What is Flaxseed?
You must have heard fitness and diet enthusiasts saying about the benefits of flaxseed for health, skin, and even hair. It’s also being told that it is another superfood that has been introduced to us. So, you must be wondering what it is and how versatile is it? How can you incorporate it into your diet, and what are its benefits? Worry not. Today we will tap all about flaxseed.
Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum) is also commonly known as flax or linseeds. They are small oil seeds that originated in the Middle East thousands of years ago. Lately, they have gained popularity and priority as a beneficial health food. Its multiple benefits have made it the new wonder food. Nowadays, it is often emerging as another Big Superfood. More and more of its benefits are being found out through scientific research.
Flaxseed is a crop that has been grown since the beginning of civilisation, and it is one of the oldest crops. There are two varieties of flaxseeds: brown and golden. But both are equally nutritious.
Flaxseeds are a Powerhouse of Nutrients.
Flaxseeds contain multiple types of nutritional components. A typical serving size is one tablespoon of ground flaxseed, which is approximately 7 grams, containing 37 calories. Just one humble tablespoon of flaxseed contains a good amount of fibre, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. It is also an excellent source of minerals and vitamins.
One tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains the following:
- Calories: 37
- Protein: 1.3 grams
- Carbs: 2 grams
- Fibre: 1.9 grams
- Total fat: 3 grams
- Saturated fat: 0.3 grams
- Monounsaturated fat: 0.5 grams
- Polyunsaturated fat: 2.0 grams
- Omega-3 fatty acids: 1,597 mg
- Vitamin B1: 8% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 2% of the RDI
- Folate: 2% of the RDI
- Calcium: 2% of the RDI
- Iron: 2% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 7% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 4% of the RDI
- Potassium: 2% of the RDI
Even though flaxseed contains a whole lot of healthy components, it owes its prime popularity to 3 elements mainly:
- Omega-3 essential fatty acids: These are the “good fats” that keep the heart healthy. They are high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a mostly plant-based omega-3 fatty acid. ALA is one of the two fatty acids, which the body cannot create. Therefore, ALA is required to be consumed from food, and flaxseed is an excellent source of ALA. Studies have shown that ALA from Flaxseed reduces cholesterol and is also a boon for skin and hair.
- Lignans: They have both plant oestrogen and anti-oxidant properties. Researches show that flaxseed contains about 75 to 750 times more lignans than any other plant source food.
- Fibre: Flaxseeds are a very rich source of fibre. It contains both soluble and insoluble fibres.
Advantages of Flaxseed
Till now, you must have understood how versatile flaxseed is. So, needless to say, its advantages are also multiple and versatile. It is beneficial for various health issues, and it’s also good for skin and hair. It helps with diabetes, cancer, obesity, cholesterol and many more health hazards.
Benefits of Flaxseed
The benefits of flaxseed are many, owing to the versatile, healthy components present in it. Not only is it rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fibres, and lignans, but it is also rich in vitamins and minerals like thiamine, copper, magnesium, phosphorous. It is also a rich source of beneficial plant compounds like Ferulic acid, phytosterols, p-Coumaric acid. All these beneficial vitamins, minerals and plant components have diverse uses to maintain a healthy body and keep diseases at bay.
Flaxseed has many health benefits as well as has benefits for skin and hair. Let us see the many benefits of flaxseed for health, skin and hair.
Health Benefits of Flaxseed
- Reduces the risk of Cancer: Studies have shown that Lignans present in flaxseed reduces the risk of cancer. Lignans have anti-oxidants and oestrogen in abundance, which help to reduce the dangers of cancer. Flaxseed helps to reduce the risk of:
- prostate cancer in males, and
- breast cancer in females.
- Helps to reduce Weight: The soluble fibres present in flaxseed keeps our hunger at bay. So, if you consume flaxseeds before a meal, you will feel less hungry during meals. Then you will eat less amount of food and be able to manage your weight in a hassle-free way.
- Promotes Heart Health: The soluble fibres present in flaxseeds help in binding bile salts and effective excretion of the body. Then, the cholesterol from the blood is used to replenish these bile salts in the liver. Hence, cholesterol level from your body decreases and a healthy heart is maintained. Also, the omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseeds help to keep the heart healthy.
- May reduce Blood Sugar: Studies show that flaxseed has the natural property to reduce blood sugar. So, it helps people with diabetes type-2.
- May help with Kidney Swelling: Studies show flaxseed reduce the inflammation of kidneys in people with lupus. So, consuming one tablespoon of ground or whole flaxseed can help people with lupus.
Skin benefits of flaxseed
- Makes Skin Radiant: The omega-3 fatty acids present in flaxseed helps the skin not to dry out. It helps to make skin healthy and glowing by providing it with healthy fats. It also prevents skin from premature ageing by producing collagen in your body. So, it makes your skin radiant and young-looking.
- Controls Acne: Flaxseeds help to keep the oestrogen levels in the body proper. This helps to reduce acne breakout by maintaining hormonal balance in the body. Flaxseed also reduces sebum production, which keeps breakouts at bay.
- Reduces Skin Inflammation: Flaxseed has anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids present in it, which lowers the inflammation of the skin.
- Helps with Skin Irritation: The huge amount of anti-oxidants present in flaxseeds protects skin from harmful UV rays of the sun and free radicals. So, it reduces redness and irritation caused by the harmful rays of the sun. Ultimately, it paves the way for skin-cell healing.
Hair benefits of flaxseed
Flaxseeds are loaded with vitamin B-complex. So, for this reason, they become beneficial for good hair health. Vitamin E present in it also helps with overall hair health.
- Repairs Damaged Hair: Vitamin E helps in Flaxseeds maintains healthy hair by limiting the damage caused due to the free radicals of the atmosphere. Vitamin B-complex in it provides immense nourishment to the hair to make it strong, healthy and shiny.
- Prevents Dandruff: If you have a dry scalp, it can lead to dandruff and eczema. The healthy fats and oils in flaxseed help to lock moisture in your scalp and roots of the hair. So, in moisturised hair, the chances of dandruff and eczema are almost gone. Also, it strengthens the roots of the hair, resulting in significantly less hair fall. Apart from this, fenugreek and flaxseed oil make an extremely moisturising pack for your hair when used together. It will treat all of dandruff, dryness, flaky scalp.
Flaxseed oil is also known as linseed oil. It is made from flaxseeds which are ground and pressed to release their natural oil. It is usually extracted by a process called cold pressing. Flaxseed oil is sensitive to heat and light. So, store them in dark glass containers, in cool places to save it from going rancid. The benefits of flaxseed oil range from cooking to health and skin benefits. It contains much more ALA than flaxseeds making it even more beneficial.
Tips for Incorporating Flaxseed in your Diet
Since flaxseed is very small in size and versatile. So, you can add it to any food. You can add some of it on top of any dish you want to have. You can add ground flaxseed while baking cakes, cookies, bread etc. Also, you can add Flaxseed oil as a dressing for your salads.
Flaxseed is full of nutritional goodness and extremely useful for diverse causes like health, skin and hair. It is incredibly versatile. Also, you can very easily incorporate it into food. The high levels of omega-3 fatty acid ALA, lignans, and fibre present in it make it even more beneficial and popular. If you consume it properly, it will definitely enrich your life with all its benefits.
With so many proven health benefits, go grab some of it now from your nearest grocery store or online and enjoy a better, healthier, happier life!