What is Flaxseed?
Our world is full of miraculous plants that when taken in the proper amount, can change the way our bodies work and process the foods we eat. The seeds from certain plants when consumed can help to reduce inflammation, help with weight loss, and help you to restore balance to your body. Flaxseed truly is amazing. Flaxseed is the immature seed of the flax plant. Flax is a small blue flower when allowed to grow and the crop is grown for fiber and other food stuffs. Flaxseed has the ability to do wonders in your body if you know how to use it.
Health Benefits of Flaxseed (Linseed)
1. Source of High Fiber, Low Carbs
A large number of foods that are high in fiber are also high in carbs which can make us gain weight. Flaxseeds are high in fiber so they can help to promote regularity and can help you to stay full longer. Flaxseeds have a high content of mucilage gum which is a gel-forming fiber that can help you to keep your pipes moving and your belly full.
2. Skin and Nails
If you are looking to get hair and nails that look like the celebrities, you may want to add some flaxseed to your diet. Flaxseeds have ALA fats in them which is great for your hair and your nails. It can help with providing essential oils to the scalp and can help reduce dryness and flaking. It can also help with rosacea, eczema, acne, and even dry eye syndrome. You can take it internally to help hydrate skin and promote healthy hair and healthy hair growth.
3. Lowers Your Cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol you may want to look into adding flaxseed to your diet. Flaxseeds help to trap fat and cholesterol in the digestive system so that it is never absorbed into your blood stream. This means that you are not going to have to deal with it at all and your body can store good fats instead. Flaxseed can also help to trap bile which is made from cholesterol that is located in the gallbladder. The bile is excreted while inside the digestive system which can lower overall body cholesterol.
4. They are a Gluten Free Grain
If you struggle with gluten intolerance, flaxseed may be your new best friend. Flaxseeds are naturally gluten free and can be used as a substitute for gluten filled grains and grain by-products. You can use flaxseed flour in place of regular flour and you can also use it with coconut flour for baking. You can also add it to your foods to help with omega 3 fats in the body as well.
5. Helps Digestion
Flaxseeds are high in fiber, they are also full of fats. Both fibers and fats are necessary to have healthy bowel movements and to move waste out of the body after all the nutrients have been absorbed. The ALA in flaxseed also helps to protect the lining of the stomach and digestive tract. It has even been found to help those that suffer from Crohn’s disease to have lessened symptoms.
6. High in Antioxidants
Flaxseeds are high in antioxidants like lignans. These are fiber related polyphenols that are there to help with anti-aging. They are also used in the growth of probiotics in our gut that keep our digestive tract in order. They have also been known to help reduce yeast and candida in the body as well. Lignans are antiviral and antibacterial as well and may help to reduce the duration and severity of the common cold.
7. Omega 3 Fatty Acids
We have all heard how great omega 3 fatty acid is for our bodies unless you are eating fish or taking a supplement, odds are you are not getting enough in your system. Flaxseed is a healthy alternative to fish but it has a large amount of omega 3 fatty acids as well.
8. Fighting Cancer Properties
We are all scared of cancer but it has been found that regular consumption of flaxseed may help to stave off some cancers. It has been found that flaxseed helps to reduce the chances of getting breast cancer and can also help to reduce the risk of ovarian and colon cancer as well. The lignans found in flaxseed have all be found to help naturally balance hormones that are a contributing factor to breast cancer as well as endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer.
The lignans in flaxseed may very well be a natural alternative to hormone replacement therapy in women that are going through the change. The lignans found in flaxseed help to level out estrogen in the body and have estrogen-like properties to help replace estrogen that is naturally lost through aging and through menopause. It has also been known to help women keep their cycle regular and also to help women have a better hormone balance.
10. Fights inflammation
Those of us that wake up feeling zapped and sore, it may be that your body is inflamed or that you are suffering from inflammation. Regular consumption of flaxseed can help to reduce inflammation naturally and can help to regulate hormones that are associated with this inflammation. The benefits of flaxseed are that it can be added to just about anything so you can use it to help reduce your inflammation without having to take a pill.
Flaxseed Can Help Weight Loss
For those that want to shed a few extra pounds before summer officially arrives, flaxseed is a great way to kick start your diet. For starters, flaxseed does promote regularity which can result in lower levels of waste in the body. This helps to make you feel better and can also help reduce bloating and water retention, both of which are going to help make you weigh more. Flaxseed is also a great way to stay fuller longer which means you can cut calories without cutting nutrition.
Flaxseed can also help to reduce inflammation in the body which means you are going to feel less achy and sore and may even be able to hit the gym a bit more. Inflamed bodies do also tend to hold weight and do hold water so reducing inflammation has the potential to help reduce overall weight as well. The healthy fats in flaxseed also help to reduce overall weight and help to promote the proper use and storage of fat in the body.
Dietary fiber is one of the biggest things to pay attention to if you are trying to lose weight. The more dietary fiber you consume, the less waste there is going to be in your body and the more water weight you are going to shed. Also, dietary fiber has been known to keep you full longer so you can focus on losing weight and reducing calorie intake without having to worry about feeling hungry ten minutes after you eat.
The lignans in flaxseed are also known to help keep up a good metabolism. Your metabolism is how quickly your body burns off the calories that we take in. As we age, our metabolism starts to slow down naturally so you may not be able to eat the same things when you are 50 as you could when you were considerably younger. The lignans in flaxseed help to regulate and speed up your metabolism naturally so that you can get your body back and start to lose weight safely.
One of the main things you need to keep in mind when using flaxseed to help aid your weight loss is that they do have the potential to have a laxative effect when you consume too much. The main issue is with ground flaxseed. Pregnant women should avoid ground flaxseed because of the phytoestrogens that are in them, the same compound that is great for aiding with menopause. Overall, flaxseed is a great way to help keep you on your weight loss goals and to help you reach your goals as well but should not be used as your only weight loss tool.
7 Ways To Eat Flaxseed
1. Flaxseed flour
The first way to eat flaxseed is to eat flax flour. Flax flour can be added to just about any food and can be used in baking as well. This is a great alternative to gluten-filled flours and grains. You can bake with flax flour and use it with things like coconut flour or add it to your normal wheat flour. You can also use flax flour for thickening sauces and more.
You can use flax in smoothies in a few different ways. For starters, you can add whole seeds for a crunch to your smoothie or you can simply add flaxseed oil to your smoothie. This is a great way to get your flax directly without it altering the flavor of your food at all. You should add a small amount until you know how your body is going to react to flax seed as it may cause added gas for some.
3. Salad Dressing
Another great way to get your daily flax is to add it to your favorite vinaigrette. Instead of using only olive oil, you can add a bit of flax in its place for the added health benefits of the flax and for the fatty element. You can use the oil as a salad oil without any other oils as well.
4. Salad topper
If you are one that likes some added crunch like sunflower seeds on your salad, you can always sprinkle some flaxseeds on your salad. This will give you the added crunch and flavor and will help you up your flax seed intake. This is a great way to add flax to your diet quickly without having to look up any special recipes as well.
You can always add some flaxseed to your oatmeal as well. This is going to give you the crunch of the seeds as well as the great flavor and health benefits of your flax. Since flaxseed does not have a super overpowering flavor, it can be added to just about any flavor oatmeal for a great crunch. You can also add seeds to things like pancake batter for some texture and some great health benefits as well.
6. Add Oil to Shakes
If you are one that likes things like protein shakes or breakfast or meal replacement shakes, you can add some oil to your shakes to help make them even healthier than before. Since it is an oil, you can emulsify it and you will never even taste it in your shake.
For those that do not want to eat flaxseed on its own, you can find some over the counter supplements that have flax in them or that are straight flax if that is what you want. This is going to be a great way to get your flax without having to alter your diet at all. It is also a great way to get into taking flax without cooking with it for those that are just starting to take flax as a health supplement.
Recommended Daily Consumption of Flaxseed
There are currently no recommended dosages of flaxseed that have been studied by the FDA but studies recommend that you have three to four tablespoons of flaxseed daily to feel the best results. You can of course raise or lower this amount dependent on how the flaxseed makes you feel, on how much you think you need, and on how much your recipes call for. Since it does have a laxative like effect in too high of dosages, you want to pay close attention to how the flax seed is affecting your body. If you feel like you are getting bloated, you are going to the bathroom too much, or you are not feeling well, you may want to lower the dose that you are taking.
Flaxseed has the potential to help your body get in balance, help you lose weight, and help you feel great.