Flaxseeds : Tiny But Huge Benefits!
Healthy Living

Flaxseeds : Tiny But Huge Benefits!

Mehvish Hamdare profile Authored by Mehvish Hamdare on 21 Jul 2014 - 14:33.

Flaxseeds

Flaxseed may be tiny, but they're mighty. Flaxseed or linseed (Linum usitatissimum L.) comes from the flax plant, an annual herb which is an ancient cultivated crop since Mesopotamian times. They are grown for their oil seeds and fibre. These are chewy seeds packed with nutrients, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, minerals and essential vitamins.

Flaxseed is making its mark as a functional food because of it properties that boost health. They have benefits associated with some of its biologically active components.

Nutritional Benefits include:
Omega-3 fatty acids- Flaxseed is a good source of the plant version of omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which the body uses as "raw material" to synthesize the other two omega-3 acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) found in fish. Omega-3 fatty acids play a key role against inflammation in our bodies. They are considered as a good fat, as it has cholesterol-lowering properties that may be helpful for heart disease.

Vitamins and Mineral: Flaxseed include most of the B vitamins, magnesium, and manganese.

Phytochemicals: Flaxseed is high in Phytochemicals and is one of the best natural sources of lignans which are unique polyphenols with antioxidant and anti-estrogenic properties.

Fiber: Flaxseed contains both soluble and insoluble types and available in several forms:

  • Ground flaxseed
  • Whole flaxseeds
  • Flaxseed oil

Nutritive Value of Flaxseeds:
Flax seeds (Linum usitatissimum),
Nutritional value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient database)

Nutrients

Nutritive Value

Percentage of RDA

Energy

534 Kcal

27

Carbohydrates

28.8 g

22

Protein

18.3 g

32.5

Total Fat

42.16 g

170

Cholesterol

0 mg

0

Dietary Fiber

27.3 g

68

Folates

87 µg

22

Niacin

3.08 mg

19

Pantothenic acid

0.985 mg

20

Pyridoxine

0.473 mg

36

Riboflavin

0.161 mg

12

Thiamin

1.64 mg

137

Vitamin A

0 IU

0%

Vitamin C

0.6 mg

1%

Vitamin E

19.95 mg

133

Vitamin K

4.3 µg

3.5

Sodium

30 mg

2

Potassium

813 mg

17

Calcium

255 mg

22.5

Copper

1.12 mg

124

Iron

5.73 mg

72

Magnesium

392 mg

98

Manganese

2.48 mg

108

Zinc

4.34 mg

39

Carotene-ß

0 µg

--

Lutein-zeaxanthin

651 µg

--

 

Health Benefits:

Lowers Blood Cholesterol:
Flaxseeds contain soluble fibre which has been shown to lower cholesterol, helping to prevent the build-up of plaque, which can clog arteries and lead to high blood pressure, stroke, or heart attack. Evidence suggests that people who eat an ALA-rich diet are less likely to have a fatal heart attack.

Lowers Blood Sugar Levels:
Few studies observed that incorporation of flaxseed in diet resulted in reduced postprandial blood glucose response in humans as the soluble fiber and other components of flaxseed fractions could potentially affect insulin secretion and its mechanisms of action in maintaining plasma glucose homeostasis.

Breast Cancer:
Studies show that flaxseed may have a role in fighting cancer due to its high concentration of lignans, which are believed to inhibit tumor growth.

In a clinical study on humans it was seen that, post-menopausal women who were newly diagnosed with breast cancer ate a muffin with 25 grams dietary flaxseed every day for 40 days. The study found that adding flaxseed to the diet may have the potential to reduce tumour growth in women with breast cancer.

Digestion:
The fiber in flaxseed can help relieve constipation. Omega 3 acts as a natural anti-inflammatory hence reducing the stomach-pain that comes with conditions like irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.

Menopause Symptoms:
Flaxseed is beneficial as a treatment for menopause symptoms because it is a plant estrogen containing both omega-3 fatty acids and lignans. The Mayo study showed that women who consumed ground flaxseed daily had a significant decrease in the frequency and severity of their hot flashes. A 2007 study in the "Journal of the Society for Integrative Oncology" discovered that flaxseed reduced hot flashes by 50 percent in menopausal women.

Dosage: The optimum dose to obtain health benefits is not yet known. But 1 to 2 tablespoons/day of ground flaxseed is currently the suggested dose, according to the Flax Council of Canada.

Tips to incorporate flaxseed in your diet:

  • The seeds can be enjoyed as snacks as roasted, salted, or sweetened.
  • The flax seeds should be first roasted before making a powder.
  • Ground flaxseed should be kept in an air tight container as they lose the nutritive value when exposed to air or sunlight.
  • Heat destroys the oil so flax seed oil should be kept in freezer and should be added only to cold foods.
  • Ground flaxseeds can be added to salads this form is more digestible.
  • Ground seeds can be used as toppings in yogurt, desserts, shakes, cereal based dishes, etc.
  • Ground seeds can be sprinkled over desserts, particularly sundaes and other ice cream based preparations.
  • Flaxseeds can be added to soups, lassi, dosa batter, chapatti dough, buttermilk, upma (after cooking), fruit smoothies, juices or low fat milk or to chutneys.
  • Add flaxseeds to homemade muffin, cake, and cookie or bread recipe.
  • Flaxseeds can be added to mukhwas (mouth freshener)
  • It is important to drink plenty of water throughout the day when you are taking flaxseeds.

 

Reference:

 

*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only.Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.