The health world is progressing at a pace that is almost impossible to keep up with. Every day, health-conscious dedicated people strive to catch up with the latest updates in the field and incorporate them into their lifestyle – most importantly, diet. For instance, green tea, soya, and quinoa were quite the ‘rage’ and continue to be so, to an extent. Another such ‘wonder food’, as claimed in recent times, is flax seeds.
Flax seeds have a history! It was cultivated as far back as 3000 BC, and the 8th-century monarch Charlemagne made it compulsory for his subjects to consume it. Now flax seeds are back in fashion, and research findings suggest that the king may have been right.
Here are ten benefits of flax seeds:
- High nutritive value
Flax seeds are rich in protein, vitamins such as B1 and B6, and minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus. More importantly, they contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are considered ‘good’ essential fats. They also have lignans and both soluble and insoluble fibre. These nutrients provide a host of health benefits that make flax seeds the new ‘superfood’.
- Contain omega-3 fats
Flax seeds contain alpha-linolenic acid, a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid that isn’t produced by the body and needs to be ingested. It prevents cholesterol from being deposited in the blood vessels, reducing inflammation and tumour growth.
- Contain lignans
Lignans are plant compounds which have antioxidant and oestrogen properties. Flax seeds have a high amount of lignans when compared to other plant foods. It reduces the risk of cancer – especially breast cancer in postmenopausal women. In men, it lowers the risk of prostate cancer.
- Rich in fibre
One tablespoon of flax seeds supplies 8 to 12% of the recommended daily fibre intake. Soluble fibre increases the consistency of intestinal matter and slows down the digestion rate, which helps regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Insoluble fibre makes the stool softer and easier to pass, preventing constipation.
- Antioxidant properties
The lignans act as antioxidants and help fight toxins that cause damage to the internal organs of the body. It prevents premature signs of ageing and can even battle some forms of cancer.
- Lower risk of heart disease
The role played by omega-3 fatty acid in lowering blood pressure and improving cholesterol levels helps to fight heart disease.
- Promote healthy weight
The fibre leaves you feeling full for a long time, cutting off any cravings and preventing unhealthy snacking. Thus, it can prevent unnecessary weight gain.
- Improve digestive health
The fibre also promotes healthy and smooth digestion, reducing constipation and bloating, and even the risk of colon cancer.
- Great sources of protein
Flax seeds contain high-quality plant-based protein which is rich in the amino acids arginine, aspartic acid and glutamic acid. They improve immunity, prevent tumours and might even have anti-fungal properties, according to some studies.
- Control of diabetes
Some basic research suggests that the lignans in flax seeds are associated with improving blood sugar levels, which is helpful for people with type 2 diabetes.
The best thing about flax seeds is that they are a versatile ingredient and can be used to improve a wide range of dishes, as salad dressing, cereal topping, smoothie thickener, etc. They can be mixed with yoghurt, muffin batter, meat patties, or simply consumed with water. For best results, consider the organic version of flax seeds which, in addition to all these health benefits, is also free from chemical pesticides and fertilisers. You can find them at 24 Mantra’s online organic store here: https://www.24mantra.com/