Flaxseed (Linseed) are slightly larger than Sesame Seeds and have a hard shell that is smooth and shiny. Their color ranges from deep amber to reddish brown depending upon whether the Flax is of the golden or brown variety. While Whole Flaxseed feature a soft crunch, the nutrients in ground seeds are more easily absorbed. Flaxseed owe its healthy reputation primarily to three ingredients:-
- Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids, “good” fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s.
- Lignans, which have both plant Estrogen and Antioxidant qualities. It contains 75-800 times more lignans than other plant foods.
- Fiber. It contains both the soluble and insoluble types.
Health Benefits of Flaxseed
It is rich in alpha linolenic acid (ALA), an Omega-3 Fat that is a predecessor to the form of Omega-3 found in fish oils called eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA. Since the fats are found in their isolated form in flaxseed oil, it is a more concentrated source of ALA than the seeds themselves. ALA, in addition to providing several beneficial effects of its own, can be converted in the body to EPA, thus providing following EPA’s beneficial effects:-
- Cancer. Recent studies have suggested that Flaxseed may have a protective effect against Cancer, particularly breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer. At least two of the components in flaxseed seem to contribute. Lignans may help protect against cancer by:
- Blocking enzymes that are involved in hormone metabolism.
- Interfering with the growth and spread of tumor cells.
- Help Cardiovascular System. Plant omega-3s help the cardiovascular system via several different mechanisms, including anti-inflammatory action and normalizing the heartbeat. Significant Blood Pressure-lowering effects of flaxseed have been observed, which may be due to both the omega-3 fatty acids as well as the amino acid groups found in flaxseed. flaxseed omega-3s help prevent hardening of the arteries and keep plaque from being deposited in the arteries, partly by keeping white blood cells from sticking to the blood vessels’ inner linings. Lignans in Flaxseed have been shown to reduce Atherosclerotic Plaque buildup by up to 75%,” Eating flaxseed daily may help your Cholesterol Levels.
- Inflammation. Two components in Flaxseed, ALA and lignans, may reduce the inflammation that accompanies certain illnesses (such as Parkinson’s Disease and asthma) by helping to block the release of certain pro-inflammatory agents.
- Hot Flushes. 2 tablespoons of ground Flaxseed mixed into cereal, juice, or yogurt twice a day cut the women’s hot flashes in half. And the intensity of their hot flashes dropped by 57%. The women noticed a difference after taking the daily flaxseed for just one week, and achieved the maximum benefit within two weeks.
Dosage of Flaxseed
Flaxseed Oil may be added to a child’s diet to help balance fatty acids. Children (2 – 12 years): Ask your doctor to help you determine the right dose. One example is using 1 teaspoonful (tsp) of ground Flaxseeds, or 1 tsp of fresh flaxseed oil for constipation.
Flaxseed: Take 1 tablespoonful (tbsp), 2 – 3 times daily or 2 – 4 tbsp, 1 time daily. Grind before eating and take with lots of water.
Flaxseed Oil: Take 1 – 2 tablespoonfuls daily or 1 – 2 capsules daily. Flaxseed Oil is often used in a liquid form, which contains approximately 7 g of ALA per 15 mL tbsp, and contains approximately 130 calories.
Precautions while using Flaxseed
- Raw or unripe Flaxseeds may be poisonous.
- Women with breast cancer, uterine, and ovarian cancer or endometriosis should ask their doctor before taking Flaxseed, because of its potential to act like estrogen in the body.
- Flaxseed should not be taken if you are pregnant, because it may act like estrogen in the body. Ask your doctor before taking Flaxseed if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Men with prostate cancer should ask their doctor before taking Flaxseed, because of conflicting research about its effect on prostate cancer.
- Omega-3 fatty acids may increase the risk of bleeding, especially if you also take blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin) or aspirin.
- People with a bowel obstruction, inflamed bowel, or narrowed esophagus should not take Flaxseed. It is high in fiber and could make the condition worse.