Flaxseeds, which are also referred to as common flax or linseed, are small seeds that are brown, tan, or golden in color. Flaxseeds have been grown and consumed for thousands of years and are a staple throughout history including ancient Babylon, Aztecs, Rome, and even the Egyptians. Flaxseeds are one of the most nutrient-rich sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, lignans (antioxidants), and are packed with minerals such as magnesium, thiamine, and manganese. Flaxseeds can also be eaten in a variety of ways such as unground whole seeds, sprouted and ground into flaxseed meal, or processed into flaxseed oil. With the various ways to include Flaxseed in your diet, it’s no surprise why Flaxseeds popularity has risen recently.
Here are 5 benefits of consuming Flaxseeds:
- High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Flaxseeds contain an Omega-3 Fatty Acid called ALA, Alpha-linolenic acid. ALA is an n-3 fatty acid, which is one of two essential fatty acids that can only be acquired through diet. ALA has been shown to reduce many health complications including reducing inflammation, reducing the risk of CHD (Coronary Heart Disease), improving platelet function, improving irregular heartbeat, protecting arterial functions, and promoting healthy endothelial cell function.
- Low Carbs, High Fiber: Flaxseeds are low in carbohydrates, while being extremely high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. Within Flaxseeds there are prominent levels of mucilage gum content. This gum is a gel-forming fiber that is water-soluble and moves easily through your gastrointestinal tract undigested. Since the fiber in Flaxseed is unable to breakdown in the digestive tract this may help with fat loss, reducing sugar cravings, and colon detoxification.
- Supports Healthy Skin, Hair, and Nails: As mentioned before, Flaxseeds have high levels of ALA. ALA fats provide essential fatty acids as well as B vitamins which can reduce inflammation that causes dryness, flakiness, and irritation. Since there is such a high concentration of ALA this can make your hair, skin, and nails stronger and less susceptible to damage.
- Lowers Cholesterol: With high levels of soluble fiber, flaxseeds are able to isolate and trap fat and cholesterol, so they are not able to be absorbed in the digestive track. Soluble fiber is also able to trap bile which is made from cholesterol in the gallbladder. When bile is excreted through the digestion, the body will produce more bile while simultaneously using up extra cholesterol in the blood system, ultimately lowering cholesterol levels overall.
- Aids in Digestive Health: With ALA being so prominent in Flaxseeds, one of the most significant benefits of consuming Flaxseeds is its ability to support and aid in the digestive process. ALA has been shown to help reduce inflammation and protect the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. Additionally, the high fiber content found in Flaxseeds fuel good gut bacteria in your colon, therefore getting rid of waste from your body.
While the above are just some of the benefits Flaxseeds naturally has to offer, Flaxseeds can also help aid in weight loss, reduce menopausal and hormonal imbalances, and they could potentially prevent certain types of cancer. Flaxseeds are also naturally gluten-free and can be an essential addition to those who suffer from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Flaxseeds popularity has risen in recent years thanks to becoming staples in the trending Paleo and Ketogenic communities. As you can see, there are many great ways to add Flaxseeds to your diet. These include adding them to a smoothie, yogurt, or granola. Or you can bake cookies, bread, or muffins with them.