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Therapeutic potential of Flax Seeds

Flax Seeds or linseed (linum usitatissimum) in the family Linaceae. It is a flowering plant and grow as a fiber crop in moderate climate all over the world.

Basically they are small oil seeds and introduced in Middle East. They acquire recognition as healthy food.

Flax seed is one of the oldest seed and can be brown or golden but both are equally healthy.

Flax seed is a rich source of protein, Omega-3 fatty acid, vitamins, minerals and fiber. 

Their health benefits are generally associated to omega-3 fatty acids, Lignans and fiber. Use of flax seed in human diet is very beneficial.

Benefits of Flax Seeds

Following are the health benefits of Flax seed

1. Rich in Nutrients

Flax seeds are rich in nutrients. One table spoon of flax seeds contain 37 calories having 1.3 gram protein, 2 gram carbs, 1.9 gram fiber, 3 grams fat , 1.8 grams omega-3 fatty acid, vitamin B1,Vitamin B6, Folate, calcium, iron , magnesium, phosphorus and  potassium.

It also contains Lignans, tryptophan, valine, tyrosine and lysine. Lignin is an antioxidant and reduce the risk of cancer.

2. High in Omega-3 Fatty Acid

Flax seeds is one of the best source of omega-3 fatty acid.

It is loaded with alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) that is the plant based omega-3 fatty acid.

Omega -3 fatty acid is essential fatty acid so it cannot be synthesized by human body but it can be acquire by the food we eat.

alpha-linolenic acid is very essential for healthy heart and reduce cholesterol level.

It is also linked to reduce the risk of stroke. Flax seed is the best source of omega -3 for vegetarian.

3. Help in Weight Loss

Flax seed is full of fiber. So it can suppress the hunger because fiber keep stomach full for longer.

Flax seeds increase the efficiency of body to lose weight.

The fiber in flax seed prevent the absorption of food and make the stomach full for longer.

The fiber also promote good bacteria and helps to increase the metabolism.

It contains lignans that promotes the cell functioning in order to burn body fat.

One table spoon of flax seeds in a day helps to lose weight.

4. Improve Cholesterol

Flax seeds are used to reduce cholesterol level.

In order to lower the cholesterol level in blood fiber in flax seeds stick to the bile and then it is removed from the body.

So to restore the bile the cholesterol is extract from the blood towards liver.

So in this way, it lowers the blood cholesterol level. Omega-3 is responsible for lowering the blood sugar level.

According to research, three table spoon of flax seed per day for three months lowers the bad cholesterol level by 17%.

One table spoon of flax seeds daily for one month increase the good cholesterol level by 12%.

So, rich fiber in flax seed leads to lowering of blood cholesterol level and also reduce the risk of heart diseases.

5. Control Blood Sugar

As flax seeds are rich in fiber and fiber takes more time to digest so it delays the release of sugar in blood.

Lignans are essential for the control of blood sugar. Flax seeds or flaxseed oil is very useful for controlling diabetes.

Flax seed lowers the blood sugar level right after meal when the sugar level is high in blood because it is rich in fiber.

It lowers the blood sugar level by insoluble fiber.

According to research one to two tablespoon of flax seed reduce 8-20% of blood sugar level.

6. Reduce Blood Pressure

Flax seeds are also capable to reduce blood pressure. Omega-3 fatty acid help to control blood pressure.

So it is very useful for the patients having high blood pressure.

According to research 3 tablespoon of flax seeds per day for five to six months reduce the blood pressure i.e. systolic and diastolic by 10mmHg and having flax seeds daily for 90 days reduce the blood pressure by 2mmHg.  

7. Reduce the Risk of Cancer

Lignans in flax seeds also act as an anti-oxidant reduce the risk of cancer.

It contains more lignans than other plants or seeds.

They are essential for p preventing colon, breast, prostate and skin cancer.

According to research 2-3 tablespoon of flax seeds per day inhibit the tumor growth.

Flax seed lowers the production of estrogen and thus prevent from breast cancer.

8. Exclude Digestive Problems

Flax seeds promotes good bacteria of gut and prevent from digestive diseases as they are good source of omega-3 fatty acid.

The soluble fiber in it aids in processing the digestion. Flax seed oil can act as lubricant for digestive system.

It also helps in speeding the intestinal movement and increase the efficiency of bowel movement.

Fiber help to keep digestive system healthy and bulks up stool for regular bowel movement which is very useful for the prevention of constipation.

9. Preventing Heart Diseases

Flax seed is the rich source of omega-3 fatty acid and omega-3 aids for the prevention of many heart diseases.

It promotes the anti-inflammatory action and normalize the heartbeat. It also reduce the cholesterol level.

They are essential for lowering the blood pressure.

By lowering the blood pressure risk of stroke is reduced by 10% and other heart diseases by 7%.

Conclusion

Flax seeds are the good source of many nutrients like proteins, fiber, fats, omega-3 fatty acid, fiber, fats, vitamins and minerals.

It has many heath benefits as it is good for weight loss, diabetes, heat diseases, cancer and many other disease.

Flax seeds are considered as healthy food.

Written by  Romaisa Bashir (BSc Hons) Human Nutrition and Dietetics, Institute of Food and Nutritional Sciences, PMAS Arid Agricultural University, Rawalpindi.

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