The health benefits of flaxseed have made it a part of the traditional cuisines of Asia, America, and Africa. Its high nutritional and health benefits can outnumber those offered by any other cereal. It is a rich source of alpha linolenic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, and lignans. These components collectively fight many ailments and diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, inflammation, arthritis, allergies, asthma, and diabetes.
Flaxseed also reduces the risk of various cancers and improves reproductive health in females. It is also a rich source of vitamins and fiber, which keeps the heart and the intestines healthy. It also maintains healthy eyes, skin, and hair.
Health benefits of flax seeds
The antioxidants in flaxseeds provide protection from cancer and heart diseases. Recent studies have concluded that flaxseeds can significantly lower the risk of developing breast, prostate and colon cancer. The lignans present in flaxseeds have antigenic properties. They prevent the tumors from forming new blood cells. The seeds contain ALA, an omega 3 fatty acid that inhibits tumor incidence and interferes with the growth and spread of cancer. Consumption of flaxseeds can also increase survival in breast cancer patients.
Improves Digestive Health:
Flaxseeds contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. The fiber present in flaxseeds improves the movement of food through the intestines. The mucilaginous fiber in flaxseeds also improves the intestinal absorption of nutrients. The soluble fiber dissolves in the water and creates a gel-like substance, keeping the stomach full for a longer time.
Prevents Cardiovascular Diseases:
The amino and omega 3 fatty acids in flaxseeds can significantly lower high blood pressure. A diet rich in flaxseeds can prevent hardening of the arteries. It also prevents the deposition of plaque in the arteries by keeping white blood cells from sticking to the blood vessels’ inner linings. Lignans in flaxseed reduce the atherosclerotic plaque buildup by 75%. It is also useful in treating irregular heartbeat. The alpha linolenic acid in flaxseeds protects the blood vessels from inflammatory damage.
Reduces High Cholesterol:
Research has suggested that eating flaxseeds daily can reduce the cholesterol level significantly. It contains omega 3 fatty acids, fiber and lignan, which work together to reduce cholesterol. The low-density lipoprotein in the blood stream is often linked with heart diseases, obesity and metabolic syndrome.
Several researchers have concluded that daily intake of lignan-rich foods stabilizes blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity. According to research, people who consumed flaxseeds for 12 weeks noticed a significant drop in their insulin resistance. This is due to the drop in oxidant stress caused by its high antioxidant levels.
Inflammation is mostly caused due to the deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acid is a key nutrient for fighting inflammation in the body. ALA and lignans found in flaxseeds may reduce inflammation by blocking the release of certain pro-inflammatory agents. Consumption of flaxseeds increases the production of two other omega 3 fatty acids, namely eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), which provide further inflammatory protection.
High in Phytochemicals and Antioxidants:
Flaxseeds are one of the best sources of lignan, an estrogen-like chemical compound that scavenges the free radicals in the body. It contains 75-800 times more lignans than other plant-based foods. A 100 grams serving provides 0.3 grams of lignan. Lignans promote fertility and reduce the peri-menopausal syndrome. Flaxseeds have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which mitigate and protect against pneumonopathy.
Reduces Hot Flashes:
A study published in 2007 found that consuming 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds in women could reduce their hot flashes by half. Flaxseed is a potential aid in managing perimenopausal and post- menopausal symptoms.
Flax Seed Benefits for Skin
Flaxseeds and its oil contain several skin-friendly nutrients that can help to improve the health of the skin. Flaxseed oil is added to a number of skin care products like shower gels, moisturizers and sunscreen.
The high levels of lignans and omega 3 fatty acids promote healthy bowel movements, preventing skin diseases. Omega 3 fatty acids are extremely important for the healthy growth and development of the skin cells. The lignans present in flaxseeds improve the appearance of the skin by reducing the levels of DHT in the body.
The omega 3 fatty acids in flaxseeds increase the speed at which wounds heal. Flaxseed is best known for its high anti-inflammatory levels. You can successfully minimize skin irritation, rashes, inflammation and redness by regularly consuming flaxseeds. Thus, benefits of eating flax seeds are many for skin. It also shrinks the possibility of acne, dermatitis and psoriasis.
Dry skin can lead to several skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and other signs of ageing. The essential fatty acids in flaxseed keep the skin hydrated and moisturized. Regular intake of flaxseeds increases the body’s natural oil production, keeping the skin baby soft. A daily massage with flaxseed oil prevents irritants from entering the pores. It also locks moisture into the skin, keeping dryness at bay. Well-moisturized skin also delays the onset of wrinkles, right?
Prevents Skin Cancer:
A diet rich in flaxseeds may protect the skin tissues from radiation. Researchers have found that flaxseeds significantly reduce skin damage after sun exposure. The antioxidants present in flaxseeds fight the free radicals, preventing skin cancer.
Flaxseeds control the production of sebum, an oily substance produced by the skin glands, preventing the onset of acne. Eat 1 to 2 tablespoons of milled flaxseed daily to achieve healthy and younger-looking skin.
You can also prepare a scrub from ground flaxseeds to exfoliate the skin. Mix flaxseed powder with yoghurt, honey and mix well. Scrub your skin gently with it for 10 minutes and wash off. The scrub removes dead skin cells and rejuvenates it, leaving it silky smooth.
Flax Seed Benefits for Hair:
Flaxseeds are packed with nutrients like protein, calcium, zinc, magnesium, iron and omega 3 fatty acids, which are required for the growth of your hair. A daily dose of flaxseeds can make your hair healthy, vibrant and strong.
Prevents Hair Breakage:
The high amounts of omega 3 fatty acids in flaxseeds increase the hair’s elasticity, making it less prone to breakage. It endows you with stronger hair.
The anti-inflammatory properties of flaxseeds reduce the possibility of dandruff, eczema and other scalp conditions. The seeds stimulate the production of sebum in the scalp, preventing flaking and dandruff.
Rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acids:
Flaxseed is one of the best sources of omega 3 fatty acids. A deficiency in this essential nutrient can cause dry and brittle hair. Healthy consumption of flaxseeds may make your hair stronger.
Prevents Cicatricial alopecia:
Including flaxseeds in your diet can help to ameliorate several hair conditions. The anti-inflammatory properties of flaxseeds prevent cicatricial alopecia, a permanent hair loss condition. Cicatricial alopecia damages the hair follicles severely, preventing the growth of healthy hair.
Prevents Male Baldness:
The alpha linolenic acid in flaxseeds inhibits 5 alpha reductase, an enzyme that converts testosterone into Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT shrinks the hair follicles, leading to baldness. The ALA, linolenic acid and oleic acid in flaxseeds are used as natural remedies to treat male baldness. It also prevents hair loss due to Telogen effluvium.