Flax seed and flax seed products contain a variety of powerful nutrients that can help regulate digestion and alleviate symptoms, including dry eyes and sore throats, with their high fatty acid levels. The American Cancer Society is currently examining studies on the effects of the lignans in flax seed, which may affect estrogen levels in the body. Lignans may help prevent estrogen-linked cancers, but more research is needed to determine whether or not the food has notable effects on cancer growth and development. Lignans are present in the seed, not its oil. Other health benefits of the food include assistance with cognitive functions, alleviation of menopausal symptoms, and laxative qualities making it veritable superfood for the masses.
1. Full of Nutrients
There are many health benefits of flax seed oil:
- Alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, is found in exceptionally high quantities in the food. This substance is believed to lower blood triglycerides and help reduce low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol levels. To lower your bad cholesterol even more try brazil nuts.
- Omega-3 fatty acids found in the oil can also help relieve sore throats and dry eye symptoms suffered by those with allergies or seasonal colds.
- The oil of flax seed also contains very high amounts of fiber, making it a good digestive aid. For more fiber try arugula
Side effects of oil use can include:
For more nutritious superfoods checkout our 50 Best Superfoods of 2015
Doctors recommend avoiding taking medications and flax seed oil within one to two hours of each other because the oil may interfere with medicinal absorption. Women taking flax seed may experiences changes in menstruation, and it’s best to talk to a doctor before adding the substance to your diet if you are pregnant or have serious health concerns.
2. Great for Women
Women in particular can enjoy the health benefits of the flax seed plant. The plant is higher than any other in lignans, which have proven to help normalize estrogen levels in the body. A variety of nutrients, including vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, and E, give flax seed the ability to help with focus and concentration. Essential fatty acids found in flax seed products can also assist with the reduction of skin problems and blemishes. For even healthier looking skin try coconut oil. Tests have shown that it may aid in the relief of many menopausal symptoms, including cramps.
Flax seed oil capsules are a great way to get the benefits of flax seed in an easily portable package. Oil capsules are shelf stable, allowing you to keep a month’s supply or more on hand for regular supplementation. They also go down easily with a glass of water. The high concentration of oil found in capsules may also assist with many cognitive functions. These include retaining emotional stability as well as increased focus and concentration. This makes them a potential choice for those looking to ward off the effects of such debilitating diseases as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Most capsules are a one-per-day supplement, and a single serving per day of the oil is all that’s needed for most of its purported health benefits. Capsules should be protected from heat and bright light, which may reduce their effectiveness or even spoil the oils inside.
4. Helps prevent Diabetes
Flax seed powder is another easily consumable form of delivery. A single teaspoon may be sprinkled on a variety of different foods for quick and easy consumption. Powder, also known as flax seed meal, is made of ground flax seed and contains the lignans that are not present in the oil. It is much easier to store than flax seed oil liquids and capsules, needing only a dry area for safe storage.
The benefits of flax seed meal also include assistance with diabetes management. The meal itself contains both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber slows digestion and helps create a more gradual increase in blood-sugar levels after a meal. Lignans and omega-3 fatty acids both work to regulate the immune system and aid digestion, making the powder a solid choice as a regular supplement. Another good superfood powder to add to your daily supplement is spirulina.
Dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, is believed to be a leading cause of baldness, and the ALA found in flax seed can help block the enzyme that creates DHT in the body. By preventing DHT from shrinking hair follicles, flax seed helps ensure continued growth. The omega-3 fatty acids can also help the body more easily deal with forms of stress, preventing another major cause of baldness. Telogen effluvium is the scientific name for a form of hair loss due to stress, and reducing the effects of stress can help combat this issue. Other diseases commonly treated with flax seed products, including gel, that can cause hair problems include psoriasis of the scalp and malnutrition leading to hair loss.
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds vs. Flax Seed
Chia seeds and flax seed are both exceptionally high in lignans, giving them the ability to help balance estrogen levels in the body. They both have approximately the same number of calories, at 137 for chia and 150 for flax seed, as well as comparable levels of fat and protein. Chia seeds deliver exceptional calcium and phosphorus, while flaxseed is much higher in thiamin, magnesium, manganese, and copper. Flax seed also contains iron, an important nutrient, which is not present in chia seeds. Both contain similar levels of omega-3 fatty acids. This makes the benefits of chia seed and the benefits of flax seed very similar.