Flaxseed is one of the oldest crops that humans have cultivated. It was initially grown in the U.S. by colonists for use in textile production. Years of research have shown that flaxseed and its byproducts contain high levels of essential vitamins and minerals, making the crop a staple superfood in various diet schemes. An article in AuthorityNutrition.com lists down 10 health benefits of consuming this superfood.
High nutrient content – This superfood is touted for having high levels of essential nutrients. According to the article, one tablespoon of ground flaxseeds contain 1,597 mg of omega-3 fatty acids. This serving also contains significant amounts of vitamin B1 and B6, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium as well as folate, iron, and proteins.
Rich omega-3 levels – Flaxseeds are known to be packed with alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid commonly found in plants. Omega-3 is essential for maintaining heart health. A study published in the journal Circulation found that people who had higher ALA levels had a reduced heart attack risk than those with lower levels. Another review showed that higher ALA consumption was tied to a 14 percent reduction in heart disease risk. The findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Anti-cancer superfood – The crop is known to be an excellent source of lignans. Lignans are plant compounds that contain anti-oxidant properties. According to the article, flaxseed has about 800 times more lignans than other crops, making it an ideal anti-cancer superfood. A Canadian study published in the journal Cancer Causes and Control examined more than 6,000 women and found that those who consumed flaxseeds had an 18 percent reduced risk of breast cancer. A small study also revealed that men who ate flaxseeds had lower odds of developing prostate cancer. The findings were published in the journal Urology.
High fiber content – According to a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, one tablespoon of flaxseeds may provide eight percent of the recommended daily intake of fiber for men and about 12 percent for women. The superfood is also known to contain 2o percent to 40 percent soluble fiber, and 60 percent to 80 percent insoluble fiber.
Cholesterol management – The crop is touted for its ability to reduce cholesterol levels. In fact, a study revealed that people who consumed three tablespoons of flaxseed daily for three months attained a 17 percent reduction in total cholesterol levels and 20 percent decrease in bad cholesterol levels. The findings appear in Biomedical Journal.
Blood pressure regulation – Being rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, it is no wonder that flaxseeds promote healthy blood pressure levels. According to a study published in Hypertension, consuming 30 grams of flaxseeds daily for six months may significantly lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Blood sugar control – Several studies have demonstrated that type-2 diabetes patients who added a few grams of flaxseed into their diets attained an eight percent to 20 percent reduction in blood sugar levels. According to researchers, the crop’s high insoluble fiber content defers glucose release in the blood stream.
High protein content – Flaxseeds are packed with high-quality, plant-based proteins that are rich in amino acids, glutamic acids, arginine, and aspartic acid. According to the article, the crop may serve as an alternative protein source for those who do not eat meat.
Improved satiety – Adding flaxseeds to your diet may lessen hunger pangs and improve satiety. A study revealed that participants who added flaxseeds into their beverage reported less hunger and overall appetite. The results appear in the journal Appetite.
Versatile ingredient – According to the the article, flaxseeds can be incorporated in your daily diet by adding it to a variety of common foods such as cereals, meat patties and pastries.
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Flaxseed is indeed emerging as an essential functional food ingredient! Try integrating this food item in your diet now.