Top 8 benefits of flaxseed that prove it’s a superfood (plus recipe)
07/20/2021 / By Joanne Washburn / Comments
Top 8 benefits of flaxseed that prove it’s a superfood (plus recipe)

Flaxseeds are not just for topping smoothies and avocado toast. This nutrient powerhouse offers a wide range of essential vitamins, minerals and healthy unsaturated fats that benefit your body in many ways.

While you may think of flaxseeds as only a crunchy garnish, flaxseeds actually provide a one-two punch by providing high-quality protein and fiber, giving you the energy you need to start the day.

Before you sprinkle a scoop of flaxseeds into your morning oatmeal, get the full scoop on what these seeds can do.

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Top flaxseed benefits

Flaxseeds are the seeds of the flax plant (Linum usitatissimum), which is also prized for its soft, flexible fiber. Humans have used flax fiber and eaten flaxseeds for more than 30,000 years. Today, you’ll likely find whole flaxseeds, ground flaxseed meal or flaxseed oil in health food stores and supermarkets.

Here are some of the science-backed health benefits of flaxseeds:

1. They provide a variety of nutrients

Flaxseeds are a great source of essential nutrients. One tablespoon of whole flaxseeds contains the following:

  • Protein – 1.9 g
  • Fiber – 2.8 g
  • Omega-3 fatty acids – 2,338 milligrams (mg)
  • Potassium – 83.3 mg
  • Magnesium – 40.2 mg
  • Phosphorus – 65.8 mg
  • Selenium – 2.6 micrograms (mcg)
  • Folate – 8.9 mcg

2. They support healthy heart function

Flaxseeds are particularly rich in an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which helps prevent cholesterol from clogging your arteries. Cholesterol buildup could increase your risk of heart problems if left unchecked.

In one Costa Rican study, researchers found that those who ate more ALA-rich foods had a lower risk of heart attack than those who ate fewer ALA-rich foods. A 2012 review of 27 studies also found that ALA is associated with a 14 percent lower risk of heart disease. Moreover, it has been linked to a lower risk of stroke. These results suggest that incorporating more foods rich in ALA into your diet is a great way to keep your heart healthy.

3. They may help lower cancer risk

Flaxseeds contain compounds called lignans, which work as antioxidants. While your body can produce its own antioxidants, some antioxidants only come from the foods that you eat. These beneficial compounds help protect cells from oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress can cause chronic inflammation and damage important biomolecules, such as your DNA. Chronic inflammation and DNA damage are linked to cancer, one of the leading causes of death worldwide. In fact, studies have shown that flaxseeds can help protect against colon, skin, breast and prostate cancer.

Flaxseeds contain up to 800 times more lignans than other plant-based foods, making flaxseeds a valuable addition to an anti-cancer diet.

4. They promote bowel regularity

Flaxseeds are an excellent source of insoluble fiber, which helps add bulk to your stool. Insoluble fiber also helps keep food moving along your gastrointestinal tract so that you don’t feel bloated or get constipated.

5. They help lower total and “bad” cholesterol levels

Flaxseeds are also loaded with soluble fiber, which works by slowing down your digestion rate. This helps lower levels of total cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol, the type of cholesterol that clogs arteries.

A 2012 study by Indian researchers also found that taking a tablespoon of flaxseed powder every day for one month helps raise levels of “good” cholesterol, which removes other forms of cholesterol from your bloodstream and carries them to the liver to be flushed out from your body.

6. They help lower blood pressure

Aside from preventing cholesterol buildup, the omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseeds can help reduce blood pressure. In one Canadian study, researchers found that eating 30 g of flaxseeds every day for six months can help lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease and the most prevalent risk factor for stroke.

7. They help improve blood sugar control

The soluble fiber in flaxseeds can also help improve blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of sugar in the gut. This effect is especially beneficial for people with diabetes, a condition marked by high blood sugar levels.

8. They help reduce appetite

If you struggle with overeating during meals or snacking between them, try adding flaxseeds to your diet. The protein and soluble fiber in flaxseeds influence a host of hormones that control appetite, thereby making you feel full for longer and staving off cravings.

By controlling your appetite, flaxseeds may even help you manage your weight more easily.

Recipe for keto flaxseed pudding

This low-carb pudding recipe is a healthy way to start the day. It’s easy to put together and uses only a handful of tasty, nutritious ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 cup flaxseeds, ground
  • 1 Tablespoon organic honey
  • 2 fresh dates, pitted and diced
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • Pinch of salt

Preparation:

  1. Put the ingredients in a blender. Blend for 30 to 60 seconds or until you reach the desired consistency.
  2. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes.
  3. Top with whole flaxseeds or fresh fruit slices and serve.

Flaxseeds are a nutrient-rich superfood that offers a wide range of impressive health benefits, from better digestion to a lower risk of stroke. To maintain optimal health, incorporate flaxseeds into your daily routine.

Sources:

EcoWatch.com

NutritionData.Self.com

WillametteTransplant.com

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