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Top 6 Health Benefits Of Flaxseeds

A lot of flaxseed.

In recent years, flaxseed (linum usitatissimum) has been experiencing a kind of renaissance. Like other new-age popular superfoods such as Goji BerriesMacadamia NutsPumpkin Seeds, and Brazil Nuts, Flaxseed combines health benefits and great taste in one package. Many people are interested in this seed, also called by the name of linseed, which is the richest source of plant-based Omega-3. If that’s not enough to pique your interest, I don’t know what it. With the rising awareness of the benefits of a plant-based diet, getting all your necessary nutrients from plants is something that is growing in popularity. And the flaxseed might be just the place to start!

Everyone knows that omega-3 fatty acids are found in abundance in fish, but for those of us who are not fish eaters, or who may avoid consuming animal products altogether, flaxseed is a surefire way to get all of its benefits, including the high Omega-3 count. They’re basically a vegan-friendly alternative to provide you with a wide variety of benefits. Flaxseed has been used as a food and fiber for thousands of years, and it was – and in some areas, still is – a very popular crop. It is worth adding these little seeds to your diet, be they in raw seed form or oil form. More on those two soon, but first, let’s talk about the health benefits of flaxseed!

Top 6 Health Benefits Of Flaxseeds

1. High Nutrient Content

Flax seeds spilling out of jar.

Flaxseed oil.

The flax’s seed has a high nutrient content It’s an excellent source of Omega-3, specifically alpha-linolenic acid, and a good source of dietary fiber and protein. It contains large amounts of vitamin B, manganese, phosphorous, and magnesium. Whole flaxseeds also contain amino acids, selenium, vitamin B6, iron, potassium, calcium, copper, and zinc, all in good amounts. It contains 7 times the amount of antioxidants which are in sesame seeds (the closest runner-up to flax seeds). Additionally, the low-carb seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fats which are the ‘good’ type of fat that can lower high cholesterol. These are a lot of nutrients, packed into such a small package, which is part of what makes the flaxseed so unique.

The high nutrient content of flaxseeds means that this health food can help to lower high blood pressure and blood sugar levels. This means that flaxseeds have cardioprotective effects that can reduce your risk of heart disease and heart attack. Improving your heart health should be a major concern no matter your age, and lower cholesterol can reduce your risk of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It containd HDL cholesterol as opposed to LDL cholesterol (the ‘bad’ cholesterol). Although some people believe that fish oil is better for you blood pressure health than flaxseed oil but the nutrient-dense profile of flaxseeds mean that this seed has a lot to offer when it comes to overall health.

2. Clear Skin

African American woman with clear skin.

Woman with clear skin.

Studies on the flaxseed and its health benefits are still being conducted. So far this seed can help to clear skin, lower the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood, reduce sugar cravings by balancing the body’s hormone levels, fight certain types of cancer, promote healthy weight loss, and even revitalize hair and nails. Good things really do come in small packages, like the health benefits of flaxseed! But one of the less known benefits of flaxseed is it’s ability to transorm your complexion and result in clear skin. There are a lot of natural oils that we give the spotlight when it comes to natural skin care. Flaxseed oil is another that should be added to the ever-growing list.

The essential fatty acids found in this seed help to moisturize and hydrate your skin. This can encourage skin cell turnover and give you that healthy glow! If you’re looking for another oil to add to your natural oils for personal care collection, flaxseed oil can pack a punch for your skin. The rich source of lignans provides your skin with necessary antioxidants to protect it from free radical damage and encourage skin regeneration. Moreover, the nutrients in this seed work as an anti-inflammatory on the skin to leave your skin looking fresh and clear. The beneficial effects of flaxseed on your skin can be garnered if you add this oil into your skincare routine in DIY moisturizers or toners. Bottom line: don’t dismiss flaxseed oil in your skincare routine just because you might have some other natural oils in your cupboard. Each oil has something unique to offer, and flaxseed oil is a valuable addition.

3. Healthy Digestion

The effect this seed has on the body, and in particular on the body’s digestive system, is significant. Two tablespoons of whole flaxseed a day can give your body the boost it needs to maintain its health and vitality. This is largely due to the fact that flaxseeds contain lignans which are antioxidants that help with digestion, and the insoluble fiber content of the seed that optimize your digestive health. Having a healthy digestive system is important not only for those with existing digestive issues, but to ensure that your body is getting the full range of nutrients available to it. When your body is digesting foods properly, all the necessary nutrients are able to reach the body efficiently.

Obviously, you should also be eating right and staying in motion, regardless of these amazing seeds, but it helps to promote healthy digestion. You can’t simply add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed to your diet and assume that you can then continue with any self-destructing habits you may have, such as excessive smoking and drinking. Everything needs to be in moderation, and that includes all foods and substances, be they healthy or, well, less healthy. Speaking of ground flaxseed – if you only have whole seeds lying around you can use a coffee grinder or pestle and mortar to grind your flaxseeds into a finer powder.

4. Women’s Health

Tampons in a row on black background.

Tampons.

For many women, the symptoms of menopause and post menopause can be uncomfortable at best. Taking the natural route can help you to avoid relying on medications that may or may not alleviate problems. It can benefit your whole body rather than a specific issue. Flaxseeds might provide the solution to a holistic approach to women’s health.  The powerful nutrients found in flaxseeds can be beneficial for women’s health. The antioxidants in flax have been shown to alleviate the symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes. Eating 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds combined with cereal or yogurt has been shown to mitigate hot flashes by almost half. It’s not an exact science but it’s definitely a healthy, natural approach that doesn’t hurt to try.  Contrariwise, for those who are still experiencing their monthly cycle, the flaxseed can help the cycle regulate itself. It’s all thanks to the phytoestrogens which are present in the seeds. There has been some discussion regarding the long-term effects of phytoestrogen on the body, and the jury is still out on that one.

Research also suggests that flaxseed have the potential to reduce the size of tumors in patience with breast cancer. Additionally, specifically in postmenopausal women, this precious seed has the ability to reduce your risk of breast cancer. That being said, flaxseeds have also proven to be beneficial in maintaining overall prostate health in men and reducing prostate cancer risk . Basically, this tiny seed has the ability to protect and maintain your intimate health in both men and women!

5. Improve Cholesterol

Although the oil can be eaten, it is not generally recommended to cook with it. When it reaches the smoke point, like with other oils, it releases free radicals and may cause more harm than good. Either way, normally, it makes the food taste and smells bad,. That would be enough for you to want to stay away from linseed as a cooking oil.

But that’s just the oil. You can add flaxseeds to your diet in various ways -not only through the use of linseed oil. So, while you may not want to cook with it (not unlike certain kinds of almond oil), there is nothing wrong with adding it to various dishes and salads. In fact, you can commonly add it to foods in butter form! It’s an idea butter substitute for anyone looking to moderate their cholesterol levels. If you’re looking for a unique way to add this seed into your diet then a tablespoon of flaxseed butter in your coffee might be for you. This could help you to create the perfect bulletproof coffee on your keto diet.

6. High Quality Protein

We briefly mentioned earlier the protein content of flaxseeds, but let’s take a deeper look. These seeds are one of the best sources of plant-based high-quality protein. They’re rich in amino acids like arginine, glutamic acid, and aspartic acid which are actually similar to those found in soy beans. It’s partly due to these amino acids that flaxseeds are so effective in lowering blood pressure and improving overall digestive health. In cooking, it can also be used in its ground form. Obviously, it depends on the recipe, but it is a good thing to keep in mind. There is a more natural replacement for nearly all animal-based products. The flavor of linseed oil is a nutty (albeit light) one. It is not a heavy kind of oil despite the rich flavor, and it probably won’t take over any dish’s flavor. A couple tablespoons of ground flaxseed in a salad can also enhance the flavor and texture of your meal.

If you’re interested in using flaxseed as a food or supplement  Make sure you get the proper kind See if your recipe requires oil or actual seeds. The seeds themselves are sold when they are ripe and ready, and they are very tasty in baked goods like muffins, in a bowl of cereal, with yogurt, and even in ice creams. It’s worth noting that if you’re purchasing a flaxseed supplement you should ensure that it’s from an organic, pure source. This allows you to avoid things like filler or additives that might lower the quality of your flaxseed intake. At the end of the day, it’s important to know exactly what you’re putting into your body to ensure that you’re nourishing it from the inside out.

Benefits Of Flaxseed Oil

A jug of oil with cork lid.

Jug of flaxseed oil.

Now that we’ve outlined the top 6 benefits of flaxseeds, let’s take a closer look at the oil specifically. The oil which is produced from the flaxseed, often titled linseed oil, is somewhat yellow or even colorless sometimes. The biggest benefit of flaxseed oil is that you can easily incorporate it into your skincare routine as discussed above. Additionally, the nutty flavor can add a lot in a salad dressing to create a nutrient-dense meal. Using the seeds in their natural or oily form is something which can be done daily. The only recommendation is not to exceed the recommended daily amount. The biggest side effect of flaxseeds is an allergic reaction, although it’s uncommon. So, if you plan on adding them to your diet or your beauty regimen, consult with your healthcare provider shaman, guru, or pharmacist.

Seriously though, it can pose a threat to those who have a tendency for allergic reactions. So, get your health professional’s okay before incorporating it into your menu. Linseed oil is also edible. You can use it in certain areas of the world as a food in its own right. That being said, it’s important to note that the oil does not have a long shelf life at all. Flaxseed oil becomes rancid easily when exposed to oxygen. So, your best bet would probably be to place it in the refrigerator. As with anything, the way that your preserve it can help you to maintain it’s nutrients and benefits, and that’s true of flaxseed oil as well.

Side Effects Of Flaxseed

This brings us swiftly onto the topic of side effects of flaxseed. While this tiny seed is generally considered safe for consumption, there’s reason to believe that pregnant women and nursing mothers should refrain from supplementing their diet with flaxseed. There have been conflicting studies regarding it’s protective qualities for offspring and it’s generally better to be safe than sorry! Research indicates that the risk of toxicity from high flaxseed consumption is negligble. This means that if you’re not allergic, pregnant, or breast-feeding you can’t get too much of this seed. I don’t know about you, but that’s good news for me, because I tend to sprinkle these seeds unforgivingly over my salads.

As mentioned above, there is also the issue of having an allergic reaction. If you want to add flaxseeds to your diet but aren’t sure if you might be at risk, speak with a healthcare provider who can give you an insight into your personal benefits and drawbacks. Who knows, they might even be able to suggest something more relevant for your health than flaxseeds! It’s always good to get a second opinion when you’re starting out with a new process – no matter what is. Just a personal tip I thought I’d add in there.

Flaxseed Around The World

Fun fact – the ancient Egyptians really loved the flax plant. You can see the thriving flax painted on the walls of various temples. The plant was highly cultivated. It was even made into a fabric and used to create the clothes for the Egyptian priests. The flax textile was also used in the mummification process, and the ancient Romans used it for creating sails for their ships. This just goes to show the versatility of this tiny seed, and attest to it’s benefits beyond your health. Currently, the three largest producers of flax are Canada, France, and Russia. Only the seeds and the oil derived from the flax plant are used widely.

Flaxseed oil the tendency to become solid at certain conditions, which is why you can use them in products such as paint binders and wood polishers. You can also use it to solidify or harden substances such as clay or putty. Furthermore, you can use it in the manufacturing process of linoleum. It’s always fascinated me how so often, natural powerful ingredients can be used for so much more than their dietary benefits. Any natural ingredient that you can use in multiple, diverse ways sounds promising to me!

Conclusion

The bottom line is that flaxseeds have a lot to offer to your diet and beyond. I’m always a little skeptical of superfoods in general. But when you look at nutrient content alone it’s not surprising that this seed comes pretty up there in terms of benefits. Whether you’re eating it or applying it topically, there are numerous uses for this versatile little seed. In fact, the very versatility of this seed is what makes it so easy to add to your diet and routine! Just a little sprinkle on your salad can go such a long way in improving your overall health. That being said, it’s important to note that adding flaxseeds to your diet isn’t a quick fix for real health issues. While this seed can benefit your health it’s not a medicinal supplement. It can help along the process and reduce your risk of certain health concerns.

Flaxseed Oil is one of the most helpful seeds you’ll find. One of my favorite ways to add it into my diet is by throwing a tablespoon of ground flaxseed and chia seeds into my morning smoothie before I head to work. It’s a quick and easy way to incorporate this wholly beneficial superfood into a flaxseed meal! These seeds have the ability to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and improve your complexion. It also has a high fiber content, and can reduce a whole host of other health issues! Try some today and start boosting your lifestyle! And thanks for reading our feature, check back for more on the world’s greatest superfoods here at Maple Holistics!

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