Flax seeds are widely available in the UAE and are some of the best types of grains you can add to all your foods. A great source of healthy nutrients, flax seeds contain plenty of healthy fats, antioxidants, and fibre to improve your general health and provide you with a whole range of health benefits.
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Being one of the oldest grains in the world, flax seeds can be found all over the world and can be used and prepared in many different ways, making it a versatile ingredient to add in most meals. In this article, we’ll go through 7 health benefits you can get from consuming flax seeds.
1. Flax Seeds Are Rich in Dietary Fiber
A single tablespoon of flax seeds can contain up to 3 grams of fibre, accounting for 8% of the daily recommended intake for men, and 12% of the daily recommended intake for women. Flax seeds contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, with both types improving overall digestion.
2. May Reduce Cancer Risk
Flax seeds contain up to 800 times more lignans than any other plant-based foods. Lignans are plant compounds that have antioxidants and estrogen properties that are known to reduce the risk of cancer.
Some studies have shown that women who ate flax seeds reduced the risk of breast cancers, especially in postmenopausal women. Although some studies may suggest these findings, more research needs to be made on the link between flax seeds and cancer risk.
3. High in Omega-3 Fats
Flax seeds are a great natural source of omega-3 fatty acids. Flax seeds are a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which can help to prevent cholesterol from being deposited in blood vessels of the heart. Flax seeds are great for vegetarians or people who don’t eat fish.
4. May Improve Cholesterol levels
Flax seeds are popular due to their ability to lower cholesterol levels. Multiple studies have shown that people who consumed flaxseed powder on a daily basis were able to lower LDL cholesterol (the bad type) by 20%.
5. They Contain High-Quality Protein
For people who can’t eat meats, flax seeds are a great natural plant-based protein and can conveniently be added to many vegetarian and vegan meals. Flaxseed protein contains plenty of amino acids, arginine, aspartic acid, and glutamine acid, all-important for building and repairing muscle tissue.
6. May Help Control Blood Sugar
Flax seeds may be able to lower and control blood sugar levels. This is thanks to its insoluble fibre content. Research has shown that insoluble fibre can slow down the release of sugar into the blood, and control keeps blood sugar levels consistent. This can be particularly helpful for people who have type 2 diabetes, where the body is unable to secrete insulin or resistance to it.
Although studies have shown that people with diabetes who consumed flax seeds were able to reduce blood sugar levels, more research needs to be done in order to conclude whether flaxseeds can help to control or improve type 2 diabetes.
7. Lower Blood Pressure
Studies have suggested that flaxseeds have the natural ability to lower blood pressure. One study showed that people who ate 30 grams of flax seeds on a daily basis for six months, we’re able to lower systolic blood pressure by 10mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by seven mmHg, respectively. In turn, this can decrease the chances of heart disease as well as the risk of stroke or heart attack.
How to add flaxseeds to your foods:
- Drizzle a generous amount of flax seeds or flaxseed oil to your salad as a garnish or dressing
- Mix it with other seeds and grains to your yoghurt or breakfast cereal
- Blend flaxseed oil with your smoothies or use whole flax seeds for a thicker consistency
- Add them to baking recipes such as bread or muffins
- Add them to meat patties or minces
- Add flaxseeds to your water as part of your daily fluid intake
If you have certain food allergies or existing health conditions where you need to monitor your diet, speak with your doctor first before changing your diet or adding an extra ingredient such as flax seeds to your meals. It is worth mentioning that there are certain side effects of eating too many flaxseeds.
Consuming too much can lead to symptoms including, constipation, nausea, stomach ache, abdominal pain, or diarrhoea. If any of these symptoms occur, stop consumption and speak with your doctor.
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