Flaxseed is loaded with health benefits, according to science

If you want to include more nutrients in your diet without even trying, you may want to make friends with flaxseed.

“Flaxseed is widely available and sold whole or ground,” says registered nutritionist Heather Shassa. “Choose the options for ground, ground or crushed, as the grinding process helps release the power of flaxseed by giving you access to its amazing nutrients.”

And these amazing nutrients do a lot.

Flaxseed is good for your heart, hormones and gut health, plus it’s a plant-based omega-3 food, says Amanda Soseda, MS, RD. powder before consuming the seeds.

But before you deal with flaxseed, pay attention to this advice from Sauceda: “Flax is so high in fiber that your gut may not be a fan of it at first,” she says, advising adding flaxseed to your diet. slowly and drink more water.

As Sauceda says, if you eat whole flaxseed, you can see all the flaxseed appear in the stool (mini!) Because of its fiber, which makes it harder to digest. “This shouldn’t be a problem, as long as you don’t find a lot of undigested food in your stools and your intestines tolerate fiber,” says Soseda.

But there is also much to learn about flaxseed, such as what flaxseed actually is, why it is so healthy, and the complex nature of these omega-3s.

Here’s what nutritionists have to say about all this – and more.

What are flax seeds?

“Flaxseeds are the edible seeds of the flaxseed plant and are used to make flaxseed or flaxseed oil,” says Shasa, noting that flaxseed has a slightly nutty taste. “Flaxseed is one of the richest sources of lignans, a compound found naturally in plants. Lignans can act as an antioxidant that can reduce damage to our cells, reduce inflammation and help reduce the risk of certain diseases.”

Are flaxseeds healthy?

Yes.

Here is the breakdown of nutrients: “Two tablespoons of ground flaxseed is approximately 15 grams and this will give you almost three grams of protein, three grams of ALA fatty acids (a type of omega-3 found in plants) and 3.5 grams of fiber. “Sauceda said, citing the USDA’s FoodData Central. A serving of two tablespoons of ground flaxseed has approximately 75 calories.

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And flaxseed provides various health benefits. First, they have good fats for you. Flaxseed is an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid – the aforementioned ALA – which is an omega-3 essential fatty acid, Shasa said.

However, the levels of omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed are pale compared to oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines – so take the language on the label of flaxseed products with grain skepticism.

“The fiber found in flaxseed can improve its lipid-lowering effects,” says Shasa. “Studies show that 30-50 g of flaxseed a day reduces total cholesterol by 5% to 15% and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol by 8% to 18%. Evidence from small clinical trials in people with prediabetes and diabetes shows a moderate reduction in fasting blood sugar and insulin levels. The potential health benefits do not end there. Preliminary clinical studies have shown that flaxseed can affect the prostate by reducing markers of prostate cancer levels, particularly prostate-specific antigen (PSA), and may also help slow the growth of prostate cancer cells. “

The best way to eat flax seeds is ground, because this way you will get more of their food.

As mentioned above, the lignan content of flaxseed is also a boon to health. “There is an interesting document that discusses the relationship with lignans, which interact with our intestinal microbiome and become a compound that has anti-cancer properties and probably affects the health of our brain through the gut-brain axis,” said Sauseda.

Finally, flaxseed may play a role in maintaining cardiovascular health. “While ground flaxseed may be easier to digest, there are studies looking at the benefits of whole flaxseed for heart health,” said Soseda. “Whole flaxseed has been found to have a positive effect on total cholesterol and ‘bad’ cholesterol, also known as LDL.” She also notes that flaxseed oil may also have some anti-inflammatory effects.

How do you eat flaxseed?

Although they are not something you will want to eat as a snack, flaxseeds can be added to a variety of dishes. It is worth repeating: “The best way to eat flaxseed is ground, because that way you will get more from their food. “Whole flax seeds are difficult to digest, and grinding them makes it easier for your body to access its nutrients,” says Soseda.

Some of the ways Sauceda suggests using flaxseed are to sprinkle ground flax in your morning bowl of oats or in your smoothie. “Ground flax can also be used as a crumb for chicken,” she said. “Because flaxseed is high in fiber, it can also be used as a thickener, as in a creamy salad dressing.

Shasa also emphasizes that you can use flaxseed as a vegan substitute for eggs in pastries. Just combine one tablespoon of flaxseed with three tablespoons of water, letting the mixture thicken for five to 10 minutes.

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