Flaxseeds are a rich source of the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid, lignans, and dietary fibers.
It possesses anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and lipid modulating properties.
It has numerous health benefits starting from metabolic syndrome to cancer.
Name of flaxseeds in different languages
Flaxseeds meaning in Hindi: In Hindi, it is known as Alsi (अलसी)
Flaxseeds in Malayalam: In Malayalam, it is known as Caṇa vittukaḷ (ചണ വിത്തുകൾ)
Flaxseeds in Kannada: In Kannada, it is known as Agase bījagaḷu (ಅಗಸೆ ಬೀಜಗಳು)
Flaxseeds in Marathi: In Marathi, it is known as Ambāḍī biyāṇē (अंबाडी बियाणे)
Flaxseeds in Telugu: In Telugu, it is known as Avise gin̄jalu (అవిసె గింజలు)
Flaxseeds have emerged as a superfood and also functional food because of added health benefits.
Several scientific pieces of evidence have pointed out their various health benefits.
They are packed with omega-3 fatty acids which helps them in fighting inflammation.
It is beneficial for people suffering from high blood pressure and hypertension by lowering cholesterol and protecting the heart.
It contains proteins, Carbohydrates, Fiber, mineral (like iron, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus), Vitamin B1 to B6.
Flaxseed contains large amount of lignans that defend against prostate and breast cancer.
Lignans build insulin resistance and regulate blood sugar which assists in preventing diabetes type 2.
How to eat flaxseeds
Flaxseed should be eaten as grounded rather than as a whole seed or oil.
Grinding of flaxseeds allows your body to absorb the nutrients better.
It can be eaten by mixing with water, cereals, with shake or smoothie.
It can be also added in the homemade bakery items, yogurt or even salads.
Flaxseeds have been successfully incorporated in several ready to eat foods like snack bars, muffins, bread, buns, biscuits, and pasta.
Health benefit of flaxseeds
Dietary Flaxseed and Cancers: Lignans found in the flaxseeds is a nonsteroidal phytoestrogen resembles with mammalian estrogens, and hence produce estrogen-like effects in mammals. Gut microbiota converts Lignans to enterolactone. Several scientific studies have indicated the protective effect of enterolactone in cancers of the breast, colon, prostate, gut, and lung.
Healthy fats: Flaxseeds Omega-3 fatty acid and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) have similar functional significance docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
Flaxseed and skin health: Dietary supplementation of flaxseed has been shown to correct the balance of pro- and anti-inflammatory oxylipins which prevent skin aging. Flaxseed oil id very good for the skin.
Flaxseed and gut health: Supplementation of flaxseeds improves the health of the gut microbiota. This is because of the dietary fiber and lignans found in the flaxseeds. Flaxseed supplementation prevents the constipation.
Flaxseed and metabolic syndromes: Consumption of flaxseeds helps lower of triglycerides and LDL and HDL cholesterol levels. All these decrease the risk of metabolic syndromes like obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
Flaxseed and blood sugar: Dietary flaxseeds is helpful in weight management, lowering of the blood sugar level.
Anti-nutrient property of Flaxseeds
Flaxseeds have several anti-nutrient component such as protease inhibitors, phytic acids, linatine, and cyanogenic glycosides.
So far there are no deleterious effects that have been reported in human studies.
To avoid these anti-nutrients components Flaxseeds should always eat after shallow roasting. Roasting of flaxseed destroyed these anti-nutrients.
Take home message
Flaxseed supplementation with diet has a range of health benefits starting from metabolic syndromes to cancer. It can be eaten in a varieties of ways.
- Kajla P, Sharma A, Sood DR. Flaxseed-a potential functional food source. J Food Sci Technol. 2015;52(4):1857-1871. doi:10.1007/s13197-014-1293-y
- Giada Mde L. Food applications for flaxseed and its components: products and processing. Recent Pat Food Nutr Agric. 2010 Nov;2(3):181-6. PMID: 20858193.
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