Seeds and multi-grains are the new raving trend in the world of fitness and healthy lifestyle. Flaxseed is not an alien term to this new concept; rather quite the opposite. People have been consuming this rather rare brown seeds to enjoy the amazing health benefits that it imparts.
Flaxseeds, sometimes, have a very conundrum approach when it comes to providing with benefits to one’s overall well being. Since this seed can’t be digested in its raw form, it is often broken down, grinded or eaten in some other forms for its easy digestion.
In this article, we are going to be focusing on the important and noticeable benefits of flaxseeds on the overall well being of an individual. If it’s actually something that would be effective for your health, let’s find out.
What are Flaxseeds?
Flaxseeds, also sometimes referred to as Linseeds, are a part of the superfoods category and resembles as small brown or tan coloured seeds. Belonging to the Linaceae family, it is rich in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids which have pronounced effects on boosting the overall well being of an individual.
If you think that flaxseeds are just the thing of now, you are highly mistaken. The benefits and consumption of flaxseeds date back to 6000 years ago and since then has been used as an ingredient for amazing health benefits.
It is the outstanding anti-inflammatory along with anti-oxidant properties which make this one of the most sought-after superfoods as of now.
Is Flaxseed Good for You?
The question that many people often ponder on is whether or not flaxseeds are worth the hype that it has. The answer is a definite YES.
Not only does it contain essential constituents that justify the flaxseed benefits, it also doesn’t inflict many side effects which make it even more favourable.
The common benefits of flaxseed include:
High Fiber Content (Low Carb Content)
One of the primary benefits of flaxseed lies in its amazing fiber content and lower carb content. It consists of a water-soluble fiber, known as mucilage, which contributes to a number of health benefits – digestion being the primary one.
This fiber ensures that the food will stay in the stomach for a little longer time interval rather than getting pushed down to the small intestine at a go. It makes you feel full for a longer period of time and prevents you from overeating.
The contrasting concentration of dietary fibers to carbohydrates is what makes this a favourable option for consumption for one’s well being. The fibers even help with colon detoxification, which is an added bonus.
Heightened Presence of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are highly beneficial for a body’s strategized functioning. Unlike fish oil, which contains DHA and EPA, flaxseeds contain Alpha linolenic acid (ALA) which has a little different path of action in comparison to the prior two mentioned compounds.
The presence of ALA helps in the proper maintenance of one’s heart health by reducing the risks of hypertension, inflammation and several other factors. Not just that, there are studies that prove for a fact that a certain percentage of ALA can be converted to EPA and DHA, the latter being less.
It is Gluten Free
Gluten is often a very hard component to digest which is why many people often look for active supplements for such compounds. Flaxseed is one such component, which is gluten free and is very easy to digest and metabolise in our body.
If you are gluten intolerant and suffer from the issues related to that, consuming flaxseeds can be an amazing alternative for you.
Loaded with Amazing Antioxidants
Several active antioxidants like lignans are an integral part of the flaxseeds which is what makes this an amazing remedy to beat the oxidative stress that we suffer on a regular basis because of our hectic lifestyle.
The excess presence of free radicals is never good on our body which is why the high levels of antioxidants in the linseeds justify all the flaxseed health benefits that the nutritionists and experts rave about.
Regulates Hormonal Balance
It is the hefty presence of amazing and beneficial lignans that aid in the proper maintenance of the hormone balance in the body. Consumption of flaxseed in permissible quantities help ensure that your hormone levels are not in a haywire and are rather uniform and inadequate levels
Health Benefits of Flaxseeds
Now that we have walked ourselves through the reasons behind the importance of flaxseeds in our day to day life, let us focus on the individual benefits of flaxseed which make it a favourable option for consumption of a healthier well being.
1. Flaxseed Benefits for Weight Loss
Flaxseed has an amazing combination of healthy dietary fibers, lignans and Omega 3s which cumulatively support in the process of weight loss (R).
It is believed that the dietary fiber content in the flaxseed is what promotes the feeling of satiety because it ensures to retain the ingested food in the stomach for a longer period of time before it descends to the small intestines for further absorption.
As mentioned in the Clinical Journal of Nutrition back in 2013, good concentrations of Omega 3s in the body demote the possibility of obesity which is definitely an added bonus. Not just that, flaxseeds contain the alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which actively gets converted to EPA and DHA which are beneficial for better body metabolism, and hence, promoting weight loss (R).
What To Do?
- For flax seed flour, use 2 tablespoons per 100 pounds of your body weight
- If you are relying on supplements or oil, make sure to consult a doctor before consumption
Side Note: Avoid the consumption of this if you are pregnant or lactating.
2. Flaxseed Benefits for Constipation
One of the amazing flaxseed benefits is the fact that it is loaded with beneficial dietary fibers (R) which help in proper digestion of the food. This seed is loaded with insoluble fibers, especially mucilage which tends to bind with the water in the gut to ensure that the bolus is moist and not dried. This promotes easy expulsion of it through defecation.
What To Do?
- Mix 1-1.5 tablespoons of flaxseed powder to a 3/4th filled glass of water
- Stir the ingredients completely to make sure that everything’s properly mixed
- Drink this two to three times a day
Side Note: Make sure that you are consuming other types of fluids all throughout the day to avoid any kind of intestinal discomfort that could arise because of excess consumption of fiber through the flaxseed.
3. Flaxseed Benefits for Arthritis
The rich concentration of omega-3 fatty acids along with the rich concentration of antioxidants is definitely beneficial in the treatment of a number of signs and symptoms related to arthritis and several other diseases related to one’s bone health.
The omega 3 strengthens the bones and impact anti-inflammatory effects (R) on the body which help treat the signs and symptoms that one suffer from because of the joint aches because of different types of arthritis.
Not just that, the application of flaxseed oil also has amazing analgesic properties in reducing swelling of the joints and also fighting the screeching pain that one often experience because of the degenerative disease of arthritis (R). [Read more about Rheumatoid Arthritis]
What To Do?
- Consume flaxseed in the form of flour or even as a supplement as per the prescribed dosage
- Apply flaxseed oil on the inflamed and aching joints for amazing benefits
Side Note: There are no studies that claim the benefits of oral consumption of the flaxseed oil which is why it is best to consult a doctor before consuming it.
4. Flaxseed Benefits for Breast Growth
The presence of omega 3 fatty acids along with the rich varieties of flavonoids in the flaxseed helps in the regulated and enhanced secretion of the estrogen (R) in the body of women. This ensures to boost the enlargement of the breasts.
Even the concentration of lignans helps in the proper growth of the breast because of how it contributes to the overall hormone regulation in the body which plays a very pivotal role in the proper shaping of the breasts along with their growth.
The rich presence of active antioxidants in the flaxseeds also contributes to the prevention of breast cancer (R) which insinuates the amazing benefits it has on one’s hormonal discourse.
What To Do?
- Massage flaxseed oil on your breasts regularly once at night
- Include flaxseed (in the form of flour or other) to enjoy its benefits
5. Flaxseed Benefits for Colon Cleansing
I am hoping that you are aware of the fact that whatever you are ingesting isn’t a 100% required by our body, a percentage of it is expelled of our body. The accumulation of toxic waste in the small intestine often ends up causing inflammation and pain in the area.
Colon cleansing is often a necessity if you have been experiencing pain and discomfort near your stomach and abdominal region. The consumption of flaxseed, because of its amazing concentration of dietary fibers and other essential antioxidants, help in cleaning and washing (R) out the surface area of the colon, thus, getting rid of the unwanted toxins out of the colon.
What To Do?
The flaxseed treatment for colon cleansing should be done for three weeks.
- Week one: Mix one tablespoon of flaxseed powder with 100 ml of kefir and consume it
- Week two: Similar as week one
- Week three: Increase the amount of flaxseed from one tablespoon to one and a half tablespoon
Side Note: If you are on any kind of prescribed medication, it is best to consult your doctor first before jumping head first into this.
6. Flaxseed Benefits for Cold and Cough
The two factors that play a crucial role in the treatment of a cough and cold include that of demulcent and expectorant. While the prior helps in soothing the irritated tissues and helps hydrate and moisten the mucus membranes, expectorants (R) streamline the flow of mucus through the passages and even expel the excess out of the body.
Flaxseed has benefits of both which is why it is an amazing remedy for the treatment of the signs and symptoms related to cold (R) and cough.
What To Do?
- Boil some water in a kettle
- Pour 1-2 tablespoons of flaxseeds in a glass and fill the glass with water
- Let it steep for 5-10 minutes till you witness a slimy consistency
- Strain the liquid and add a teaspoon of honey for taste
- Drink this 1-2 times throughout the day
- Continue doing this till you witness noticeable effects on your recovery
7. Flaxseed Benefits for Diabetes
Yet another amazing flaxseed health benefits lies with its potential cure for diabetes. The World Health Organisation themselves released a paper (R) confirming the amazing benefits of flax on the management of serum glucose levels in a diabetic patient (R).
The presence of beneficial antioxidants in the flaxseeds played a very crucial role on the regulation of the oxidative stress in the body which sometimes is a key contributor in the process of insulin resistance (R) that is witnessed in a number of diabetic patients.
People who consumed a tablespoon of flaxseeds witnessed a sudden improvement in the improving of the insulin sensitivity. Not just that, it even improves the maintenance of the HbA1C levels in the body, the lack of which is often the primary reason behind the induction of diabetes (R) in people.
What To Do?
- Consume 1 tablespoons of flaxseed mixed with water, milk or anything liquid you prefer
- Drink this every day for a stretch of 1-4 weeks and get your blood glucose tested in the lab
- The consumption of flaxseed should bring down the high levels of glucose to normal
8. Flaxseed Benefits for Depression
While the cure of depression is heftily dependant on one’s emotions and willingness, there are several science backed reasons that actively contribute to the cure of depression (R) actively, the hormone serotonin being one of the primary ones behind the same.
Studies show that the combination of tryptophan along with omega-3 fatty acids is an amazing trigger for the further release of serotonin which helps calm the mind and provides the body with a positive uplift yourself from depression (R).
What To Do?
- Ground some flaxseeds in a mortar and pestle.
- Add this over your salad as a garnish and enjoy your salad and the benefits of flaxseeds
- You can even take flaxseeds oil capsules but make sure that the concentration is all verified by the doctor before your start its consumption
9. Flaxseed is High in Antioxidants
Flaxseed consists of an array of antioxidants (R), the lignans being the most promising one. It is also rich in beneficial omega 3 fatty acids which have an overall benefitting effect on the reducing the oxidative stress that the body is subjected under.
In comparison to other plant antioxidants, flaxseeds consist of 75-800 times more lignans which in itself is a breakthrough in concluding how much of an impact the anti-oxidant property of flaxseed has on the body for reviving the cells that are often destroyed because of being in direct contact of the free radicals.
What To Do?
- Drink flaxseed tea by steeping 1 tablespoon of the seeds in a glass of hot water
- You can even consume it in the form of powder or flour in your regular diet
10. Flaxseed Benefits for Digestive Health
The benefits of flaxseed are not unknown but the most pronounced flaxseed benefits are in boosting one’s digestive health. It is believed that the concentration of ALA in the flaxseed help in protecting the GI tract lining, thereby promoting one’s better digestive health.
Apart from this, flaxseeds (R) are also loaded with amazing and beneficial fibers which account it as one of the best seeds for promoting digestive health. It is rich in both soluble along with insoluble fibers which work together to ensure proper digestion of the ingested food.
What To Do?
- Eat crushed or ground flaxseeds as a part of a regular diet
- You can even add three teaspoons of flaxseed oil to 8 ounces of carrot juice and then drink it for amazing digestive health
Side Note: The high concentration of magnesium is yet another amazing benefit that helps regulate defecation and promotes proper gut movement and avoid constipation.
11. Flaxseed Benefits for Eyes
Flaxseed is enriched with beneficial vitamins and even omega-3 fatty acids which work together to ensure proper hydration and moisturisation of the eyes. This aids in preventing the issues and problems that one faces because of dry eyes.
The anti-inflammatory properties also play a crucial role in the combating against any kind of inflammation or infections in the eyes, if there are any.
What To Do?
- For hydration of the eyes, apply flaxseed oil around the perimeter of the eyes
- You can even include the consumption of flaxseed in your diet for better results
12. Flaxseed for PCOS
PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome is becoming a common disease in women because of our altered lifestyles. That being said, there are several kinds of natural remedies that contribute to the gradual treatment of the signs and symptoms related to PCOS (R).
Studies suggest that it is the salient lowering of the androgen levels (R) in the body that is promoted by the consumption of flaxseeds that help treat the signs and symptoms related to this ovarian disease. Flaxseeds reduce the levels of testosterone in the body and boost the lipid profile, the combination of which helps in ensuring the treatment of the PCOS (R).
What To Do?
- If relying on flaxseed supplements, consult the doctor for the correct prescription of the dosage
- You can also increase the consumption of the flaxseed in your diet by natural means for similar benefits
13. Flaxseed Benefits for Cardiovascular Diseases
Our heart is dependent on the supply of good fats which keep it healthy and consistently beating in a consistent rate. Omega 3s fats are one of those components which play a very crucial role in the proper maintenance of the cardiovascular health (R). It prohibits the unnecessary accumulation of cholesterol and LDL which are the primary causative reasons behind cardiac arrests, strokes and atherosclerosis.
What To Do?
- Include 1-2 tablespoons of flaxseed in your daily diet, either as a crunchy topper for your salad or as a base for your shakes and smoothies.
- One tablespoon of ground flaxseed powder consists of 1.8 gm of useful plant omega 3s fatty acids which are beneficial for one’s heart health.
14. Flaxseed Benefits for Inflammation
The anti-inflammatory properties of flaxseed play out an amazing role in not just the maintenance of the overall health of an individual but in combating any kind of swelling or inflammation that could happen to one’s self because of several underlying reasons.
Apart from the amazing anti-inflammatory properties, it also has anti-thrombotic properties which cumulatively work to cater the very best result in reducing the signs of inflammation.
Flaxseed Benefits for Hair
15. Hair Growth
Our hair follicles are prone to become weaker due to lack of care, or sometimes even because of poor lifestyle and choices. In such cases, it is seen that the natural remedies play out their best card and the flaxseed benefits are just the correct answer for that.
Flaxseed is rich in Omega 3s fatty acids which have an amazing effect on the strengthening of the hair roots and follicles, thereby contributing to better and improved hair growth. This specific natural antioxidant helps nourish the roots and hair shafts, thereby making them stronger and longer too. The omega 3s fatty acids also contribute to improving the elasticity of the hair.
What To Do?
- Warm up 2-3 tablespoons of flaxseed oil in a pan
- Make sure it’s not too hot and is of bearable temperature
- Apply this all over the scalp and leave it on for 15 minutes
- Cover your hair with a warm towel
- Wash off your hair with a mild shampoo
- Repeat this twice or thrice a week
16. Hair Breakage
The causes behind hair breakage can root from a number of underlying reasons – the lack of moisture and nourishment being the primary reason behind the same. The flaxseed benefits include strengthening the hair very efficiently which is why it is becoming a raving trend in the making.
The flaxseeds consists of Vitamin E which has useful benefits in the treatment of hair growth and strengthening, thereby preventing the chances of hair damage or breakage. It even promotes the efficacy of the blood circulation around the scalp, thereby promoting the healthy growth of hair.
What To Do?
- Much like what has been mentioned for the hair growth regime, including the application of flaxseed oil in your scalp and hair can help prevent the breakage of the hair and strengthen them at the same time.
17. Flaxseeds Benefits to Reduce Dandruff
Dandruff in hair primarily is caused because of flaking of the dried and dead skin cells on the scalp. It leaves the scalp extremely oily which is why it is best to avoid scratching your scalp and rather opt for the benefits of flaxseed oil or even the gel that you can prepare with it.
Flaxseeds help neutralize and regulate the pH levels of the scalp which is how it aids in getting rid of that pesky dandruff that is often the reason behind awkward encounters.
What To Do?
- Boil some water in a pot and add 1-2 tablespoons of flaxseed to it
- Bring this to a boil till you start seeing the water thickening
- Add a few teaspoons of lemon juice to it and turn off the heat
- Let it cool down so that it transforms into a gel-like consistency
- Apply this on your hair instead of the chemical filled gels you use
Flaxseed Benefits for Skin
18. For Acne
One of the primary reasons behind the formation of acne is because of the accumulation of oils and dirt in the pore on the face. Flaxseed, because of its amazing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, help in reducing the appearance of the acne on the face, be it the redness or even the inflammation that accompanies it.
The flaxseed benefits by unclogging these pores and helping clear out the dirt and excess oil out of the pores and clearing the inflammation too.
[Check here to know the more about Cystic Acne]
What To Do?
- As per doctor suggestions, the permissible amount of flaxseed is considered to be about 1 tablespoon 2-3 times a day or 2-3 tablespoons once a day
- Doctors suggest excess drinking of water to rid the signs and symptoms of diarrhea because of the high fiber content in this seed
19. Dry Skin
Dry skin can be a very common problem during the winters (primarily) because of the lack of hydration and moisture in the body. The flaxseed oil benefits the skin by making it smoother and suppler. It restores the lost moisture from the skin. The impressive Vitamin E content in the flaxseed also contributes to curing the flakiness of the dried skin.
What To Do?
- Mix a few drops of flaxseed oil to carrier oil
- Rub it all over the body, especially in the area that’s more prone to dryness and let it seep into the skin
- Repeat this every day (if need be)
20. Skin Lightening
Skin lightening with flaxseed might be a bit of a reach but the same has promising benefits in the process of detanning which counts for similar effects. It is believed that it is the combination of Vitamin E and its antioxidant properties that work on reversing the tan that you have picked up throughout your holiday.
What To Do?
- Take one tablespoon of flaxseed flour to a bowl
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of yoghurt to it
- Mix it thoroughly to avoid the formation of lumps
- Apply this paste on the tanned areas and leave it on for 15 minutes
- Wash off the pack with water and pat dry
- Repeat this 2-3 times a week for noticeable results
Side Note: You can even mix tomato juice or lemon juice instead of yoghurt.
21. Flaxseed Benefits for Skin Healing
Flaxseed has amazing benefits on the salient and gradual healing of the skin if you have been suffering from any form of allergy or even in the process of healing a wound from an accident. It is the rich concentration of omega 3s fatty acids which play a crucial role in this regard. It heals the wounds by nourishing and hydrating the area.
The benefits of flaxseed are also loaded with amazing anti-inflammatory properties which aids in subsiding the pain along with the inflammation.
What To Do?
- You can include and increase the intake of flaxseed in your diet to combat the problems related to skin
- For the wounds, mix a few drops of flaxseed oil in any carrier oil and apply it on your wounds or allergies
Side Note: Make sure to patch test the flaxseed oil first before you apply it on your skin to test out for any kind of allergies it may cause.
22. Skin Aging
Skin aging is signs of senescence of the cells in the body. While the normal process necessarily starts as the person starts attaining older ages, there are underlying reasons attached with lifestyle and food habits that often impact this process and results in premature aging.
Flaxseeds, with their amazing array of omega 3s fatty acids, antioxidants and lignans effectively contribute to healing the skin from within – making sure to keep the signs and symptoms of aging at bay. It also helps in toning the skin and preserving its elasticity which are the primary benefits of it for aging.
What To Do?
- Try over the counter anti-aging serums loaded with flaxseed extracts
- You can even increase the consumption of flaxseed in your diet to have the same benefits for your body
23. Skin Moisturizing
Flaxseed is loaded with amazing benefits, the hydration and moisturisation of skin being the pivotal ones. The oil with the amazing healing properties plays a beneficial role in the skin moisturisation.
What To Do?
- Opt for naturally made flaxseed creams or serums for the skin
- You can even apply the flaxseed oil as a moisturizer for your skin
Nutritional Value of Flaxseed
Flaxseeds are loaded with amazing dietary fibers and other nutritious elements which make this one of the most nutritious compounds for the consumption of better well being.
In order to explain the nutrition facts of this seed, we have compiled a chart with the necessary data.
|Compounds||Amount (per 100 gm)|
|Total Fat||42 g|
|Total Carbohydrate||29 g|
|Vitamin A||0 %|
|Vitamin C||1 %|
|Vitamin D||0 %|
|Vitamin B6||25 %|
|Vitamin B12||0 %|
Flaxseed Side Effects
Now that we have more or less covered all the positive aspects of flaxseeds and the benefits of flaxseeds, let us focus a bit on the downsides of this natural ingredient. It is believed that for the most part, the consumption of flaxseed doesn’t impose any kind of ill effect on the body.
The side effects of flaxseeds include:
- It slows down the process of blood clotting. This is the reason why this should never be paired with any kind of anticoagulant medications.
- If you suffer from a tendency of low blood glucose levels, consumption of flaxseed can aggravate the situation even further for you.
- Because of its high fiber content, it adversely worsens the obstruction for someone who suffers from the narrowed oesophagus, existing bowel obstruction or even for inflamed intestines.
- Due to the fact that flaxseed has estrogen like properties, it often tends to be the cause behind the majority of the hormone sensitive cancers like that of breast cancer or ovarian cancer.
- Increases the level of triglycerides in the body
- It is responsible for lowering the blood pressure, especially the diastolic pressure which is even worse.
Where to Buy Flaxseeds?
Flaxseeds have gained a lot of popularity because of their astounding benefits which is what has paved its way for spiked demands in the market.
While flax seeds are not easily available in the stores, if you can’t get your hands on it from there, try out online sellers for it and I am pretty sure you won’t be disappointed for it.
Food for Thought With Some FAQs
1. Can You Eat Raw Flax Seed?
A: No, this is one of the most important factors you need to keep in mind when it comes to flaxseed is the fact that you can’t eat it on its own. It should either be roasted or cooked in a certain form because otherwise, it is toxic for the health.
2. Does Flaxseed Cause Gas?
A: The answers to these are a probable Yes because it depends on the person and the kind of lifestyle they lead. If you have a labored digestion and you are eating flaxseed uncontrollably, without any proper physical activity supporting that, there are chances that you will experience gas or acidity.
3. Does Flaxseed Affect Fertility?
A: Flaxseeds are loaded with essential omega 3s fatty acids which are actually beneficial for the body and also for boosting one’s fertility. So, it does affect the fertility of an individual but in a positive way.