Flaxseeds, also known as linseeds, are considered to be one of the most powerful plant foods on the planet.
It has been around for thousands of years to add fibre, fats and protein to diets when these nutrients were unavailable or sparse.
Despite flaxseeds possessing a rare blend of nutrients found in few other foods, it is rarely a staple part of the modern diet.
Let’s explore some of the benefits flaxseeds can offer and you can decide for yourself if it is worthy of a place in your nutritional inventory:
Flaxseeds Benefits for Health
Flaxseeds are an excellent source of B vitamins, manganese and minerals such as magnesium, phosphorous and copper.
It also comes with an abundance of dietary fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, and phytochemicals called lignans.
Lignans are the chemical compounds present in plant based foods.
They act as potent antioxidants to help mitigate cell damage caused by free radicals during the natural process of oxidation.
Some studies have highlighted a positive association with high intakes of lignans and a reduced risk of cancer, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.
Flaxseeds can help to reduce levels of cholesterol and low density lipoproteins (LDL), which can lead to a reduced risk of heart disease.
LDL is often referred to as the ‘bad cholesterol’ because increased levels of it leads to a build up on artery walls, which can further lead to potential blockages and heart attack.
Flaxseeds are rich in alpha-linolenic acid, which is an omega-3 fatty acid.
Omega-3 fatty acids create anti-inflammatory prostaglandins, which are understood to assist with reducing inflammation associated with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, migraines, asthma, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.
Flaxseeds Benefits for Weight Loss
Flaxseeds are very useful when it comes to assisting with weight loss efforts and weight maintenance.
A good combination of healthy fats and dietary fibre means we can feel satisfied for longer and experience improved blood sugar control.
Dietary fibre will slow down the absorption of food, leading to a steady release of energy and a healthier, more efficient digestive system.
Flaxseeds Benefits for Exercise
Athletes that have to compete within a specific weight category can obviously benefit from using flaxseed to help with their fat loss efforts.
Flaxseeds have been suggested to improve mood and energy levels, which can help with exercise motivation and commitment.
Omega-3 fatty acids are also believed to improve an athlete’s response time due to an improved condition of the brain and central nervous system.
The anti-inflammatory effects are also a great benefit too as they can help to speed up the repair and recovery time of muscles between sessions or competition.
Recommended Flaxseed Intake?
A recommended and sensible daily amount of flaxseed would be 1-2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed, or 1 teaspoon of flax oil.
Flax oil will not provide the fibre and lignan benefits of ground flaxseed.
More than 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed can cause digestive issues such as constipation and bloating, so it is important not to have too much in one day.
Ground flaxseeds are a better choice as it is easier to digest.
Flaxseeds Nutritional Facts
Two tablespoons of ground flaxseed provides:
60 calories | 4 g carbohydrate | 3 g protein | 4.9 g fat | 4 g dietary fibre | 20 mg calcium | 0.72 mg iron | 4.8 g omega-3 fattyacids | 0.52 g manganese | 0.06 g tryptophan | 135 mg Phospherous | 0.26 mg copper
Suggested Serving Ideas
Why not try the following ideas:
- Sprinkle ground flaxseed into your porridge oats with skimmed milk and honey at breakfast.
- Add sprinkles of flaxseed to nutritional shakes and supplements
- Sprinkle ground flaxseed over your vegetables.
- Add ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil to a smoothie
- Mix ground flaxseed with honey and spread on toast instead of using butter.