Flax seeds are one of the superfoods that are popular worldwide. They are golden-yellow to brown coloured seeds and are rich in various nutrients. They are full of antioxidants, essential minerals and vitamins. Flax seeds found their place in traditional medicine early on. Nonetheless, they have recently gained popularity due to their properties in weight loss.
Weight gain or obesity is a concern for a large segment of the population globally. Those following a weight loss diet prefer these seeds because of their wide variety of nutrients such as dietary fibre and healthy fats. In addition, they are an additive to various dishes due to their mild, nutty flavour. Therefore, they are ideal thickening agents. Flaxseed oil is also quite common in cooking.
Apart from weight loss, they provide additional health benefits. These include enhancing brain function, protecting heart health, liver function, etc. In addition, these seeds also help prevent blood pressure, bone diseases and much more.
Read through to explore this superfood as an essential part of a weight loss diet.
Flax seeds: An Overview
Flax seeds come from the linseed plant. People use these seeds in recipes and to make flaxseed oil. In addition, hemp fibres from them make linen, rope and other raw materials. Linseed oil is a by-product of pressing flax seeds.
Nutritional Profile of Flax seeds
Flax seeds and flaxseed oil have low carb properties. Moreover, they are dense in essential fatty acids, including omega-3 fatty acids. The recommended dose of these seeds for daily use for a healthy individual is two tablespoons. A single dosage provides around 20-25 per cent of your daily fibre requirement. Additionally, flax seeds are a rich source of lignan, a plant compound rich in oestrogen. They help in burning fat by enhancing the functioning of the individual cells.
- Energy: 534kCal
- Carbohydrates: 29g
- Dietary Fibre: 27g
- Fats: 42g
- Proteins: 18g
- Potassium: 813 mg
- Magnesium: 392mg
- Sodium: 30mg
- Vitamin B: 26% of RDI
- VitaminC: 1% of RDI
Flax seeds for Weight Loss
If you are on a weight loss journey, include flax seeds in your diet. Also, having them at night induces better sleep quality, thereby keeping your metabolic balance in place and resulting in weight loss.
Flaxseed is dense in dietary fibre. A study states that dietary fibres help lose weight. The dietary fibres make you satiated and feel full for a longer duration. It prevents you from overeating. It also prevents you from bingeing on snacks at quick intervals. Thus, it helps control your weight.
Dietary fibres also help in binding bad cholesterol or unhealthy fats. They help in the easy elimination of unhealthy fat from your body. Otherwise, these unhealthy fats accumulate in your body. They become resistant to diet and workouts. These fats get deposited in various parts of your body in the long run — the abdomen, chest, waist and where you find such stubborn fats. As a result, it adds to your body weight.
Essential Fatty Acids
These Seeds have a good amount of omega-3and 6 fatty acids. The essential fatty acids help to increase metabolism. Metabolism is the process of converting fat into energy. One needs this energy for all body activities. So, fatty acids may help you lose weight by increasing your metabolism. Metabolism directly correlates to calorie expenditure. That means the higher your metabolism is, the more you lose calories.
Lignan is an antioxidant. Antioxidants are compounds that prevent oxidative stress on cells. Therefore, it helps neutralise the radical cell injury. Radical cell injury induces weight gain and obesity. Additionally, lignans enhance cell functions to burn fat. Thus, it helps in controlling body weight.
A study shows that protein helps in weight loss. Flax seeds are low in calories and rich in protein. Also, a high protein diet helps inhibit ghrelin synthesis or the hunger hormone. Moreover, it also boosts hormones that provide you with satiety. It prevents craving for more food. As a result, there is a decrease in hunger. Additionally, it prevents you from eating high-calorie food.
Health Benefits of Flax seeds
Flax seeds are good for various reasons. Firstly, they are a rich source of nutrients. In addition, the antioxidants themselves safeguard the body in multiple ways. Also, they are compounds that neutralise radical cell injury by reducing inflammation. Unfortunately, such cell damage induces many diseases ranging from mild flu to cancer.
Omega 3 is another active ingredient that imparts heart health, brain function, hormonal balance, etc.
These nutrients impart various health benefits like:
Improves Brain Health
In traditional medicine, brain boosters contain flax seeds. Additionally, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids play a crucial role in boosting memory. Moreover, they help regulate your mood swings. The antioxidants prevent degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, epilepsy and other inflammatory diseases.
Regulates Blood Pressure
The dietary fibres and omega-3 fatty acids effectively regulate blood pressure. Unhealthy fats or cholesterol are the primary cause of blood pressure. Omega 3 helps in increasing HDL along with reducing LDL. HDL and LDL are known as good cholesterol and bad cholesterol, respectively. The dietary fibre in flax seeds binds the unhealthy fats and eliminates them from the body. Otherwise, they accumulate and deposit along the blood vessels. As a result, it affects the smooth blood flow and exerts pressure on the heart and blood vessels. Therefore, it causes high blood pressure. Unfortunately, high blood pressure makes your body prone to heart disease, stroke, etc.
Prevents Heart Diseases
A study shows that Omega-3 fatty acids prevent heart diseases. It helps reduce the bad cholesterol in the blood. Cholesterol is the primary cause of heart disease. Moreover, lignan neutralises the radical cell injury, which results in cardiac diseases. It also prevents the hardening of arteries which affects the blood flow. Potassium helps regulate the heartbeat.
Prevents Bone Disorder
Flax seeds contain alpha-linolenic acid and antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, it helps prevent bone diseases. So, it helps prevent osteoarthritis, gout and other bone-related problems. In addition, the calcium content in flax seeds helps strengthen the bones.
Hair and Skin Care
Flax seeds are rich sources of Vitamin C and Vitamin E. Vitamin C enhances overall hair health. It includes strengthening hair follicles to prevent hair loss. Vitamin E has antioxidant properties, which ensure good scalp health. In addition, it helps avert scalp diseases like dermatitis and dandruff.
Vitamin C plays a vital role in skincare. It also promotes collagen synthesis, leading firmness to the skin. As a result, it prevents wrinkles on the skin. Moreover, it also delays the signs of ageing. Vitamin C also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It helps prevent skin rashes and other skin diseases.
Based on certain studies, flaxseed provides liver care. The omega-3 fatty acids in them help regulate the fat content. As a result, it prevents its accumulation and absorption in the liver. Moreover, lignan prevents inflammation and cell injury in the liver.
Flax seeds are rich in dietary fibre, and dietary fibre prevents constipation. Otherwise, it may cause the accumulation of toxins in the body. As a result, the condition can exert a load on the liver for detoxification.
Prevent Kidney Diseases
A study finds that flax seeds prevent and reduce the signs of kidney diseases. The antioxidants neutralise radical injury-induced renal disorders. Moreover, lignans have anti-inflammatory properties to prevent inflammatory diseases. Nephritis and renal hypertension are a few examples. They affect the smooth functioning of kidneys.
Ways to Include Flax Seeds for Weight Loss in your Diet
You can include flax seeds in your diet in various ways. For example, it’s a perfect replacement for eggs in vegetarian and vegan meal plans.
- You can add them to soups and salads to enhance the nutrient value and texture.
- Ground flax seeds are excellent thickening agents in dishes, smoothies, pancakes, etc.
- Moreover, you can use its flour in baking. It includes bread, cookies, muffins, granola bar etc.
- Furthermore, the flaxseed oil is perfect for cooking, dressing etc.
- Flax seeds with oats are a great combination in granola bars.
- You can also add it to oatmeal.
The Oatmeal flax seed is an excellent combination for breakfast. Moreover, it has various health benefits. It is an excellent protein source, dietary fibres, and omega 3-fatty acids. Additionally, both oats and flax seeds provide whole grains’ goodness.
Healthy Weight Loss Recipes Using Flax seeds
You saw the ways to incorporate it into your diet. The nutrient value is so high that people research various ways to include it in the diet. Let us find some healthy recipes.
Blueberry Flaxseed Smoothie
This simple and easy recipe is rich in antioxidants, dietary fibres, healthy fats, etc. It is a perfect start for your breakfast. It is ideal for including flax seeds for your breakfast. The protein and healthy fats revive you after hours of fasting. Moreover, the dietary fibres ensure you stay satiated for a more extended period. It prevents you from bingeing on unhealthy snacks.
- Serves: 2
- Preparation time: 5 minutes
- Calories: 210 per serving
- Portion Size: 1 cup or 250 ml
- Blueberries: 1 cup
- Ground flax seeds: 2tbsp
- Chopped spinach: ¼ cup
- Greek yoghurt: ½ cup
- Coconut milk: 1½ cup
- Blend all the ingredients until smooth.
- Serve immediately
Vegetable Salad with Flaxseed Topping
- Serves: 2
- Calories: 130
- Preparation time: 5 minutes
- Cucumber: ½ cup (chopped)
- Tomatoes: ½ cup (chopped)
- Capsicum: ¼ cup (chopped)
- Onion: ¼ cup (chopped)
- Carrot: ½ cup (chopped)
- Crushed pepper: 1tsp
- Crushed flaxseeds: 2 tbsp
- Lemon juice: ½ tbsp
- Salt: ½ tsp
- Mix all the ingredients well
Chia Seeds vs Flax Seeds for Weight Loss
Chia seed is another super seed like flax seeds. They have almost similar nutrient values. Moreover, they provide virtually identical health benefits. However, flax seeds are superior to chia seeds comparatively in certain aspects. It includes flax seeds’ properties to prevent specific cancer, weight management, and controlling appetite. In addition, the outer covering of flax seeds is not easily digestible. Thus, it makes you satiated for a longer duration.
Moreover, the dietary fibres are comparatively higher in flax seeds than in chia seeds and psyllium. Thus, making flax seeds the preferred choice. Additionally, flaxseed is the best source of lignans. To reiterate, they help in burning body fat. Moreover, flax seeds are easily accessible and less costly.
The properties of flax seeds are superior to other seeds like chia, psyllium etc.
Possible Side Effects and Precautions of using Flax Seeds
Flax seeds have multiple health benefits. However, its adverse effects can sometimes outweigh its benefits. Some individuals may develop sensitivity. Therefore, it can have negative effects on their health. Moreover, excess consumption also may result in similar side effects. Consequently, we recommend you take your doctor’s opinion before including any natural products in your regular diet.
Here are a few instances where you should refrain from flax seeds.
Avoid flax seeds and flaxseeds oil or other products if you are allergic to them. Itching, skin rashes, swelling, and redness are a few symptoms. Nausea and vomiting may also occur in some cases.
May Cause Loose Stools
Flaxseeds have high dietary fibre. It helps to avoid constipation and regulate bowel movements. However, excess dietary fibre is harmful. A sudden increase in the consumption quantity of flaxseeds may enhance abnormal bowel movements. Additionally, it causes bloating diarrhoea, stomach pain and much more.
Precautions for Lactating and Pregnant Women
Study shows you should avoid flax seeds during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Excess use of flax seeds may affect the brain functions of the foetus. Moreover, it induces nausea and vomiting if you are sensitive to it. Therefore, ensure you inform your doctor before making any changes during pregnancy.
Additionally, Flax seeds may simulate estrogen, the primary female reproductive hormone. As a result, it may affect the hormonal balance in women.
Flax seeds have the properties to reduce cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels. Therefore, it may be ideal to alter the dosage accordingly. Otherwise, it may interact with the medications. In some cases, it may make your levels too low, resulting in further complications. However, the body requires glucose, cholesterol, lipids etc., at an optimal level. Therefore, too much or too less is harmful. Moreover, flax seeds may also affect the action of certain drugs.
The Bottom Line
Flax seeds are the powerhouse of nutrients. In addition, they are a rich source of antioxidants, dietary fibres, healthy fats, minerals, etcetera. All these nutrients impart various health benefits. However, it is ideal to go for the recommended quantity. The quantity may vary from person to person. It depends on your age, medical conditions, and overall health. Therefore, always seek medical advice before including it in your regular diet.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. How many flax seeds should I eat a day?
A. Two tablespoons of flax seeds are usually safe for a healthy adult. However, it may vary according to your age, overall health and medical history. Therefore, check your doctor or dietician before using it in your regular diet.
Q. Who should avoid flax seeds?
A. Pregnant and lactating mothers should avoid flax seeds. Moreover, if you are on any medications, it is ideal to consult with your doctor before taking them. Flax seeds may interact with some drugs.
Q. Which is better, flax or chia seeds?
A. Flax seeds are better than chia seeds. Also, it has better nutrient properties than chia seeds. Moreover, lignan content is highest in flax seeds.
Q. Does flaxseed make you poop?
A. Flaxseed is rich in dietary fibre. Including flaxseed in your food increases intestinal movements. It prevents constipation and other digestive disorders.
Q. Does flaxseed make hair thicker?
A. Flax seeds are rich sources of vitamin C and vitamin E. Vitamin C enhances overall hair health. It includes strengthening the hair follicles prevents hair loss. Thus, making your hair thick.
Q. Is oatmeal with flaxseed good for you?
A. Yes, it is good for you. It is an excellent protein source, dietary fibres, and omega 3-fatty acids. Additionally, both oats and flax seeds provide whole grains’ goodness.
Q. Which is better for constipation, flaxseed or psyllium?
A. Flax seeds are better for constipation. In addition, flax seeds have more nutrients than psyllium. Therefore, the dietary fibre value is better in flax seeds than in psyllium. However, both help to prevent constipation.
Q. Can we eat flax seeds empty stomach?
A. Yes, it is good to eat on an empty stomach. However, you can include it with your breakfast. Flaxseed smoothie, oats and flaxseed with fruits, nuts and berries are an excellent combination to begin your day.
Q. Is flaxseed good for fatty liver?
A. Yes, flax seeds are good for fatty liver. They help regulate fat absorption by the liver. Moreover, the antioxidants neutralise the radical cell injury, which may damage the liver cells.
Q. Are flaxseeds good for kidneys?
A. Yes, flaxseeds are good for kidneys. They prevent and reduce the signs of kidney diseases. In addition, the antioxidants neutralise radical injury-induced renal disorders.