Flaxseed: An indispensable piece for a healthy body

Flaxseed is one of the seeds that are very rich in omega-3, antioxidants, fiber, help prevent cancer cells, and provide great support for the body’s muscle building process.

Since ancient times, flaxseeds have been valued as one of the healthiest seeds. Especially, in this day and age, when there are many studies showing the health benefits of flaxseed, this seed is more and more popular than ever.

Overview of flaxseed

The scientific name of flaxseed is Linum usitatissimum. In Latin, this name means very useful. This plant is not only a nutritious food, but it is also used to make oil, and to spin yarn to create sails, bowstrings and armor.

There are two types of flax seeds, brown flax and yellow flax. Both types are similar in nutritional composition and are both excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. However, as with all foods, growing conditions and other factors will play an important role in determining quality. In the raw form, this type of seed is usually amber, yellow, fawn, brown, reddish brown. White or green seeds are usually harvested before ripening and black seeds are usually harvested after ripening.

Nutritional value in 100g of flaxseed

  • Energy – 524kcal
  • Protein – 19.05g
  • Fat – 42.86g
  • Carbohydrates – 28.57g
  • Fiber – 28.6g
  • Sugar – 0g
  • Calcium – 286mg
  • Iron – 5.14g
  • Sodium – 24mg
  • Vitamin C – 0mg
  • Vitamin A – 0IU
  • Saturated fat – 4.76g
  • Trans fat – 0mg
  • Cholesterol – 0mg

Health benefits of flaxseed

According to research, flaxseeds can give you the following health benefits:

High in omega-3 fats

If you’re a vegetarian or don’t eat fish, flaxseeds may be the best source of omega-3 fats. Because these nuts are rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an essential fatty acid that needs to be obtained from food because the body cannot produce it on its own.

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Animal studies have shown that ALA can also prevent cholesterol from accumulating in the blood vessels of the heart, reduce inflammation in the arteries, and reduce tumor growth.

A study in Costa Rica with 3,638 people found that those who supplemented with ALA had a lower risk of heart attack and stroke than those who supplemented with less ALA.

Furthermore, a recent review also concluded that ALA has cardiovascular health benefits comparable to those of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Reduce the risk of cancer

Lignans are plant compounds with antioxidant properties that help reduce cancer risk and improve health. Interestingly, flaxseed contains 800 times more lignans than other plant foods. Studies show that people who eat flaxseed have a lower risk of breast cancer, especially in postmenopausal women.

Men who eat flaxseed can also get a lot of health benefits. In a study done with 15 men, the results showed that those given 30g per day had a lower risk of prostate cancer.

Flaxseed also has the ability to prevent colon cancer and skin cancer. However, this benefit will require more research to pinpoint.

Rich in fiber

One tablespoon of flaxseed contains up to 3g of fiber, which corresponds to 8-12% of the recommended daily intake for men and women. Furthermore, nuts contain two types of fiber – soluble (20–40%) and insoluble (60–80%). This fiber duo will bring great support to the digestive process, helping you to have regular bowel movements.

Soluble fiber slows digestion, helps regulate blood sugar and lowers cholesterol. Meanwhile, insoluble fiber will help soften stools. This helps prevent constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulitis.


Flaxseeds are good for heart health

Lower cholesterol levels

Another health benefit is that flaxseed can lower cholesterol levels. In a study done in people with high cholesterol, consuming 30g of flaxseed meal daily for three months was able to reduce total cholesterol by 17% and “bad” cholesterol by almost 20%.

Another study done with people with diabetes found that taking 10g of flaxseed meal daily for a month increased “good” cholesterol by 12%. Postmenopausal women who consume 30g per day will reduce bad cholesterol by about 10%. The reason for this is that fiber binds to bile salts and is then eliminated by the body.

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A study done in Canada showed that eating 30g of flaxseeds daily for 6 months can reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 10 mmHg and 7 mmHg respectively.

According to a large review from 11 studies, taking flaxseeds daily for more than three months can reduce blood pressure by 2 mmHg. Although this number may seem insignificant, it can reduce the risk of dying from stroke by 10% and from heart disease by 7%.

Rich in high quality protein

Flaxseeds are an excellent source of plant protein, especially this protein is rich in the amino acids arginine, aspartic acid and glutamine.

Numerous animal and laboratory studies have shown that protein improves immune function, lowers cholesterol, prevents tumors, and has antifungal properties.

Control blood sugar

Type 2 diabetes is a leading health concern worldwide. This condition is characterized by high blood sugar levels due to the body’s inability to secrete insulin or to resist it.

Some studies have found that people with type 2 diabetes who added 10–20g of flaxseed meal to their daily diet for at least a month experienced an 8–20% reduction in blood sugar.

This effect is due to the high insoluble fiber content. Research has found that insoluble fiber slows down the release of sugar into the bloodstream and lowers blood sugar.

Weight control

If you’re a snacker, you might consider adding flaxseed to your beverage to stave off hunger. One study found that adding 2.5g of ground flaxseed extract to a drink could reduce hunger and cravings.

This may be due to the effect of the soluble fiber content. This nutrient slows down digestion in the stomach, activating a series of hormones that control appetite and provide a feeling of fullness.

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Note when using


Avoid heating flaxseed oil when using

Despite its many health benefits, in fact, this nut is not suitable for everyone. You should consult your doctor before use if:

  • Are using blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin) or aspirin
  • Are taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Are taking cholesterol-lowering medication
  • Have hormone-sensitive breast or uterine cancer
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Allergic to nuts

In addition, when using, you also need:

  • Avoid eating them raw as they may contain toxic compounds
  • Use ground flaxseeds, and at the same time provide the body with fluids to prevent digestive problems
  • Buy only small bottles of flaxseed oil in dark bottles and store them in the refrigerator because this oil goes bad very quickly. Also, avoid using expired oil.
  • Avoid heating oil when cooking. Add oil to prepared dishes and avoid microwaves to reheat.
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How to add flaxseed to the diet?

Flaxseed or flaxseed oil can be used in many ways to prepare a variety of foods:

  • Dissolve the powder in water and drink it every day
  • Use oil to make salad dressings
  • Sprinkle ground flaxseed on your breakfast cereal
  • Mix in yogurt
  • Add to cookies, muffins, bread or other baked goods.

When adding to your diet, you should:

  • Use it ground up instead of whole because your intestines can’t actually break down the hard outer shell. However, you can still buy whole flaxseeds, grind them in a coffee grinder and store them in an airtight container.
  • Whole flaxseeds can usually be stored for 6-12 months if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place. You can also refrigerate it and it can be safely stored for a year or longer.
  • Flaxseed oil is sensitive to heat and light, so it’s best to store it in a dark glass bottle and keep it in a cool, dark place like a kitchen cabinet. Because flaxseed contains some heat-sensitive nutrients, the oil is not suitable for cooking at high temperatures.
  • However, some studies have shown that the use of flaxseed oil for mild stir-frying at 177°C will not cause quality loss.
  • It should be noted that flaxseed oil contains more ALA than flaxseed. One tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains 1.6 grams, while one tablespoon of oil contains 7 grams of ALA
  • However, flaxseeds contain a host of other beneficial nutrients that are not found in the oil extracted, such as fiber.

How many flaxseeds should you take per day?

The health benefits noted in the studies above were done with just 1 tablespoon (10g) of ground flaxseeds per day. However, you should keep your servings under 5 tablespoons (50g) per day.

Reference source

How healthy is flaxseed? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263405 Accessed date: 16/12/2020

Top 10 Health Benefits of Flax Seeds https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-flaxseeds Accessed: 12/16/2020

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