Flaxseed has high fiber content and its medicinal use dates back to ancient Egypt, nearly two thousand years ago. It is rich in Omega-3, vitamins B12, K and E and it contains healthy fats, proteins and linamarin. Flaxseed, which is a strong source of anti-oxidants, enhances the immune system and is widely used by people who want to lose weight as it accelerates the metabolism. High fiber content of flaxseed is very helpful especially for digestive system and there are many studies suggesting that it is effective for the treatment of constipation.
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Flax is a member of Linum genus and it blossoms yellow or blue colored soft flowers in summer time. It has been cultivated for its fibers and seeds for 4000-5000 years in the Near East and Mediterranean regions. It is also being produced in many areas around the world. Flax plant prefers mild climate. Its fruits grow ripe in the summer and can have sizes up to 60 cm. Flax is cultivated both for its fiber and its seeds.
The seeds contain 40-45% fat and are used to obtain oil. Flax is a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids. Also known as “linseed”, flax is used in dyeing as well. Seeds are used as animal feed after their fat content is extracted.
One teaspoon (2.5 gr) of flaxseed contains below nutrients and vitamins: 13 calorie, 0.72 gr carbohydrate, 0.5 gr protein, 0.7 gr fiber, 0.9 gr unsaturated and 1 gr fat, 6 mg calcium, 10 mg magnesium, 16 mg phosphorous, 20 mg potassium, 1 mg sodium, 0.11 mg zinc and vitamin K.
The best way to consume flax seed is to use it with sprouts. Soaking and then sprouting the seeds extracts phytic acid and increases mineral absorption. Seeds can be soaked in warm water for 10 minutes and 2 hours in cold water.
Seeds can be added to cereals in the morning. In addition, as ground flaxseeds are like powder, they can be added into many foods. The healthiest and most practical way to use whole flaxseed is to eat them by mixing with a bowl of homemade yoghurt.
Combination of homemade yoghurt, which is rich in probiotics and flaxseeds has great health benefits. Soak 1-1.5 tablespoons of flaxseeds in hot water and wait for some time. Put them softened with hot water into a bowl of homemade yoghurt. This mixture will accelerate digestive system and help gradually getting rid of body fat.
Although there are many resources on the medicinal effects of flax seed, scientific studies are limited. However, consumption of small amount of it from time to time is known to have positive contribution on overall health. It also contains nutrients that help preventing some health problems.
People with chronic diseases should consult their doctor before use. Cancer prevention, cholesterol and blood pressure reduction, protection against radiation are among its benefits. And flax seed consumption allows the body to absorb nutrients more effectively.
Flaxseed is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are thought to prevent growth and development of cancerous cells. And the lignans in its content is believed to have anti-angiogenic properties. These lignans can help protect against various cancers if used as part of a healthy diet or lifestyle. In a study with 161 individuals, the growth of prostate tumors in male, who consumed flaxseed together with a diet low in fat, were observed to be prevented. Flaxseed is also found to lower the risk of breast cancer.
Lignans and other phytoestrogens may lower the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes thanks to their anti-inflammatory effects. In a study conducted with 99 prediabetic individuals in 2016, daily flaxseed consumption was shown to reduce blood pressure in prediabetic (first stage of diabetes) individuals, however, did not improve blood sugar and insulin resistance.
In spite of many studies, benefits of flaxseed on diabetes symptoms are not clear yet. Therefore, people on diabetes treatment should consult their doctor before adding flaxseed to their diet.
High contents of unsaturated fat, potassium, zinc and n-3 fat makes flaxseed one of the most recommended nutrients by dieticians. Unless used excessively, flaxseed is always helpful for the body and it is recommended to be used one dessert spoon a day or one tablespoon once in every week.
Flaxseed contains fiber, fat, protein and various vitamins and minerals. In addition to the burning unnecessary fat, it also stimulates intestines, giving them a gel-like soft inner tissue and prevents constipation. Thus, flaxseed is among the best nutrients that support weight loss.
Eating ground flaxseed mixed with yoghurt for snack extends the sense of fullness, preventing people from eating too much. Flaxseed can meet energy requirements since its fatty oil content is absorbed as they pass through the intestinal tract.
Its fiber content can help people to lose weight in a healthy way. In a weight loss plan, it is better to consume vegetable oils instead of animal fat.
Eating yoghurt with flaxseed can help many diseases and problems. Flaxseed contains high amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids and very low amount of saturated fatty acids in addition to its fiber content. And it is also rich in potassium and contains small amounts of other vitamins and minerals like magnesium, zinc, iron and copper.
High calcium content of yoghurt provides the nutrients necessary for the body. Eating these two helpful foods together also has the following benefits:
However, maximum daily amount of flaxseed should not exceed one or 1/2 teaspoon. Otherwise it may do more harm than good.
You can make tea from flaxseed. Add 1 teaspoon or dessert spoon of flaxseed into 1 glass of boiled water, wait for 10 minutes, filter and drink. This tea should be prepared fresh every day and should not be consumed more than 1 glass a day.
Put all ingredients in a large bowl, mix and make dough. Spread flour to the counter and spread small portions of dough with a roller, be careful not to make them too thin. Cut pieces from the dough with a mold and bake them in a pre-heated 170° oven until pink.
This quick and healthy recipe will energize you.
Preparation: Peel the banana and slice. Put lactose-free milk, yoghurt, banana slices, flaxseeds, ginger powder and cinnamon into a blender. Mix the ingredients until obtaining puree. Eat without waiting.
This salad is especially helpful for people who are on weight loss diet.
For the sauce:
Preparation: Prepare the sauce by mixing flaxseeds, salt, vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl. Wash, soak, drain, chop and put the iceberg lettuce leaves into a salad bowl. Mince the capsicum and cherry tomatoes and add to the salad. Pour the sauce in the salad
References: 1- Healthy food trends - flaxseeds, 2- Health Benefits of Flax Seeds, 3- Benefits of flaxseed oil