Benefits of Flaxseed
Flaxseed is a popular traditional food and remedy and is one of the oldest crops in the world. Also known as linseed, it has been cultivated in ancient Egypt, Babylon and China. The Latin name for flax means ‘the most useful‘ because of the benefits. Flaxseeds are rich in dietary fiber, manganese, vitamin B1 and omega-3 fatty acids. It is proven source of healthy fat, antioxidants and fiber. It is believed that flaxseeds can help lower the risk of diabetes, cancer, stroke and heart disease and other unwanted diseases.
Don’t be confused if you are offered different types of flaxseed on the market. There are two types: golden and brown flaxseed. They both contain the same number of omega-3 fatty acids which are good for the heart and the brain. Consuming flaxseed is excellent for vegans, since they don’t eat fish rich in omega-3. Faxseeds are very low in cholesterol and sodium.
Also flaxseed is one of the best sources of lignans which contain plant estrogen and have antioxidant qualities. Flaxseeds are rich in soluble fiber and insoluble fiber as well. The soluble fiber dissolves in water and helps to lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels, while insoluble fiber helps the digestive system run properly. Overall, the flaxseeds’ nutritional profile is almost perfect.
It is believed that consuming flaxseed may help protect against cancer, since it is preventing the growth of cancerous cells. This happens because omega-3 fatty acids found in flaxseed disrupt malignant cells from clinging onto other intact cells, while lignans stop tumors from forming new blood vessels.
Flaxseed has cholesterol-lowering benefit and is also helping to prevent hot flashes among women in menopause. Consuming flaxseed improves glycemic control in obese people. Thus, flaxseed is improving the blood sugar as well. Other well known benefits of flaxseeds are protection of the skin tissue from being damaged by radiation and it reduces risks of lung disease.
Components in flaxseed may reduce the inflammation that accompanies certain illnesses as well, like asthma or Parkinson’s disease. In other words, reducing inflammation means preventing heart attack and strokes. Some claim that flaxseed can help in normalizing the heartbeat, it is useful in treating arrhythmia and it prevents hardening of the arteries. Overall, flaxseed is considered to have great role in the traditional home medicine targeted at lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Tips for Improving the Use of Flaxseed
It is widely spread claim that it is far better to consume flaxseed than flax oil, since flax oil contains just part of the seed and thus not all the components are included while consuming flax oil. It’s really OK to sprinkle flaxseed on top of your salad but consuming flaxseed in a ground form is the only way to get all the benefits from it. Whole flaxseeds can sometimes pass through the digestive tract undigested. You can use ground flaxseed as flour. It can be added in dough, cake mixtures or in your oatmeal. It can be mixed with liquid and food. As for the flax oil, use it as it is, cold. It can be a fine addition to salad dressings but remember, flax oil is not intended for cooking.
For more information on how to get the most of flaxseed check out our simple and healthy flaxseed recipes.