What Are Flaxseeds? The Benefits Of Flaxseeds And Where Do I Get Them
Flaxseeds come from the flax plant, and they have been eaten for thousands of years. They are nutrient-packed food that can be easily added to your diet. Flaxseeds can be used as an egg replacer, eaten raw or cooked, or ground up into flour.
Flaxseeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help to reduce inflammation and improve blood flow. Omega-3 fatty acids can also protect your brain from degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, stroke and even dementia. You can add flaxseeds to your diet by sprinkling them on top of salads or smoothies, blending them into soups or oatmeal, adding them to smoothie bowls or baking with them in muffins and breads.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that your body can’t digest. It’s found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Fiber helps keep you full longer so it’s good for weight loss; it also improves digestion and regular bowel movements. You can get fiber from foods like:
- Oatmeal (3 g)
- Wheat bread (5 g)
- Beans (10 g)
Proteins are an important macronutrient, and a lack of protein can be detrimental to your health. They help build muscle, repair and maintain tissues, make enzymes and hormones, make antibodies to fight off viruses and bacteria, etc. Protein is also important for weight loss because it increases satiety (feeling full).
Flaxseeds are also a great thickener for smoothies, soups and sauces. You can add about 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds to your favorite smoothie for a thicker texture. Flaxseeds can be added to breads and muffins to make them more filling.
In addition, flaxseed oil is often used as an ingredient in salad dressings or drizzled on top of steamed vegetables. To use ground flaxseed as a thickening agent in cooking or baking:
- Combine 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons water; let set 2 minutes until it becomes gelatinous (this will help absorb other liquids).
- Stir into sauce or soup just before serving
Antioxidants are important for good health. They help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals, which can lead to chronic disease. Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd number of electrons, like oxygen (O2) and nitrogen (N2), that are highly reactive due to their instability. When they react with other molecules in your body, they can cause damage to cells and even DNA mutations.
Antioxidants have been shown to be able to reduce this oxidative stress on the body by neutralizing these unstable molecules through various chemical reactions in your body before they can cause damage. Antioxidants come from plant foods like fruits and vegetables as well as nuts and seeds—and yes, flaxseeds!
May lower cholesterol levels
You’ve probably heard the term “high cholesterol.” Cholesterol is a waxy substance that’s produced by your liver and sent to your blood to help with the body’s natural processes. It helps give you energy, build cells and hormones, and keep you warm. But too much of it can cause serious health problems like heart disease or stroke.
Flaxseeds have fiber and omega-3 fatty acids that lower bad cholesterol levels in your body by helping to absorb more good cholesterol. They also contain plant compounds called lignans—one ounce of flaxseeds contains about 1,000mg of lignans—which can help prevent cancer cell growth by blocking the action of estrogen in your body.
When it comes to heart health, flaxseeds are one of the most powerful foods on the planet. They’re packed with omega-3 fatty acids that are good for your heart and may help prevent high blood pressure.
Omega-3s reduce inflammation in your body and fight off excess cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease. In fact, eating just two tablespoons of ground flaxseed daily has been shown to lower bad cholesterol by up to 10 percent. That’s huge!
One of the best parts about flaxseeds is that they’re a good source of insoluble and soluble fiber. Both types of fiber help you manage your weight, boost your heart health, and lower cholesterol levels. This can be helpful for people with diabetes because it can help control blood sugar levels.
Insoluble fiber helps improve insulin sensitivity so that your body uses glucose (sugar) more efficiently. Soluble fiber can also help lower blood sugar levels by slowing down digestion and absorption in the intestines so that food moves more slowly through your digestive tract. This gives your pancreas time to release more insulin into the bloodstream, lowering blood sugar after meals or snacks.
Digestive Health Benefits
Flaxseeds are great for digestive health too. They can help people with constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or other digestive issues.
Flaxseeds have an amazing ability to absorb and retain water which is why they are so good for constipation. If you have trouble going to the bathroom then a flaxseed smoothie should be your new best friend! Just add 1-2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed into any fruit smoothie recipe and watch as your bowels become regular again!
Flaxseeds also help alleviate diarrhea by absorbing excess fluids in the gut that cause diarrhea and by forming a gel-like mass in the colon which acts as a bulk laxative that helps move food through faster so it doesn’t sit around too long causing bacteria overgrowth which leads to gas production/gas build up making matters worse (and eventually resulting in another round of explosive diarrhea).
Flaxseeds can be eaten raw, cooked, or ground up.
Flaxseeds can be eaten raw, cooked, or ground up.
- Raw: Add flaxseeds to smoothies, salads and cereal. Sprinkle ground flaxseed on yogurt and oatmeal.
- Cooked: Add them to muffin or bread recipes. You can also cook them into soups or as a side dish with other veggies & spices (steamed broccoli with ground flaxseed & sesame seeds!).
- Ground up: They’re great in baked goods such as shortbread cookies & cakes.
May reduce blood pressure
- Reduce blood pressure
- Help prevent heart disease
- Help prevent stroke or a heart attack
May help you manage your weight
- Flaxseeds are a great source of fiber. One tablespoon contains about 2 grams of dietary fiber, which is about 10 percent of the recommended daily intake for adults. That’s pretty impressive considering that many cereals have less than 1 gram in their serving size.*
- Fiber can help you feel fuller for longer by slowing down digestion and absorption of food into the bloodstream, so your body digests it more slowly and steadily.*
- Some studies suggest that eating foods high in fiber may reduce your risk of obesity and help manage weight over time.*
Along with being high in fiber and protein, flaxseeds are also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids (more on those later). These nutrients work together to deliver a number of health benefits like improving heart health, reducing inflammation and helping with diabetes management—all things we want more than ever as we get older!
After reading this article, you should have a better idea of what flaxseeds are and how they can help improve your health. The bottom line is that eating more flaxseeds can have many benefits for your overall health, but it’s important to remember that these seeds are not a cure-all. There are other foods that provide similar benefits as well, so it’s best not to rely on just one type of food too much. If you’re looking for some inspiration on how to include more flaxseeds in your diet, check out our recipes page or sign up for our newsletter below!