• 06/20/2023

5 Impressive Benefits of Flax Seeds

Impressive Benefits of Flax Seeds

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Far too few people know about the wonders of flax. These tiny seeds pack a nutritional wallop, containing several substances vital to positive health. What are the impressive benefits of flax seeds? 

Millions of people across America would benefit from getting more flax seeds in their diet. Fortunately, doing so is simple, as you can use them in scores of different ways. 

Why should you head to your grocer’s now and invest in a bag of flaxseed meal? Here are five impressive benefits of flax seeds that will rock your physical and mental health. 

All About the Beautiful Flax Flower 

If you have a big dry, sandy patch for a “lawn,” perhaps you should skip the grass and plant flax. This flower thrives in soils traditionally considered poor, making it a blessing for people who live in arid regions. It comes in blue and scarlet varieties, offering plenty of color to intersperse with decorative stone and river rock. It’s also a hardy perennial, returning year after year with minimal help. 

Flax’s beautiful, delicate blooms look gorgeous as borders — or fill an entire meadow. Artists love the seed because its oil makes linseed oil, traditionally used to increase the fixing strength of oil paints and adjust their thickness while enhancing luster. However, that’s not all the tiny seeds contain. They’re also one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids. 

Flax Seeds, Omega-3s and Your Health

Omega-3s matter bigly for your brain and heart health, and most Americans don’t get nearly enough. There are two types of essential fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6. The problem is proportion — while an ideal ratio is closer to 2:1 or 1:1, our reliance on vegetable oils has many people consuming as high as a 16:1 ratio, with omega-6s vastly outweighing omega-3s. The imbalance spurs systemic inflammation that contributes to chronic disease. 

Where do you get omega-3s? First, it’s important to know that there are three types:

  • ALA: found mainly in plants, like flaxseeds. 
  • EPA and DHA: found primarily in seafood. 

Your body can convert some ALA to EPA and then DHA, although it isn’t the most efficient. Still, this is good news for vegans. Everyone else can benefit from more lean protein from seafood. They can also look to flax seeds, which deliver more ALA than any other food, offering double your daily RDA in a single tablespoon — and that’s not all. These tiny powerhouses have other benefits. 

4 Impressive Benefits of Flax Seeds 

Check out these five impressive benefits of flax seeds to see why you need more of them in your diet. 

1. May Improve Your Digestion

Flax seeds aren’t just an omega-3 powerhouse. They also pack a fiber-rich wallop. Fiber is prebiotic, meaning it nourishes your intestinal microbiome — the tiny microorganisms that help you digest. 

That’s great for gut bacteria, but what does it do for you? For one, it makes the go easier. Fiber draws water to your stool, and healthy digestion helps you eliminate waste. Furthermore, you could even get a mood boost. You make 95% of your body’s serotonin in your gut, leaving you to wonder if you smile because it’s easier to poop or because you have a healthy amount of this happy neurotransmitter. 

2. May Boost Heart Health 

Omega-3s are crucial for preventing heart disease, which remains the number one killer worldwide. Studies suggest that excess intake of omega-6 fatty acids in proportion to omega-3s can spur poor outcomes by encouraging atherogenesis — the buildup of harmful fatty plaque in your arteries. Restoring a healthier ratio by embracing the benefits of flax seeds can lower your risk of heart attack and stroke. 

3. May Keep Your Mind Healthy as You Age 

Your brain also needs the omega-3s in flax seeds. Studies in animals and human infants demonstrate that this essential fatty acid is crucial for neural development. 

Furthermore, a recent study found that fish oil supplementation in older adults is associated with a lower rate of all-cause dementia, vascular dementia and frontotemporal dementia, although not Alzheimer’s. Getting more flax seeds in your diet may help you preserve brain health as you age. 

4. May Protect Against Cancer 

Does breast cancer run in your family? If so, you have an extra reason to increase your flax seed consumption. Studies in animals suggest that the ALAs in this plant-based food can reduce your breast cancer risk. Other studies using human cells also suggest this effect. Flax seeds contain lignans, substances that work like phytoestrogens (plant-based estrogens) to help balance female hormones. 

How to Eat Flax Seeds

If you take nothing else from this article, remember this: you have to grind your flax seeds for them to have maximum effect. That’s because the whole seeds can pass through your tract undigested (they’re tiny!), meaning you don’t get the benefits. Fortunately, you’ll find the ground flax seed meal next to the whole seeds at many groceries, so you don’t have to dig out your mortar and pestle. 

Here’s another thing that makes flax so fabulous — you can substitute it for some of that omega-6-rich vegetable oil many recipes call for. Here’s the ratio you want:

  • Substitute 1 cup of milled flaxseed for each ⅓ cup of vegetable oil. 

Voila! Anything coming out of your kitchen will be healthier for the typical diet than nearly any store-bought treat. Important note: linseed oil itself is non-toxic, and you can buy commercially produced flaxseed oil intended for culinary use — but only cold. Its low smoke point means that the omega-3s degrade in high heat, so stick with the above substitution. You can, however, use it in salad dressings to increase your omega-3 intake. 

Another way to get more flax seeds in your diet is to go wild sprinkling the ground seed on everything. It’s a snap to add to salads without changing the flavor. You can also use it to thicken soups and sauces, even when cool — stir a bit into nearly any dressing or topper 

Impressive Benefits of Flax Seeds 

If there’s one food you add to your diet this year, make it flax seeds. These are your best plant-based bet for omega-3 fatty acids, which far too many people don’t eat in sufficient amounts. 

Fortunately, these tiny seeds are a snap to add to your diet. Get creative with how you add them to your diet and reap the impressive benefits of flax seeds. 

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