What is Flaxseed
Flaxseed is a fiber crop that has been eaten as a food as well as medicine since 5000 BC. It is golden-yellowish to reddish-brown in color. It is used to treat constipation, enlarged prostate, cancer, diabetes, cholesterol, irritable bowel syndrome, menopausal symptoms and various other medical conditions, complications and diseases.
Types of Flaxseed
There are two types of flaxseeds – brown and golden flaxseed. Brown flaxseed is considered to be a stronger flavor than the golden one. Both are good sources of alpha-linolenic acid; however, dark flaxseed is slightly higher in ALA than the golden one.
What is Flaxseed Oil
Flaxseed oil is extracted oil from flaxseed which is rich in protein, fiber, vitamin and other elements than ground flaxseed. Flaxseed oil benefits in so many ways and that is the reason, many people depend on it to get a more concentrated dose of all the benefits it has to offer.
Health Benefits of Flaxseed
Flaxseed is full of fiber, protein and various other elements that help you to be fit and disease-free in so many ways.
Flaxseed is rich with elements that help in lowering levels of cholesterol. It also helps in preventing other health issues such as stroke and heart diseases. To keep your cholesterol level normal and medical complications at bay, you can add flaxseed in your diet.
Lignans are anticancer compounds found in flaxseed. They are polyphenols that are considered helpful in managing certain types of cancer, including breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer. Also, omega 3 fatty acid is found in flaxseed that inhibits tumor incidence and growth.
Improves Insulin Sensitivity
Insulin resistance, also known as an inability to effectively use the hormone insulin to cart glucose to cells, is the sign of type 2 diabetes. Some research suggests that flaxseed can be helpful in this problem.
Reduces Symptoms of Arthritis
Arthritis Foundation suggests that flaxseed has the potential to help in reducing joint pain and stiffness. Some people also use if for lupus, Raynaud’s phenomenon and rheumatoid arthritis. If you are suffering from arthritis, you avail the benefits of flaxseed oil by applying it on the area affected by arthritis.
A great amount of fiber is found in flaxseed that can help with gastric and constipation issues. You can add flaxseed in your diet to get rid of gastric and constipation. Apart from curing above mentioned medical conditions, it has various health benefits as well.
Experts also suggest flaxseed can be proved to be beneficial with many other diseases that mainly include;-
- Ovarian cancer
- Metabolic syndrome
- Cardiovascular disease
The United States Department Agriculture states that a tablespoon of flaxseed weighted around 7-8 gram contains a great amount of nutrition which is good for health. This include :-
- Fat: 2.95 g
- Fiber: 1.91 g
- Protein: 1.28 g
- Calcium: 17.8 mg
- Potassium: 56.9 mg
- Carbohydrate: 2.02 g
- Magnesium: 27.4 mg
- Phosphorus: 44.9 mg
- Energy: 37.4 Calories
- Folate: 6.09 mcg (Microgram)
- Lutein and Zeaxanthin: 45.6 mcg
Apart from the above mentioned, flaxseed also contains various vitamins and minerals but in low quantities. It also has Lysine, Lignans, Tyrosine, Tryptophan, Valine, and unsaturated Healthy Fats.
Uses of Flaxseed
It is recommended to eat 1 to 4 tbsp of flaxseed each day depending upon your requirement and diet. However, in case of any complication or confusion, please consult a doctor for the same. Here, we are giving you a few simple ideas for your flaxseed intake.
- Incorporate flaxseed with your cake and cookies
- Mix flaxseed into your morning mal
- You can whisk flaxseed into the salad
- Add flaxseed into your homemade mayonnaise
- Add flaxseed into your yogurt or smoothie
- Take flaxseed as the base of your breakfast
- Add flaxseed in chicken
- Add flaxseed in fruit juice
- Add flaxseed in a milkshake
- Incorporate flaxseed in curd
You can use flaxseed as per your taste and requirement. However, using too much flaxseed in your meal can give a bitter taste that you may not like. Moreover, it is always suggested to start with small amounts of flaxseed and gradually add more according to time and taste.
How Much Flaxseed Per Day
Flaxseed works effectively in treating high cholesterol, diabetes, constipation and cancer. However, how much flaxseed we should eat, is the question that must be known. So let us tell you, the best way to know your dosage for flaxseed is to consult your doctor. Below are a few doses that doctors generally suggest to have.
1 tbsp orally every day
2-3 times a day
15-20 gm per day
40-50 ml orally every day
Equivalent to 200 mg ALA every day
Rest, before increasing, decreasing or making any changes in dosage, consult your doctor and follow their suggestion.
Side Effects of Flaxseed
Apart from having various benefits, there are some flaxseed side effects that you should be aware of.
- Raw flaxseed can contain toxins. Hence, you should limit the raw intake of flaxseed.
- After boiling or toasting, toxins of flaxseed are killed. So it is suggested to use it after toasting or in a baking recipe.
- Experts suggest that you should not consume more than 4 tbsp of whole flaxseed in a day.
- Flaxseed is rich in fiber, hence it is recommended to drink a great amount of water otherwise it may backfire and make your constipation worse.
- Excessive consumption of flaxseed can also cause diarrhea.
- Flaxseed during pregnancy may mess with your hormones. So you should avoid it. However, if you want to use flaxseed, do not forget to consult your doctor.
- If you are preparing for surgery then you should start avoiding flaxseed in your diet for a couple of weeks before the surgery. Because there are high chances that it may decrease the ability of your blood to clot.
- Flaxseed lowers high blood pressure. Therefore, you should not consume it if you are already taking blood pressure-lowering medication. Because it can cause your blood pressure to drop to such a low level that it may turn out to be hypotension.
- Similarly, flaxseed lower blood sugar levels. Therefore, if you are taking any medication for blood sugar, it is always a good idea to avoid taking flaxseed. Also consult your doctor to make sure that flaxseed will not interact negatively if you take it with other medication for the treatment of blood sugar.
- If you react negatively to flaxseed, it is quite evident that you might be allergic to it. Hence, before going for flaxseed, do consult a doctor.