Flaxseed Benefits and Side Effects

Flaxseed Meal

Flaxseed meal is crushed flaxseeds; they add bulk to stools, and their oil also lubricates the stools, making flaxseeds useful for the relief of constipation.

How to make Flaxseed Meal? Flaxseeds can be ground in a blender or coffee grinder. Grind 1 to 2 cups at a time and use as needed. Many stores offer a grinding service for free.

Adding flaxseed to your diet: Ground flaxseed or flaxseed meal may be added to oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies, casseroles, meatloaf, hamburgers, chili, muffins, pancakes, breads, cookies, etc.

Flaxseed Nutrient Content: Flax contains vitamin A, some of the B vitamins, D, and E, carotene, lecithin, and many minerals. It also contains many different amino acids, the building blocks of protein.

Flaxseed Health Benefits:

  • Flaxseed meal is rich in essential fatty acids which is important for optimal health and functioning of all cells in the body, including brain cells. Essential fatty acids also help in the elimination of toxic waste products.
  • Flaxseed meal is an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber. Fiber helps remove toxins from the digestive tract by forming bulk of the stool making the elimination easier. Fiber also helps reduce cholesterol levels and regulate blood-sugar levels. One quarter cup of flax contains approximately 20g of total fiber, which is about half of the recommended daily fiber requirement (doctors suggest 35 to 50g daily).
health benefits of flaxseed meal

golden brown flaxseed

  • Flaxseed meal contains mucilage, a gel- like substance that soothes and heals the digestive tract.
  • Flaxseed help feed the “good bacteria” – the kind that reside in the digestive tract, helping with digestion.
  • Flaxseed is very rich in lignin, phytonutrients that helps fight cancer, viruses, fungi, and bacteria. Lignans can also balance the hormones, taking 40g of flaxseed per day significantly reduce symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats in women with mild menopausal symptoms.
  • Flaxseed meal is high in omega-3 fatty acid, which is a natural blood thinner. This helps to prevent strokes and optimizes circulation to the heart and body tissues.
  • Flaxseed is necessary for memory and learning.
  • Flaxseed is beneficial in many skin conditions, such as eczema, acne, psoriasis, rosacea, and sunburn, and also strengthens hair and nails.
  • Flaxseeds have anti-inflammatory effect that is beneficial in conditions such as asthma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine headaches, and osteoporosis.

How to Store Flaxseed Meal: Whole flaxseeds can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 year. Ground flaxseeds should be frozen in a dark container for up to 4 months.

Flaxseed Oil

health benefits of flaxseed

reddish brown flaxseeds

Flaxseed is the richest plant source of Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids.

Available Forms: Capsules, Softgels, and Oil

Flaxseed Oil Health Benefits:

  • Flaxseed oil may help facilitate the transmission of nerve impulses, making it potentially useful for numbness and tingling, as well as for chronic brain and nerve ailments, such Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease, or nerve damage from diabetes.
  • Flaxseed oil works to lower cholesterol, thereby protecting against heart disease. It may be beneficial in treating angina and high blood pressure as well.
  • Flaxseed oil can have beneficial effects on the menstrual cycle, balancing the ratio of estrogen to progesterone.
  • It helps to improve uterine function, and can therefore treat infertility problems.
  • Flaxseed oil has anti-inflammatory property which helps in the treatment of such conditions as arthritis, lupus, and gout.
  • Flaxseed oil can promote well-being in men as well. It has shown some promise in treating male infertility and prostate problems.
  • Flaxseed oil can help to prevent or even dissolve gallstones.
  • Flaxseed oil also boosts the health of hair and nails and speeds up the healing of skin lesions, so it is effective for everything from acne to sunburn.

How to consume Flaxseed Oil:

  • Take flaxseed oil with food, which enhances absorption by the body. But don’t cook with it, because heat breaks down its nutrients; rather, add it to foods after they’re cooked. You can also mix it with juice, yogurt, cottage cheese, or other foods and drinks.

Flaxseed Oil Buying Tips:

  • Buy oil that is packaged in brown glass bottle. Even though it’s more expensive, “cold pressed” oil is preferable; when oils are heated during processing, their nutrients are damaged by oxidation.
  • Flaxseed oil spoils quickly, so always check the expiry date on the label. To ensure freshness, keep it refrigerated. Don’t use oil that has a strong or pungent odor.

Flaxseed Meal / Oil Dosage:

  • Liquid flaxseed oil is the easiest way to get a therapeutic amount, which ranges from 1 tsp to 1Tbsp once or twice a day. To get just 1tsp of the oil in capsule form, you’ll need to swallow about 5 capsules, each containing 1000mg of oil.
  • For flaxseed meal, mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of flaxseed meal with a glass of water and drink it up two to three times a day; the treatment may take a day or so to act.

Flaxseed Side Effects:

  • People with diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, or inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis) should avoid flaxseed due to its possible laxative effects.
  • Always take ground flaxseed with plenty of water (a large glass per Tbsp) to prevent it from swelling up and blocking your throat or digestive tract.
  • Excessive intake of flaxseed and flaxseed oil may increase the risk of bleeding, based on early studies that show decreased clotting of blood.
  • Flaxseed may stimulate menstruation or have other hormonal effects and could be harmful to pregnancy.

Note:

  • Flaxseed oil is also called linseed oil – but never ingests the industrial varieties sold at hardware shops. They are not intended for consumption and may contain toxic additives.
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