What are the Benefits of Flaxseed
Let’s take a look at the benefits of flaxseed.
Imagine a wide expanse of land, filled with flax, swaying lightly in a warm breeze, it may look similar to a field of wheat. Harvesters bend low to gather the flax, which will soon be spun into linen-a type of cloth.
It may be surprising for some to know that flax, also known as linseed, dates back to the Ancient Egyptians, who not only cultivated flax to make linen, but also for the flaxseed, which they utilized for medicinal purposes and food.
The Benefits of Flaxseeds Explained:
Flaxseed, and the nutrients within, have recently demonstrated some encouraging results when individuals consume them on a regular basis.
Currently, flaxseeds are being scientifically researched for their medicinal value. Some of the benefits of flaxseed may include
- aiding in cardiovascular health (CVD)
- reducing tumor growth in certain types of cancers
- relieving mild symptoms of menopause.
As explained above, the plant that flaxseed originates from, “flax”, has a dual purpose.
Flax is harvested for the plant fibers used in making linen, in addition it is harvested for the seeds that will eventually either be ground or kept whole, for use in foods.
Furthermore, the flaxseeds are often used to produce oil, also known as linseed oil.
The benefits of flaxseed are significant because of the nutrition they contain, even in small servings. A single ounce, or approximately 2 tablespoons, of flaxseed contains:
*RDV-Recommended Daily Value
1. Calories 150
2. Saturated Fat 1 gram (5% RDV)
3. Carbohydrates 8 grams (3% RDV)
4. Fiber 8 grams (31% RDV)
5. Protein 5.1 grams (10% RDV)
6. Calcium 71.4 milligrams (7% RDV)
7. Iron 1.6 milligrams (9% RDV)
8. Omega 3 Fatty Acids 6.3 grams (RDV varies person to person, the average person needs 0.5 grams per day)
*Please note that the above is based on a 2,000 calorie diet, and may or may not meet your nutritional needs.
*The Omega 3 Fatty Acids in flaxseed can only be absorbed by the body when ground prior to consumption.
It is a proven fact that fiber aids in general digestive health, especially in regard to constipation.
Flaxseeds contain soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber has been known to lower glucose levels, as well as blood cholesterol levels. Those who suffer from constipation, and/or irregular bowel movements will benefit most from insoluble fiber. This type of fiber stimulates the digestive tract and makes passing stools easier and more regular.
Protein is necessary for humans to maintain good health. Additionally, protein must be consumed in appropriate amounts in order for the body to make and repair new cells.
Flaxseeds contain plant protein, which is a good source of essential amino acids.
Flaxseed also contains copious amounts of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a kind of omega 3 fatty acid, and lignans, a group of chemicals found in plants, such as flax.
ALA has been tested in clinical trials that showed promising results. For instance, in certain clinical trials, ALA was found to reduce the incidence of hypertension and lower systolic blood pressure, as well as reducing inflammation in certain inflammatory diseases, like arthritis.
Within lignans are phytonutrients and phytoestrogens. Lignans are much like the hormone estrogen, and research studies on menopausal women found that 40 grams of flaxseed works as well as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in regard to alleviating mild menopausal symptoms.
In another study, woman who had received a recent diagnosis of breast cancer, ate muffins containing 25 grams of flaxseed daily, over the course of 40 days, and the results showed that it is within the realm of possibility that daily consumption of flaxseed can reduce breast cancer tumors in woman.
What’s more, is in other animal studies with lignans, colon tumor cell growth was reduced; however, more research with human studies is required before the results are conclusive.
How to Gain the Benefits of Flaxseed:
There is a myriad of recipes that incorporate flaxseed, which most health professionals recommend people grind before eating. The reason for this is that without grinding flaxseed prior to consumption, one cannot acquire all the rich health benefits.
Eating whole flaxseed will usually result in a lack of proper digestion. Eating ground flaxseed is far easier for the body to digest, and allows for better and more efficient absorption of the nutrients it contains.
The following is a list of ways to incorporate flaxseed into a daily diet:
1. Ground flaxseed is an excellent substitute for egg in many different kinds of baking recipes, such as muffins, cakes, quick breads, and cookies. To substitute flaxseeds for an egg, mix 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons water, or another liquid.
2. A teaspoon of ground flaxseed can be added to sandwich condiments.
3. Breakfast is a great time to experience the benefits of flaxseed. Add a couple teaspoons of ground flaxseed to any kind of cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, or smoothies.
4. Sprinkle a bit of ground flaxseed on top of meals to add a mild nutty flavor that goes well with a vast assortment of dishes-from vegetables, meats, to various types of rice.
5. Get creative with flaxseed. Ground flaxseed is nearly unrecognizable in most foods, which means a person can experiment with different ways to add flaxseed to their daily diet.
6. Flaxseed oil can be used in place of other cooking oils. For instance, one can drizzle some flaxseed oil on a salad or pasta dish.
Important Notes About Storing and Using Flaxseeds:
Once a person purchases flaxseed, whether ground or whole, it’s imperative they store it correctly, in order to obtain the benefits of flaxseeds in the best possible way.
Most individuals prefer to purchase whole flaxseed and then later grind it, in order to maintain maximum freshness. With whole flaxseed, one can grind flaxseed when they intend to use it, which is more economical because whole flaxseed has a longer shelf life.
Various flaxseed distributors recommend storing unopened, vacuum-sealed containers of whole flax seed in a cool, dark place. Doing so will help it last for up to 2 years.
Once a container of whole flaxseed is opened, it’s important to refrigerate or freeze it. This will help it last for up to 1 year.
Any unused ground flaxseed should be refrigerated or frozen. If kept in optimal conditions, ground flaxseed has a storage life of approximately 6 months.
Investing in a small coffee bean grinder would be money well spent if an individual plans to grind their own whole flaxseed.
The benefits of flaxseed may have a long history with ancient civilizations, who used it as a medicine and for making linen clothing; however, it’s going to take further research and study before flaxseed is proven to be an effective means of combatting certain kinds of disease.
Even so, it’s a fact that flaxseed contains all sorts of vitamins, minerals, and great nutrition that can help maintain a healthy body and a higher quality of life!
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