For thousands upon thousands of years, flax has been used both as a food and in the textile field. It hasn’t been until the past couple of decades, however, that people have really discovered just how beneficial the seeds within the flax plant can be. Flaxseed is a great source of many different nutrients and produce an oil that has become more common to treat ailments and even add taste to certain foods.
Flaxseed has a little bit of spice to it compared to some of the other culinary seeds of the world, a taste that has been popular in certain regions. You don’t have to eat a ton of flaxseed at a time to get some of the great health benefits, but there’s a chance you aren’t eating any at all right now. To change your mind so that you add more flaxseed to your diet, let’s take a look at the nutritional breakdown and proven health benefits you get from flaxseed.
Nutrition of Flaxseed
Flaxseeds aren’t exactly the most low calorie food at 150 calories per ounce, but you’ll get a wide range of nutritional value that will really help your body. That serving of flaxseed delivers 10 percent of your daily recommendation for protein, as well as more than 30 percent of the recommended dietary fiber intake. In the vitamin department, thiamin is actually the big one at more than 30 percent, which can be hard to come by in foods.
Other vitamins in smaller amounts (around five to 10 percent daily value) include vitamin K, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 and folate. Out of the minerals, flaxseed provides more than one third of your manganese recommendation and a quarter of your magnesium recommendation. Phosphorus, copper and selenium are all between 10 and 20 percent, and flaxseed is also a good source of calcium, iron, potassium and zinc. To top it off, flaxseed also has no cholesterol, very little saturated fat and more than 6,300 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids.
One thing that’s immediately noticeable about flaxseed is the high amount of fiber content, with more than 30 percent of your daily recommendation. That high amount of fiber increases the amount of probiotics in your digestive system, getting rid of the more harmful bacteria within. If you have problems with constipation, diarrhea or other discomfort, you might not be getting enough fiber in your diet.
This also helps to prevent your chances for diseases within the digestive system that include colon cancer and Crohn’s disease. That amount of fiber also helps you to feel more full throughout the day so that you don’t have as many food cravings, as well as increasing your metabolism to make flaxseed a good weight loss tool. Eating one or two ounces per week is a great way to get a solid base of fiber that you need.
Flaxseed has been one of the trendier foods in the health world over the past few years, and a lot of that has to do with new studies that are revealing just what flaxseed can do for your health. Among the most surprising was what flaxseed does for the heart. Research found that flaxseed lowers your cholesterol levels by using the soluble fiber to eliminate both fat and cholesterol from the blood stream.
Your body then gets rid of the cholesterol and creates more bile so that you can prevent cholesterol from coming back. The increased overall heart health from eating more flaxseed leads to a lower risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke. It’s also been shown that postmenopausal women see a huge drop in their chances of heart disease by eating more flaxseed in their diets.
We touched on how eating flaxseed in your diet can help you to lose weight, but for some people, an appearance enhancement might be more needed in the skin department. Flaxseed contains some very healthy fats and plenty of nutrients that make your skin look better by promoting more moisture and getting rid of flaky and dead skin.
This is why flaxseed has been recommended for those that suffer from skin problems such as eczema or acne as you’ll find more balance in your skin through flaxseed. Flaxseed benefits also apply to the hair as your scalp will be healthier, promoting more hair growth. Even if you don’t want to eat more flaxseed in your diet, using the oil on your skin and hair will also give you these tremendous benefits.
It’s estimated that nearly 40 percent of people will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime, and sometimes it can’t be prevented due to certain aspects of genetics. Still, you can do your best to prevent certain forms of cancer from appearing, and eating more flaxseed is one of the ways to do that. Thanks to the high amount of omega-3 fatty acids, you can drastically reduce your chances of cancers that include colon, prostate and breast cancers.
Research has been able to back this claim up, and a lot of it has to do with the lignans that are found within flaxseed, as well. Since flaxseed can help to balance your hormones, that slows down the growth of certain cancer cells, while there are enough antioxidants to attack free radicals that cause any form of cancer. Many foods have been tabbed as having anticancer properties, and flaxseed has the research to back it up.
One of the best things that you can do for your brain is adding more omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. Flaxseed often gets overlooked in lieu of seafood in terms of omega-3 content, so it shouldn’t be ignored. With more than 6,300 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids per serving, flaxseed can help keep your brain healthy for years to come. Alzheimer’s disease is one of those neurological problems that happens well too often in the elderly, so getting the right amount of omega-3 acids is essential to keeping your brain’s health sustained.
Summing it Up
Since we’re talking about the actual seed instead of the oil from flaxseed, there isn’t too much to be concerned about. Research hasn’t found many side effects with flaxseed, but you’ll want to make sure that you don’t eat raw flaxseed, as it can be poisonous for many people. Naturally, women who are pregnant or nursing should speak with a doctor before eating flaxseed, as it could cause some potential interactions.
Those with blood disorders (that even include diabetes) or have gastrointestinal obstruction should also steer clear from flaxseed because of the side effects and interactions with medications. While this does cover quite a few people, a majority of those out there won’t have any troubles with eating flaxseed. It’s also not something you need to eat everyday, as you can add flaxseed once or twice per week to your diet to enjoy all of the fantastic health benefits!