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Health Benefits Of Flaxseed

Flaxseeds can have a positive impact on your health. Flax seed is rich in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which may affect the hormone levels involved in the progression of cancer. The multiple flax seed health benefits are that it improves hair, skin, and nails and helps you to lose weight, reduce cholesterol and blood pressure and fights arthritis and cancer. Flaxseed is very good for the digestive system due to its high fiber content that improves bowel movement, which will prevent various digestive disorders like constipation.

The regular consumption of flaxseed and its oil ensures reduction of prostate problems male impotence and infertility. These are the important health benefits for men since the intake of flaxseed can prevent the swelling and inflammation of the prostate.

Given below are just a few of the many flax seed health benefits.

  • Flaxseeds are important for vegetarians as an alternative to fish and fish oil supplements. Flaxseed oil reduces inflammations due to gout and kidney dysfunction and it has an anti ageing effect on the body.
  • Heart: Flax seed minimizes the risk of heart attacks and strokes, and also of cardio vascular diseases.
  • Immune System: Flaxseeds strengthen and boost the immune system. They reduce damage to the nerves, and by triggering nerve impulses, they make them more responsive to stimuli.
  • Blood Pressure: The regular consumption of flaxseeds maintains blood pressure at a healthy level and prevents hypertension.
  • Blood Circulation: Flaxseeds help to improve blood circulation, as well as the functioning of the nervous system and the reproductive system. The regular absorption of calcium into the body can be facilitated through the regular inclusion of flaxseed in the diet.
  • Flaxseeds enhance the release of endorphins into the circulation of the blood which is responsible for a happy mood, less depression, and an overall feeling of well being.
  • Dietary fibers present in flaxseed are an excellent laxative.
  • Prostate problems: Regular consumption of flaxseed and its oil ensures reduction of prostate problems male impotence and infertility. These are the important health benefits for men since the intake of flaxseed can prevent the swelling and inflammation of the prostate.
  • Strong Bones, Teeth, Nails: The omega-3 fat and the linolenic acid found in flaxseed helps to improve bone health. It contains nutrition that is necessary for strong bones, teeth and nails. It can have an anti-inflammatory effect, preventing various inflammatory conditions. With its consumption, the joints are strengthened, and the levels of energy and stamina are increased.
  • It helps out in inflammation problems of the colon, and other organs of the body.
  • Menopause: It has proved its effectiveness in easing feminine discomfort in conditions of menopause, cramps and infertility. It helps in stabilizing the progesterone - estrogen ratio in the body.
  • Skin Problems: During adolescence in female teenagers, the fluctuating output of hormones in the blood lead to acne on the face which can be a demoralizing emotional experience for young girls, at least until they have grown out of this phase. A secretion through the pores of the skin especially on the face is called sebum, and it tends to thicken inside the pores and increase the acne. The fatty acids in flaxseed oil help in thinning out the sebum so that it is excreted and washed away whenever the face is thoroughly washed. The flaxseed oil soothes and cools the skin, and can lessen the acne to keep it in control. Thus flaxseed benefits for women are vital especially with regard to their reproductive system and their biological clock. More on healing properties of flaxseed
  • Kids: Flaxseed benefits for kids have been proven through extensive research. Several studies that have been conducted on school children have shown that children administered half a teaspoon of flax oil on a daily basis along with their meals had suffered fromfewer bouts of respiratory infections as compared to the children who were not given the flaxseed oil. This clearly indicates that flaxseed oil is capable of pushing up the body’s immunity. Flaxseed oil contains fats that lay the very foundation for optimal brain functioning. This fact is important at that stage of life when a child’s brain grows the fastest in the womb, and during infancy.
  • Pregnancy: Studies on the effects of flaxseed for pregnant women suggest that it would be ideal for a mother to supplement her daily diet with a teaspoon of flax oil twice a day for her entire pregnancy term and even later when breastfeeding her baby. Flaxseeds also contain soluble fiber and a decent amount of vitamins and minerals which are needed for the overall growth and healthy development of the baby.

Nutrition From Flaxseed

Since it has a high energy content, you need pay close attention to flaxseed nutritional composition. Below is the flaxseed nutritional content in approximately 100 grams:
  • Flaxseed contains a high amount of energy approximately 534 kcal It also has several vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and Vitamin B6.
  • In fact flaxseed contains very high levels of thiamine.
  • Essential minerals like iron and magnesium, phosphorus and potassium are present in large amounts.
  • Flaxseed also contains high levels of dietary fiber and is very low in sugar and sodium. Since it has low sugar content it would be good for diabetics.

Nutrients In Flaxseed

Flax seed nutrients are comprised mainly of antioxidants, vitamins, fatty acids and protein, all of which are important for your overall health. Flax seed is a rich source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Ground Flax seed contains healthy fats, and soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Ground flax seed nutrients are easier to digest as compared to the whole flaxseed.
There are a number of nutrients in flax seed oil, In fact over 50 % of the oil present is in the form of omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseed oil also comprises of a certain amount of Vitamin E which protects the cells in our body against damage by free radicals. Choline is an essential nutrient found in very small quantity in flaxseed oil. It is used by the liver to help rid the body of toxin, and it prevents the build- up of fat deposits in the liver.

Calories In Flaxseed

The calories in 1 tablespoon of flaxseed are approximately 45 calories while one tablespoon of ground flax seed contains approximately 59 calories. It is also important to note that ground flaxseeds are an excellent source of dietary fiber and just two tablespoons of ground flaxseed provide approximately 4 grams of fiber which is about 15 per cent of your daily fiber requirement. The number of calories in flaxseed oil is quite high and one tablespoon of this oil will provide 130 calories.

Side Effects Of Flaxseed

People who have taken large doses of flax seed report minor but irritating side effects, like stomach ache, or diarrhea. The omega-3 fatty acids in flax seeds are useful in reducing various types of swelling and inflammation. Unfortunately, certain compounds in flaxseed can slow down the process of coagulation of blood, which will prolong the bleeding. Therefore those with blood – thinning prescriptions should not include flaxseed or flaxseed products in their daily diet without first discussing it with a doctor or a nutritionist. If flax seeds are consumed, their consumption should not be exclusive to other items in the diet. Excess flax intake without supplementary fat sources can cause omega-6 deficiency. Flax seed has the ability to do more than balance out your fatty acids. Being high in fiber, flax seed can cause side effects like a blotted sensation, gas and stomach pain and constipation if taken dry. Flax seed side effects also include heart burn from indigestion or nausea.

Intake of flax seed can impair the effectiveness of many oral medicines so it is best to check with the doctor. If any doubt in this matter cannot be resolved, it is better to cease the intake of flax seed immediately. Some individuals are allergic to flax seed. If flax seed is to be added into the diet it is better to begin with a small test amount to check the body’s response. The flax seed side effects on women are related to those with a problem of hormonal imbalance. Research has shown in some cases premature births are also attributed to the intake of flax seed by the pregnant mother. Therefore pregnant or lactating mothers need to pay special attention to the effects of flaxseed if they happen to include them in their diet.

Submitted on January 16, 2014