Flaxseed, also referred to as linseed, is truly a nutritional powerhouse that can benefit you in a lot of different ways. Despite its small size, this powerful plant food is packed with essential vitamins, antioxidants and nutrients that help prevent diabetes, stroke, cancer and heart disease.
What’s more, consuming these seeds can boost metabolism and help with weight loss due to its very high fiber content.
History Of Flaxseeds
Flaxseeds have been used by human beings since ancient times. As most historians have suggested, these seeds were cultivated in 3,000 BC by the Babylonians.
They were also used by ancient civilizations as food and medicine to treat a wide variety of conditions and disorders despite the fact that back in those days, there weren’t any explanations to backup its effectiveness.
As a matter of fact, ancient civilizations believed that these seeds were so strong that even the great Charlemagne passed a law that required all his subjects to consume them.
While today we don’t have tyrannical leaders who can order us to eat them (thankfully), science does exist to explain their health benefits, and the medical community has research to support what King Charlemagne had assumed.
Flaxseeds In Modern Times
The demand for flaxseed continues to grow each year as a result of the numerous health benefits offered by this tiny nutritional powerhouse. From oatmeal to frozen waffles and crackers, and oil, the flaxseed is found in many types of foods and has a variety of uses in recipes and healthy cooking.
According to the Flax Council, over 200 new products made from flaxseeds were launched in 2010 in Canada and the United States alone.
The Health Benefits Of Consuming Flaxseed
The beneficial and therapeutic properties of flaxseed have yet to be completely understood by scientists and medical experts. A lot of them have claimed that they lack concrete evidence to support the seed’s health benefits. Still, there has been an influx of research studies suggesting that linseed is indeed the wonder food and a nutritional powerhouse that many have thought it to be, especially when it comes to supporting heart health.
Most plant foods have some phytonutrients called lignans, which are, fiber-related polyphenols that act like phytoestrogens, and provide valuable antioxidant and fiber mimicking benefits. Recent research has ranked flaxseeds as the #1 source of lignans.
In fact, flaxseeds have 7 times more lignans than the runner ups, which are, sunflower seeds, 475 times as many as cashews and a whopping 3,200 times as many as peanuts.
Flaxseeds Serve The Human Body
- Cancer prevention
Consuming flaxseeds can help prevent breast, colon and prostate cancers, according to medical experts. Basically, it helps prevent the development of cancerous cells because linseeds contain high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids that disrupt the malignant cells from sticking to healthy body cells. Furthermore, flaxseeds have lignans with antiangiogenic properties, which, impede tumors from creating additional blood vessels.
- Reduces the risks of cardiovascular diseases
Consuming plants with omega-3 fatty acids can aid your cardiovascular health through a variety of mechanisms, including regulating the heartbeat and preventing inflammatory actions. Also, recent studies have confirmed that eating flaxseeds can lower blood pressure. These health perks may be caused by both the amino acid groups, as well as, the omega-3 fatty acids found in these seeds.
- Skin tissue protection
Researchers from University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine revealed that a healthy diet that includes linseeds can protect the skin tissue from getting impaired by radiation. These researchers have concluded that dietary linseeds, already known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, can work both as a protector and a mitigator to counter radiation pneumonopathy.
- Aids in the prevention of diabetes
Preliminary research has also suggested that daily consumption of flaxseed’s lignans may modestly improve blood sugar levels. In addition, daily flaxseed intake encourages glycemic control in females with pre-diabetes, as well as, in obese men.
- Flaxseed is a whole grain
Whole grains provide whole nutrition from the grain without stripping any vital nutrients away as is the case with processed grains. Flaxseeds have a very high amount of fiber, which, has numerous health benefits. It facilitates digestive health, softens stool and maintains bowel health. It also lowers cholesterol, controls blood sugars and is essential for healthy weight management.
Flaxseed Nutrition Facts
Amount per 50 grams (about 10 tablespoons)
- Calories: 534
- Total Fat: 42 grams ( 8 grams of monounsaturated fat, 29 grams of polyunsaturated fat, and 3.7 grams of saturated fat)
- Cholesterol: 0 grams
- Sodium: 30 milligrams
- Potassium: 813 milligrams
- Total Carbohydrates: 29 grams ( 1.6 grams of sugar and 27 grams of dietary fiber)
- Vitamin A: 0%
- Vitamin C: 1%
- Calcium: 25%
- Iron: 31%
- Vitamin D: 0%
- Vitamin B-6:25 %
- Vitamin B-12: 0 %
- Magnesium: 98%
Flaxseeds are considered very low on the Glycemic Index and so are ideal for those worried about or diagnosed with diabetes.
To Eat And Use These Seeds
- It is best that you buy these seeds as a whole, and grind them fresh to add to various recipes and meals.
- Sprinkle them onto cold or hot cereal.
- Add the ground seeds to homemade bread, cookie and muffin recipes.
- Add ground linseeds to pump up your breakfast shake’s nutritional volume.
- Sprinkle on steamed vegetables, to give them a nuttier flavor and an added boost of fiber, potassium and magnesium.
- Flaxseed supplements can be purchased and are used for cardiovascular health and other benefits.
- Organic dietary flaxseed oil can also be purchased for use in meals, and recipes. This is a good alternative for vegetarians and vegans to get their daily intake of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. It can be used in salad dressing, sauces, with yogurt, in protein shakes and smoothies. It also works great as an alternative to butter on potatoes, toast and other starches.
The best place to store these seeds is in the freezer. Basically, the freezer extends shelf life for up to a year and retains nutritional properties.
A Final Word
With its numerous health benefits, it is no surprise many consider flaxseed as a nutritional powerhouse and a super food. But, always take note that there is no instant solution or magic pill to improving your overall health. What really matters most is making consistent healthy dietary choices.