspring. However, we recommend you talk to your doctor before taking flaxseeds for this purpose as there is some conflicting evidence in this regard.
10. Make Your Skin Glow
The omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseeds may contribute to skin health and appearance. They can keep your skin hydrated and make it smooth. Studies show that dietary supplementation of flaxseeds can balance the anti- and pro-inflammatory compounds and promote healthy aging. The oil of flaxseeds may also help. It may prevent the everyday irritants and pollutants from entering your skin pores. It also prevents water loss from the skin. Improving the skin’s moisture levels can also help reduce wrinkles. Keeping your skin moisturized prevents it from drying out, and this makes it glow. While we need more research to determine if flaxseeds can directly influence growth, some evidence states that flaxseed oil could improve skin barrier function. Flaxseeds may also aid the treatment of ailments like psoriasis and eczema, though direct evidence is lacking in this regard. You can either rub plain flaxseed oil gently into your skin or consume the seeds on a daily basis. The anti-inflammatory properties of flaxseeds can also treat skin inflammation. As per animal studies, the antioxidants in the seeds may also help reduce the risk of skin cancer. You can also try a flaxseed facial. Mix two tablespoons of raw honey, a teaspoon of fresh lime juice, and a tablespoon of flaxseed oil. Apply the mixture directly to your face. Leave it on for 15 minutes and wash with normal water. Do it in the mornings, every day.