Flax seeds come from the flax plant which is believed to be first grown in Egypt then got cultivated all around the world. They are tiny, golden or brown coloured seeds also known as linseed. They are so powerful that even a tablespoon can ward off cholesterol problems and sugar cravings. They are gluten-free and gets incorporated in easy meals like shakes, smoothies, soups etc. The small seeds can be eaten at their own, crushed or cold pressed to release flax seed oil. As per Ayurveda it balances Vata and aggravates Pitta and Kapha Dosha.
Some Amazing Nutrition Benefits of flax seeds are:
1. Flax seeds are loaded with Nutrients
One tablespoon of flax seeds (which is approx 7 grams) yields good protein, fibre, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals which can be summarised as- calories: 37 kcal, proteins- 1.3 grams, carbohydrates- 2 grams, fiber- 1.9 grams, total fat- 3 grams, omega 3 fatty acids- 1597 mg. They are an excellent source of Magnesium, manganese, thiamin, selenium, zinc and copper. In short, their main health benefit lies in the fact that they are very rich in omega 3 fatty acids, fibre and lignans.
2. High in Fibre
Fibre helps to improve blood sugar levels, therefore helps in managing Diabetes and PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). It has both soluble and insoluble fibre which helps one to feel full and helps curb sugar cravings.
3. Great for promoting healthy skin and hair
Omega 3 fatty acids play an essential role in both appearance and structure of the skin. Flax seeds being rich in omega 3 fatty acids, nourish the hair follicles and hair shafts making them lustrous, strong and less prone to damage. Flax seeds also have anti-inflammatory property because of which they help in calming down the digestive tract, making them effective in treating acne and eczema.
4. Flax seeds Lower Blood pressure
Some studies reveal that consuming flax seeds daily for a few months helps to maintain blood pressure. The fibre and lignans present in flax seeds help to lower high blood pressure.
5. Helps Fight Cancer
One of the best cancer-fighting foods is flax seeds. Omega 3 fatty acids present in it has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the risks of many types of cancers. Flax seeds are the richest source of dietary lignans, which is a type of phytoestrogen (they are plant nutrients which are somewhat similar to the female hormone estrogen) which helps to reduce the growth of cancerous tumours. Consuming 1 tablespoon of flax seeds daily can help a person prevent cancer.
6. Aids in Diabetes Treatment
Regular intake of flax seeds can delay the onset of Diabetes and can reduce the fasting sugar in diabetics. This blood sugar lowering effect is due to the insoluble fibre present in them. Researches have proven that insoluble fibre slows down the release of sugar into bloodstream.
7. Promotes Weight Loss
Flax seeds are rich in healthy fats and fibre so its regular intake helps one feel satisfied for longer and thus keep hunger pangs at bay, which ultimately results in less food and calories intake. This feeling comes from the soluble content of flax seeds which slows digestion in the stomach which triggers all those hormones which control appetite and provides satiety.
8. Improves Brain Health
The Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are known for their role in protecting brain cells from the physiological effects of stress, they are essential for brain development and function, helps in reducing the risk of dementia and they even support pregnancies along with infant eye and brain development. Flax seeds are great especially for vegans/ vegetarians to add healthily and concentration boosting fats in their diets. Alpha-Linolenic (ALA) a type of omega 3 fatty acid, which is present in flax seeds, boosts the cerebral cortex, which is the area in the brain that processes sensory information.
9. Relieves Menopausal symptoms and Complications
Another aspect about flax seeds goodness is that they are high in beneficial phytochemicals especially lignan and other antioxidants. These work great for women as they promote fertility, reduces the peri-menopausal symptoms, also helps in preventing diabetes and cancer.
10. Encourages Healthy Bowel Movement
As flax seeds contain both soluble and insoluble fibre they help to keep your gut clean and microbiome balanced.
One can incorporate flax seeds in their daily foods in various forms like mixing them into yoghurt/ curd, sprinkling flax seeds on salads/ fruit platters or can drizzle some flax seed oil on salads as dressing, mixing them into smoothies/ shakes which also helps thicken up the consistency, putting them into one’s favourite breakfast cereals, adding them to cookies, muffins, bread etc.
To conclude, Flax seeds are a boon to health, the super-rich in all essential nutrients, easy to buy and even easier to take. They are proof that good things come in small packages!