In this article, you can learn about flax seed nutrition, side effects and most importantly, top health benefits of flax seeds.
Flax seed was recorded to be commonly cultivated in areas near the Mediterranean Sea from 4000 to 2000 BC, but its first cultivation needs to be traced further back. Nowadays, the leading producers of flax seed are Canana, Russia and France.
The color of flax seeds is yellow or brown.
Flax seed Nutrition
100 grams of flax seeds provide about 534 calories. Fat makes up for the highest content of flax seeds, followed by carbs and protein with 42%, 29% and 18%, respectively.
Specifically, the majority of fat in flax seeds (73 percent) is polyunsaturated fatty acids, including omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (1) (ALA). 27 percent belongs to monounsaturated and saturated fatty acids (2).
The amount of ALA in flax seeds is recorded to be the highest among seeds. Despite its importance, ALA cannot be produced inside our body and the only way to absorb it is to consume foods. Therefore, it is easy to understand the significance of flax seeds. In addition, its content of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids is beneficial to prevent a lof of diseases.
95 percent of carbs in flax seeds is fiber, which constitutes many health benefits of flax seeds.
Although known as a rich source of amino acids, flax seed does not provide lysine. As a result, it cannot be regarded as the sole source of protein in your daily diet. However, other amino acids in flax seeds bring great effects on our health.
Furthermore, the richness of vitamins and minerals of flax seeds should not be underestimated, from vitamin B1, magnesium to copper and phosphorus.
Benefits of Flax Seeds
Because of its nutritional value, flax seed has a lot of health benefits and you should be well aware of them in order to know how to make the best use of this ingredient.
Below are top 5 health benefits of flax seeds.
1. Weight Loss
One of the best benefits of flax seeds is to support your weight loss program. A large amount of soluble fiber can be found in flax seeds, which is responsible for the stickiness when you mix them with water. The consumption of these seeds will enable you to feel full for a longer period of time, which reduces the amount of calories you receive per day. According to a study, flax seeds can make the result of weight loss diet 25-46 percent better (3).
The most common problems related to the digestive system are constipation and diarrhea, which may put your health at risk. And flax seeds are one of the best home remedies to deal with the two problems. Furthermore, insoluble fiber present in flax seeds serves as a laxative and thus, they can help you get rid of constipation quickly.
3. Heart Health
Thanks to its richness of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, benefits of flax seeds on the heart are various and important. According to human studies, when flax seeds are consumed on a daily basis, the cholesterol level will reduce by 6-11 percent.
In addition, the high content of ALA in flax seeds can reduce the possibility that you experience heart diseases, such as stroke or heart attacks. Flax seeds also have positive impacts on the blood pressure as well.
Another among the best benefits of flax seeds is to reduce the risk of many types of cancer significantly. When the level of sex hormones increases in overweight women, they are more likely to suffer from breast cancer. And flax seeds are an effective way to prevent this scenario. In addition, flax seeds also play an important role in the prevent against prostate cancer (4).
5. Treating Diabetes
The World Health Organization indicated that in 2012, 10 percent of the population suffered from diabetes. For those who experience type 2 diabetes, flax seeds might be a great support for their treatment. According to some studies, the consumption of 10-20 grams of flax seeds on a daily basis might lead to a reduction by 19.7 percent in the blood sugar level. Despite the fact that the result is never proved scientifically true, flax seeds have been recommended to deal with type 2 diabetes for years.
Side Effects of Flax Seeds
You no longer need to worry about allergic reactions when consuming flax seeds because it is very rare. However, flax seeds can have many unwanted effects on your health if they are used not reasonably.
First, some people might not be used to a high consumption of fiber; as a result, when flax seeds are taken in too fast, they might experience some digestive systems, such as bloating or nausea.
Secondly, pregnant women are not really recommended to consume flax seeds because of the uncertainty about its effects. Some researches on animals indicate that flax seeds might have negative influence on the growth of the babies.
On the other hand, when too many flax seeds are consumed, the excessive amount of omega-3 fatty acids will cause blood thinning effects.