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Benefits of Using Flaxseed In Your Diet

Updated on May 3, 2015

What is Flax seed?

Flax Seed comes from the Flax plant and belongs in the Linaceae Family. This annual plant has tall slender stems that can grow up to almost 4ft with slender green leaves, beautiful pale blue flowers, of which can also be red. The fruit of this plant contain glossy brown seeds, which are shiny, and have a hard shell that is slightly larger than sesame seeds. Their color can be a deep amber to a reddish brown and their flavor has a nutty, earthy edge. Flax seed can be purchased as flour, oil, in a seed or as a capsule.

History of Flax seed

Flax Seed has been used for thousands of years and is one of the world's oldest plants. It is thought to have first been cultivated by the Babylonians with evidence of flax cultivation having been found in Babylonian burial chambers from 3000 BC. Later on, the Egyptians and Greeks started seeing it's usefulness. It has been said that the Greek physician and Father of Medicine, Hippocrates, proclaimed it highly as a cure to intestinal discomfort. King Charlemagne, 8th century French King, revered it so much that he imported laws to impose his subjects to routinely cultivate and consume flax.

Benefits of Flaxseed

There are many healthy components in flax seed but it is know primarily for three of its nutrients: Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) identified as Omega-3 essential fatty acid( or Alpha-Linoleic-Acid) and Omega-6 essential fatty acids ( linoleic acid), lignans, and fiber. Flax seed contains high amounts of each of these nutrients.

Inadequate amounts of Omega-3 and Omega-6 EFAs could put your health at risk. EFAs may help lower the chance of heart disease by decreasing high blood fat and lowering blood pressure. Insufficient amounts can enhance inflammation. When you increase your intake of this nutrient, it can help reduce inflammation in joints and can aleviate pain from those that may suffer from arthritis.

Lignans are one of the major compounds of phytoestrogen, which have estrogen-like chemicals. Lignans have been showing promise in the fight against certain types of cancer such as; colon, breast, and prostate cancer. Studies have shown that women who have an increased source of lignans in their diet, reduce their risk of developing breast cancer. In prostate cancer, testosterone is what helps fuel the tumor growth. Researchers now believe lignans can attach to testosterone and halt the growth of tumor cells, thus keeping them from multiplying. Lignans can also aid in the prevention of bone loss and can help stabilize and restore hormonal levels in women. Lower BMI's and total body fat mass tend to be found in women that consume increased amounts of lignans in their diets.

Flax seed is high in fiber, both soluble and insoluble. The fiber in the flax seed is a key factor in maintaining the cholesterol-lowering effect. Also, having a diet high in fiber helps balance blood sugar levels and alleviates constipation.

Safety and Side effects

When you begin taking flax seed, it is a good idea to start with a very small amount and gradually increase. Large amounts may lead to cramping and a "laxative effect". Too much of anything can be bad.

Flax seeds are highly saturated and should be stored properly in an airtight container to prevent oxidation. Flax meal should be kept away from heat and light while flax oil needs to be refrigerated and kept in a dark container. Whole flax seeds can be stored at room temperature for a year.

Although flax seeds contain small amounts of cyanogenic glycosides compounds, like some other food plants and seeds, studies maintain it is safe at normal levels. Two tablespoons are considered a safe amount. If you are using flax seed in baking and cooking, the heat can eliminate these cyanogenic compounds.

Serving Ideas

Flax seeds can be used in a variety of different foods. Ground flax seeds can be sprinkled on oatmeal, cereal and yogurt. You could use them when preparing hamburgers, meatloaf or add them to a smoothie or a milk shake. The possibilities are endless.

Flax seed consumption, in one form or another, is increasing in popularity because of mounting evidence of it's amazing health benefits. There is an enormous amount of information out there on this subject. I have tried to cover the high points but flax seeds do so much more than what I have listed here. There are many benefits in taking this nutrient and I think we have just scratched the surface on what it can do for us and our health.

References:

gvflax.com

versagrain.com

healthcastle.com

lowcarbdiets.com


Flax Seed Oil

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    • profile image

      TheBizWhiz 2 years ago

      I started to use flaxseed, but quit after a short time, but I might start back after reading this Hub. I didn't know it was good for inflammation of the joints. Voted Up!

    • rls8994 profile image
      Author

      rls8994 6 years ago from Mississippi

      Hi alocsin, it really has been proven to be beneficial to our health in so many ways. Hope you try it and see what it can do for you. Thanks so much for reading! :)

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Not something I've ever had though I'll consider it after reading your hub. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • rls8994 profile image
      Author

      rls8994 6 years ago from Mississippi

      Hi emilybee, yes flaxseed is good for so many health aliments. I have mixed it in yogurt as well. I also put it in my coffee every morning. Thanks so much for your comment. :)

    • emilybee profile image

      emilybee 6 years ago

      I knew flax seed was good for you but just recently I have become more aware. One lady on this site wrote about flax seed being good to eat to ease pain caused my menstrual cramps, too. I really should get some today and try mixing it in yogurt. It appears flax seed has a great number of things it is good for. Thanks for sharing and voted up.

    • rls8994 profile image
      Author

      rls8994 6 years ago from Mississippi

      Millionaire Tips

      That's great that you have found another way to use flaxseed. There are so many ways to incorporate it into your diet. Thanks for reading and your comment! :)

      Mekenzie

      I love oatmeal and add it to mine as well. Flaxseed can be used in most anything I believe. Thanks for stopping by and reading. I appreciate it! :)

    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 6 years ago from Michigan

      I add ground flaxseed to oatmeal. I like the other ideas you presented .. especially adding to meatloaf. Great informational hub. Voted Up and Useful!

      Mekenzie

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 6 years ago from USA

      This is great information. We have been using flax seed as a substitute for eggs in our vegan diet. Voted up.

    • rls8994 profile image
      Author

      rls8994 6 years ago from Mississippi

      Thank you rasta1 for your comment. Flaxseed can be used in many different ways. Thank you so much for reading

    • rls8994 profile image
      Author

      rls8994 6 years ago from Mississippi

      Thank you for your comment. I believe flaxseed to be beneficial to our bodies in so many ways. Thanks so much for reading!

    • rls8994 profile image
      Author

      rls8994 6 years ago from Mississippi

      Thank you dinkan53! I appreciate your comment and thanks so much for reading. I believe you will like the benefits of using flaxseed as part of your diet. I love it! :)

    • rls8994 profile image
      Author

      rls8994 6 years ago from Mississippi

      Yes, flaxseed is great for the skin. There are so many benefits from using it. Thank you so much for reading!

    • rls8994 profile image
      Author

      rls8994 6 years ago from Mississippi

      I believe it is very good for our health. Thank you so much for your comment. :)

    • rasta1 profile image

      Marvin Parke 6 years ago from Jamaica

      Been using flax seed over a decade now. Very good meat substitute.

    • Brandon Spaulding profile image

      Brandon Spaulding 6 years ago from Yahoo, Contributor

      Flaxseed is good for joint lubrication, brain function, and heart function. It is a good source of Omega fatty acids. You can get those from fish oil and borage oil as well. Thanks for the article.

    • dinkan53 profile image

      dinkan53 6 years ago from India

      thanks for giving a clear idea about flaxseed. Will try to make a part of my diet. thanks for highlighting the laxative effect of faxseed. Voted this hub up and useful.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 6 years ago from Western NC

      I love what flaxseed does for my skin! Like Brett - thanks for SHARING. :)

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 6 years ago from Thailand

      Interesting article, I don't know about Flaxseed, but will consider incorporating it into my diet.

      Thank for SHARING.

    • rls8994 profile image
      Author

      rls8994 6 years ago from Mississippi

      James

      Thanks so much for stopping by. I'm doing good and hopefully will be publishing an article soon. So good to hear from you :)

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

      Thank you for publishing this excellent Hub about Flax Seed. I will try to incorporate it into my diet.

      I hope all is well with you. And I hope you publish some new Hubs too. :-)

    • denise mohan profile image

      denise mohan 7 years ago from California

      Nice info! Use to use the oil now my daughter and I sprinkle the flaxseed on oatmeal and salads. Haven't thought about putting it in meatloaf and cooking with.

    • rls8994 profile image
      Author

      rls8994 7 years ago from Mississippi

      You are so welcome winsome! So glad you liked it!

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 7 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Thank you RS, I learned a little more about one of my favorite seeds. =:)

    • rls8994 profile image
      Author

      rls8994 8 years ago from Mississippi

      You are so welcome quicksand. Glad that you found this article useful! Thanks so much for the nice comment.

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 8 years ago

      Thanks for the valuable information. I shall recommend FS to everyone around, especially to older people who are careless with their eating habits and thus are more likely to develop osteoarthritis.

      Cheers!

    • rls8994 profile image
      Author

      rls8994 8 years ago from Mississippi

      Thank you Bk. This stuff is wonderful. I don't know why I waited so long to start taking flaxseed. It has so many benefits, even more than I talked about in this hub. And with all the new studies they are doing, who knows what else they will find out that this wonderful nutrient can do for us! Thanks for the comment. I appreciate it!

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      You know I even have flax seeds right now and a coffee grinder that I can use to grind them. It's so easy to forget to do this. I don't know why.

      Thanks for this reminder - I will pull out the flax seeds and the grinder.

      I appreciate such an informative hub. It serves as a pep talk.

    • rls8994 profile image
      Author

      rls8994 8 years ago from Mississippi

      Habee

      I'm about to do the same thing. Thanks for the great info on krill oil!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      I've added krill oil to the flaxseed oil!

    • rls8994 profile image
      Author

      rls8994 8 years ago from Mississippi

      billyaustindillon

      Flaxseed has so many health benefits. I only wish I had started sooner! Thanks so much for your comment and becoming a fan and I am glad to be yours as well!

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 8 years ago

      I am a big believer in flaxseeds - especially freshly ground up over cereal or the like.

    • rls8994 profile image
      Author

      rls8994 8 years ago from Mississippi

      Thanks habee! I have been taking it for a couple of months and can already see a difference. Thanks for the comment!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Great info! I take flax seed oil every day.

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