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Five Benefits of Flaxseeds
Flaxseeds come from the flowering flax plant (Linum usitatissimum) which is native to the Mediterranean area and east to India.
Flaxseeds have many benefits including:
- Cholesterol management
- Blood sugar control
- Increased immunity
- Reduced inflammation
- Cancer Prevention
Flaxseeds Allows for Cholesterol Management and Increased Fiber Intake
Flaxseeds are rich in fiber which aids in the management of cholesterol levels by raising the good cholesterol levels and lowering the bad cholesterol levels. Because it is so rich in fiber, flaxseeds can sometimes act as a laxative in some individuals. In recent years, studies have demonstrated that flaxseeds may even be a suitable treatment for constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. However, other studies advise individuals to proceed with caution in the use of flaxseeds if they have a history of esophageal stricture, ileus, gastrointestinal stricture, or bowel obstruction. In addition, those who also have a history of acute or chronic diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, or inflammatory bowel disease may also want to avoid flaxseed consumption.
According to a study led led by Xu Lin of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai, Lin and colleagues examined results from 28 studies involving more than 1,500 men and women to try to further examine the overall impact that whole flaxseed and its derivatives have on cholesterol levels. The average whole flaxseed or flaxseed oil intake was about one tablespoon per day. The findings demonstrated a link between whole flaxseed and reductions in total cholesterol and LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol also known as bad cholesterol.
Flaxseeds Aid in Blood Sugar Control
One way to improve blood sugar levels in people who suffer from diabetes is to incorporate flaxseeds into their diet. Due to the level of Omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseeds help to also decrease the risk of development of diabetes.
Flaxseed may Increase Immunity
Flaxseeds are rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. They have the ability to protect the body from bacteria and viruses, may enhance your system's immunity.
Flaxseeds Reduce Inflammation
For those who suffer from chronic inflammation whether due to an illness or conditions like asthma or diabetes, flaxseeds possess properties that reduce inflammation. In ancient Greece, physicians used flaxseeds as a treatment for inflammation.
Other Benefits of Flaxseeds
Other benefits of flaxseeds include cardiac benefits. In addition to omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseed products also contain chemicals known as lignans. What is the role of lignans? Lignans are believed to have antioxidant properties and may also act as phytoestrogens, very weak forms of estrogen found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans. These phytoestrogens enable flaxseeds to play an important role in cancer prevention and treatment. In fact, studies have shown that women who consume large amounts of lignans appear to have lower rates of breast cancer.
How to Eat Flaxseeds
How are flaxseeds consumed? It is recommended that you grind flaxseeds due to the difficulty in digesting them. Once ground, they can be sprinkled on hot or cold cereal, added to fruit smoothies and yogurt or baked items such as bread, muffins, or cookies to produce a nut-like flavor.
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