The list of amazing health benefits of flaxseeds (also known as linseeds) are too numerous to mention, but the following nine should be the most important for you to know about. Flaxseeds offer protection against cancer, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and more! They are also high in protein, omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Without further ado, here are the top 9 health benefits of flaxseeds
1) Supports heart health
A diet rich in fiber from flaxseed will keep bad cholesterol levels down and good cholesterol levels up. As high levels of bad cholesterol can cause heart disease, people are most benefited from adding more flaxseed to their diet for optimum cardiovascular health. In addition, it has been shown to help lower blood pressure and reduce plaque buildup in arteries. One must eat about two tablespoons of flaxseeds per day in order to improve heart health. It is also worth noting that whole seeds (and not just ground) are the best to consume in order to maximize benefits. Whole seeds are better able to pass through your digestive system intact and provide you with all of their nutritional value. Ground seeds don’t retain as many nutrients and may also become rancid more quickly than whole seeds do. You should aim to eat at least three ounces (or 30 grams) of whole flaxseed every day for optimal results.
2) Boosts immune system
All in all, not only is it abundant in antioxidants, but flaxseed is high in omega-3 fatty acids that are known to increase the production of antibodies and cytokines that fight infections. The compounds also promote normal inflammation responses throughout your body. All that being said, even more importantly, In a study it showed that the benefits of flaxseed extend to improved immune system function. That same study found that all these benefits are even more pronounced in people who consume flax on a regular basis as part of their daily diet. So if you’re looking for a natural way to boost your immune system, look no further than flaxseed. It might just be one of nature’s most powerful tools. Lowers Cholesterol: Many studies have shown that adding flaxseed to your diet can help lower LDL cholesterol levels while raising HDL (the good kind).
3) Improves digestion
It is known that approximately 60% of Americans do not consume enough fiber each day. This lack of fiber contributes to lower-than-optimal digestion, gas, and cramping. Studies have also shown that flaxseed can help reduce symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). By adding a tablespoon to your smoothie every morning, you’ll be well on your way to better digestion and overall gut health. Keep in mind that fresh ground seeds will provide more benefits than whole or pre-ground seeds. To ensure maximum benefit, buy whole seeds and grind them yourself before eating. Be sure to refrigerate any unused portion for up to three months for optimal freshness. If using ground flaxseed, it’s best to store it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
4) Helps fight cancer
Cancer is a scary word. Many people don’t want to acknowledge it and aren’t proactive about prevention. One thing that can help fight cancer, though, is flaxseed oil. Flaxseed is rich in lignans, which are plant compounds that have been studied for their potent cancer-fighting properties. Interestingly, this seed boasts 75–800 times more lignans than other plant foods (6Trusted Source). Flaxseed oil is full of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that supports cardiovascular health and may have anti-cancer properties. It contains lignans as well, plant chemicals that act as antioxidants and may help prevent breast cancer, which kills about 40 percent more women than men every year in America. You can consume flaxseed oil by drizzling it on your breakfast cereal or dipping bread into it; you can also take a spoonful straight if you don’t mind eating it cold!
5) Reduces risk of stroke
According to a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women who consume foods containing omega-3 fatty acids may reduce their risk of stroke. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential polyunsaturated fats that we must get from food sources because our bodies do not produce them on their own. Our bodies synthesize omega-3 fatty acids from alpha linolenic acid (ALA), which is an essential polyunsaturated fat found in plant sources such as flax seeds and walnuts. Another nutrient that helps maintain a healthy heart is magnesium, and magnesium can be found in leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale. These two nutrients also work together to maintain healthy blood pressure levels; more importantly, these foods are generally associated with reduced risks for cancer and diabetes.
6) Protects joints from arthritis
According to a study published in Arthritis & Rheumatism, one reason flaxseed is such a great way to fight inflammation is because it contains omega-3 fatty acids. This is important for arthritis sufferers because omega-3s are known to help alleviate joint pain and improve overall joint health. If you’re already experiencing joint pain due to arthritis, adding more flaxseed to your diet can help keep things from getting worse and give you some relief. Omega-3s have also been linked with other health benefits, including improved heart health. For example, just two tablespoons of ground flaxseed contain three grams of omega-3s. As well as improving joints, consuming a lot of omega-3s may reduce your risk of stroke or heart disease. Research has found that women who eat plenty of fish, which is high in omega-3, have lower rates of breast cancer than those who don’t eat fish as often. If you’re looking for an alternative to fatty fish like salmon or tuna, or just want another good source, ground flaxseed is a smart choice.
7) Controls blood sugar levels
Eating high-fiber foods like flax seeds helps keep blood sugar levels stable, and research suggests that people who eat more fiber tend to have a lower risk for diabetes. This is likely because fiber slows digestion; in fact, one study found that eating two slices of whole wheat bread slowed blood sugar absorption by almost 80 percent! Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables also helps prevent sudden spikes in blood sugar. High-fiber foods can be especially helpful for diabetics, whose bodies don’t produce enough insulin or have trouble using it properly. By improving their body’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates, high-fiber foods can help control blood sugar levels in those with diabetes—or even help control weight gain.
8) Strengthens bones and muscles
Multiple studies suggest that adding flax seeds to your diet may improve calcium absorption and keep bones strong and muscles toned. Additionally, the evidence shows that flax seeds may help prevent osteoporosis by preserving bone density. Those who have osteoporosis may benefit from consuming flax seeds in their diet to slow bone loss and lessen bone pain and fractures. Not only do they have bone-strengthening properties, but it is thought that flax seeds help with muscle growth and repair. According to a study published in Nutrition Journal, rats that consumed a diet rich in essential fatty acids had a greater increase in muscle mass and lean body mass over six weeks when compared to rats that did not consume fatty acids.
9) Lowers cholesterol levels
The lignans in flaxseeds can help lower total and bad cholesterol levels, as well as decrease your risk for heart disease. The fiber content in flaxseed helps to reduce blood sugar and insulin levels, helping to stabilize your blood sugar. This is important because it could reduce your risk for diabetes and help control type 2 diabetes symptoms . Fiber is also helpful at keeping you full so you’re less likely to overeat. As with any supplement or medication, be sure to speak with a doctor before trying flaxseed if you have a pre-existing medical condition. It’s recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women who take flaxseed supplements consult their doctors before taking them.
Your body may require some extra nutrients in order to keep all its functions running smoothly. Signs that your body may need more nutrients include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc. If you are interested in food as medicine, start by eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. Make sure to eat a few servings of colorful fruits and vegetables each day.