Update: 08-08-2022 | Facts check by Nutritionist
Move over chia, here we’re taking it back to basics with the good old flaxseed. Used for centuries, flax is one of the oldest crops cultivated by man. But did you know that this surprising tiny seed is actually a weight-loss warrior? That’s right, not only a nutritional superfood, the benefits of flax seeds for weight loss have already been discovered by many women around the globe. Read on to uncover the surprising secrets flaxseed has to offer for yourself…
Why is Flaxseed a Superfood?
The humble flaxseed (which you may also know as linseed) might not look like much, but this tiny, hard seed is a nutritional powerhouse. Flaxseeds are the richest known source of plant-based omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids, in addition to providing manganese, dietary fiber, healthy fat, and some B vitamins. Flaxseeds contain everything your body needs to survive and thrive and elevate the flax to one of the healthiest superfoods out there. There are also so many flaxseed benefits we will know gradually.
Health Benefits of Flax Seeds
The health benefits of flax seeds have been renowned for centuries. King Charles the Great even passed a law requiring his subjects to eat them! So just why are these little seeds oh so powerful?
- Flax Seeds Are Loaded With Nutrients
Highly nutritious, flaxseeds contain calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, and vitamin B1, among other essential vitamins and nutrients. Flaxseed powder and flaxseed flour are available in the market. Eating flax seeds is very helpful and is considered a healthy eating habit.
- Flax Seeds Are High in Omega 3 Fats
Flaxseeds are one of the best animal-free sources of Omega 3 fatty acids. In flax, this omega compound is called ‘Alpha Linoleic Acid’ or ALA. ALA is essential for healthy cell, eye, and brain growth. There are even studies linking ALA omega fats with reduced susceptibility to degenerative brain diseases some forms of dementia such as AD (Alzheimer’s Disease), Parkinson’s Disease, etc.,
- Flax Seeds Are Rich in Dietary Fiber
Scientific research has shown that dietary fiber can aid weight loss because it slightly slows the absorption of carbohydrates – thus lowering blood sugar levels after a meal. Adequate levels of dietary fiber are necessary for proper digestion and elimination, and each serving of flaxseeds will provide you with about 2.8g soluble fiber.
- Flax Seeds May Lower Blood Pressure
This is particularly significant for those with already high blood pressure, as the fiber in flaxseeds will help lower that so-called ‘bad’ cholesterol level.
- Flax Seeds May Help The Heart And Bones
Flax intake has been shown to support healthy bones and cardiovascular health due to its magnesium content keeping bones strong – particularly important for women over 45 who may be at risk of osteoporosis.
- Flax Seeds Can Reduce Hair Loss.
Flax seeds are a rich source of lignans – antioxidants, which may act as phytoestrogens, promoting strong and healthy hair growth. The omega 3 fatty acid compounds are also essential to healthy hair follicles to keep your hair strong and shiny.
- Flax Seeds Can Aid Weight Loss and Improve Metabolism
Ground flaxseed is the most commonly used plant source of lignans, which are a type of phytoestrogen found in plants that reduce one’s risk for various diseases and improve metabolism. In addition to its various other benefits, Flaxseeds can be used to help boost nutrition while losing weight naturally!
Benefits of Flax Seeds for Weight Loss
Not only healthy, adding a serving of flaxseeds into your diet is a great way to lose weight. The flax has been a popular food amongst dieters for years – let’s check out the health benefit of flax meal.
- May control weight by stimulating hormone production that leads to satiety (that is, feeling full). This may be an important consideration if, like us, you tend toward overeating – especially with high-calorie low fiber snacks like chips and candy.
- Helps stimulate digestion and enhance the release of bile into your system. This will also reduce bloating and leave you feeling lighter and with more energy. It may also have the bonus of lowering cholesterol which is essential for regulating blood sugar levels.
- Helps keep fat away and maintain healthy heart tissue by reducing inflammation and maintaining heart rhythm health, as well as lowering triglycerides (bad fat in the bloodstream).
- Contains soluble fiber that can help you feel full longer so that fewer “empty calories” – like those found in soda and other sugary snacks are consumed.
How to Use Flax Seeds
So, now you know all about the wonderful benefits of flaxseeds for weight loss… but how should you eat them?
Well, because of their high fiber content it’s important to drink plenty of water when you are consuming flax. Most health care specialists recommend that you drink 2.7 liters of water a day, and you may like to include an extra cup when you are using flax. This will also help keep you feeling full, reduce your appetite and assist in weight management.
Whole vs Ground?
You may have also noticed that flaxseeds come in two forms. In the grocery store, you’ll usually find not only whole Flaxseeds but also ground Flaxseeds, also known as Flaxseed Meal.
Most larger health food stores will even offer flaxseed oil, however, this does not contain all the benefits of the whole seed and will comparatively lack all the goodies like omega-3, lignans, and fiber. It is also higher in calories and fat and overconsumption can lead to weight gain.
So, whole seeds our ground seeds?
The truth is, our bodies actually can’t digest whole flaxseeds all that well. To get all the important nutrients and benefits out of the flaxseed, they need to be consumed crushed. The solution? Ground flaxseed of course!
But don’t worry if you can’t find any in your local grocery or health food store. Ground flax can be made at home pretty easily using a clean coffee grinder or a good old mortar and pestle, if you want to get in an extra workout, that is!
Flax also has a mild, nutty taste that won’t overpower your food and work well in pretty much anything.
Try making flax a part of every meal.
- Flaxseeds go great sprinkled on muesli, cereal, or granola
- Are a delicious addition to yogurt or kefir
- Work well in an overnight oat or acai bowl
- Baking muffins, pancakes, or waffles? Why not add a spoon of flax to the batter?
- Can be used as an alternative to chia seeds in most recipes
- A healthy smoothie can become even healthier with an added serving of these superfood seeds
- Scatter some in your next salad for a satisfying crunch
- Thicken soups or stews with a spoon of flaxseeds
- Put some in your next PB & J for added texture and omega-3
- Hummus with added flax makes a great snack
- Make crunchy flaxseed topping for your next casserole or baking dish
- Crumb fish or other lean meats in ground flaxseeds instead of breadcrumbs for a keto-friendly alternative
How Many Flaxseeds Per Day?
So just how much raw flax seeds should you be eating to get all those amazing benefits? The US Department of Agriculture recommends that women consume about 2 to 3 tablespoons (30 grams) for optimal health benefits… that’s around 140 – 270 whole flaxseeds every week! Just remember, everything works best in moderation and flaxseeds are no exception.
Side Effects of Flaxseed?
So, are there any side effects of eating flaxseed that you need to be aware of? Being a seed, not a nut, allergic reactions are rare. However, there is a risk, and if you find yourself experiencing any allergic reactions (itching, swelling, redness, or hives) discontinue use immediately and seek medical advice.
If you have any underlying health conditions it’s always best to consult with a doctor or nutritionist before making radical changes to your diet. They will be able to advise of any precautions, as well as recommend supplements to ensure you are following a healthy diet.
Most side effects will come from consuming too much fiber with not enough water. In this case, you may notice gastrointestinal upsets, which may include:
- Intestinal Obstruction
- Stomach Ache
- Gas (flatulence)
Remember to drink a warm glass of water before every meal if you notice any of these problems.
So there you have it! If you are interested in losing a few pounds, adding a serving of flax into your daily diet can work wonders. It’s also super healthy and the health benefits of flax have been renowned for centuries. While the laws of King Charles the Great may not have persevered through to today, try making a serving of flax a part of your daily diet and see how your body feels – and how it looks!
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Rosily Ryan is an experienced health and fitness writer, editor, and health activist in Sydney, Australia. She’s written for several publications like Pure Green Magazine.