This is the time of fitness. In this age, people are trying hard to stay healthy and fit by trying different exercise regime and diets. Some are trying to be vegan while others are looking for gluten-free foods. In this chaos, we are unsure of which food item will be suitable for all body types and help to stay fit as well.
Flaxseed is a plant-based product which is actually a crop. It was farmed in Egypt and China in ancient times. It was cultivated in Babylon back in the 3000 BC. This one has played the role of being a part of ayurvedic medicine in Asia too.
Now it has gained its popularity long after 13 centuries, thanks to the fitness crazy modern world where we all are searching for antioxidants. The flaxseed is a source of antioxidants and healthy fat, as well as it contains fibre. These health-protective properties have made flaxseed a favoured item for years. Now it is called a superfood due to its qualities.
It has been seen in preliminary studies that it helps to fight heart disease, breast cancer and diabetes. This can be called a powerful plant food. It reduces the free radicals from the body and this way it cures It has been there for centuries as we have already mentioned and yet it is being able to fight diseases like stroke, cancer or heart attack.
Different forms of Flaxseed:
Now the flaxseed is found in every form. It can be crackers or frozen waffles, even in oils, powder, tablets, flour or capsules. It can be used in supplements too, to cure constipation, high cholesterol and such other different conditions. The flax council in the US has launched more than 300 products in the US and Canada since 2010. It has been fed to the chickens so the eggs they lay come full of omega-3 fatty acid.
Flaxseeds contain some of the most important nutrients which make it a prior item in the diet chart of most people. These are:
- Omega-3 fatty acids-these are essential fats or “good” fats, which keep our hearts healthy. A tablespoon of flaxseeds contains 1.8 gm of plant-based fatty acids.
- Lignans – this ingredient is composed of plant estrogen and antioxidants. This has a great anti-ageing effect if consumed daily.
- Fibre– fibre in soluble and insoluble form is found in flaxseeds.
Along with these three, Vitamin B1 and B6, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, folate, calcium, monosaturated and polyunsaturated fat are found in flaxseeds. So we can safely say that flaxseeds are the source of many nutrients.
Health Benefits of Flaxseed:
1. Cancer risk reduction
Flaxseed contains omega-3 fatty acids. It has the ability to prevent different types of cancerous cell growth. Lignans found in flaxseed is a good antioxidant and it prevents timorous growth in the blood vessels. Breast cancer can also be prevented by regular consumption of flaxseeds by women. After menopause, the risk of breast cancer can be controlled or omitted by taking flaxseeds.
Not only that, prostate cancer and colon cancer also can be prevented by flaxseeds. Lignans present in flaxseed comes packed with antioxidants and estrogen. This is also helpful for men to prevent cancer in different organs.
2. Heart health improvement
Regular consumption of flaxseeds improves heart health, and it has been proven by various researches. Lignans are also responsible for checking cardiovascular diseases. Our cardiovascular system goes through various anti-inflammatory systems. The proper running of this system results in a normal heartbeat. Flaxseed contains the quality of lowering the blood pressure and thus, normalizing the increased heartbeat rate. Omega-3 fatty acids, as well as amino acid groups found in flaxseed, are helpful in this case.
Also, phytosterols present in flaxseed reduces the low-density lipoprotein which is called bad cholesterol. Lignin in flaxseed helps in decreasing the cholesterol if you take flaxseed in a measured quantity daily (100 mg). Body fat is also removed by this process. The omega-3 fatty acids are usually present in oily fishes, other than flaxseeds. So if you are not interested in having fishes then you can have your dose of omega-3 fatty acids by consuming flaxseeds.
3. Arthritis solution
Flaxseed is believed to have some effect on joint pain and stiffness of muscles. The much popular ALA present in flaxseed can possibly be successful in reducing inflammation and pain. You can consume it in the form of oil, grounded or capsules and feel the difference after a month.
4. Diabetes control
Flaxseed comes rich in lignans and phytoestrogen. The chronic diabetic condition can be controlled by these ingredients. If one consumes flaxseeds for 12 weeks, his or her insulin sensitivity will increase and glucose level will be lowered. The body weight, body type and gender will decide the amount of intake though.
The compounds of flaxseed are important and responsible for reducing the chance of type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can also be prevented if it is consumed at the onset of the ailment. If the person is pre-diabetic then consumption of 20 gm. Flaxseed will reduce the blood sugar level from 8 to 20%. The insoluble fibre slows down the release of sugar into the blood and it results in the reduction of blood sugar. But the consumption of flaxseed oil will not have much effect on diabetes as the oil does not contain the fibres. The seeds in grounded form or in raw form will act better in this situation.
5. Dietary fibre to reduce constipation
One tablespoon of flaxseed comes rich in 3 grams of fibre and that intake is enough for a regular-sized man or woman with normal health conditions. Other than this, we have earlier mentioned that flaxseeds come with soluble and insoluble dietary fibre. When you consume flaxseed, the two types of fibre get fermented in the large bowel by bacterial activity and process the regular stool motion.
Soluble fibre is necessary for intestinal consistency. This is also responsible for slowing the digestion rate, which in turn, helps you to stay full for longer hours and prevents overeating. The blood sugar level regulates and cholesterol decreases. Insoluble fibre sucks more water into the system to bind the stool and cures the constipation symptoms.
Certain diseases related to inflammation like Parkinson’s’ disease and asthma can be kept at bay by having flaxseed daily. ALA and lignans present in flaxseed help to stop the release of pro-inflammatory agents and thus reduces the chance of these diseases. ALA decreases the inflammatory reactions in human and some other animals, whereas lignans prevent the release of pro-inflammatory agents. There is less chance of plaque build-up in the arteries and thus the chance of heart attack and strokes are reduced.
7. Lowers blood pressure
It is great for people with high blood pressure. If someone takes 30 gms of flaxseeds for six months, a definite change will be seen in the systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Even if the patient is taking the medicines to control the high blood pressure, flaxseed with hurry the process and uncontrolled high blood pressure can be checked with the help of this seed. The reduction at blood pressure level is rather significant in reducing the chance of stroke and heart disease.
The seed has now earned the fame of being called the superfood. It has got lots of health benefits for sure. But it is not magic food. You will see the difference only if you follow a healthy lifestyle and maintains regularity in the intake of the flaxseeds. However, this is not so helpful for everyone. The pregnant women and the new mothers who are breastfeeding should not take flaxseed. Also, the consumption of flaxseed in grounded form is better than having the oil or the capsules.