- Women's Health
Introduce Flax Seeds to Optimize Your Health
Brown flax seeds
Flax seed or linseeds
There has been much in the news recently about the health benefits of flax seeds or linseeds as they are known in some places. These little seeds are something of a powerhouse with regards to health and nutrition. You can either use them whole, ground or take it orally as a capsule.
There are two types brown and golden flax seeds.
With omega 3, omega 6, fiber, lignans, and antioxidants, you can't go wrong.
Sometimes flax seed can be called linseed as well. For the purpose of this article I will use these terms interchangeably.
Flaxseed Oil Capsules
On the days when I know I won't be consuming ground flax seeds, I always take a capsule. This keeps the levels in my system at a constant healthy level. This I believe helps keep my weight down and hot flashes at bay. I just feel better when I take flax seeds on a daily basis.
Flax seeds help reduce fat inflammation
We all think we want to get rid of fat because we don't like the look or where it sits on us. In reality getting rid of fat is more important than just for vanity reasons. This is where flax seeds can help.
Acting within the adipocyte (fat cell), reducing inflammation. This is important because inflammation in the fat cells could result in obesity and diabetes this condition is called diabesity. Omega-3 fights this inflammatory process. If you decrease fat, you decrease not only your chance of developing diabetes but also you lose weight.
This is a win-win situation.
Maintaining healthy bowel function
Just like any type of oil, flax seed is able to emulsify the stool, facilitating their elimination. You may remember watching films when Victorian children were regularly given Castor oil. This was to help promote regular bowel movements. Often people suffer with constipation which can affect their overall well being. Linseed oil capsules in conjunction with regular exercise, plenty of water, and balanced diet including whole grains and vegetables, will aid in the proper functioning of colon.
**It is worth noting that flax seed whether as a seed or ground, needs to be consumed with plenty of water. Bowel obstruction may occur otherwise.**
Golden flax seeds
These are the golden ones I buy. I keep them in the fridge as they have a high oil concentration plus I live in the tropics.
I use a tablespoon every morning in my smoothie.
Increase your metabolism
How often have you heard a large person say, ' I have a slow metabolism' .
We all think that there are only two ways to lose weight, eat less or exercise more. Well guess what, you can still eat and let your body do the work. You just need to speed up your metabolism. To speed up your metabolism you need to make your body work. This can either be through exercise or by eating a thermogenic food.
Everything we eat, needs to be digested which itself burns calories, but there are some foods, such as celery, that require more calories to digest . There are still other foods which are called thermogenic foods. The flax seed is a thermogenic food. It raises the body's temperature. To compensate for this effect and lower our internal temperature, the body uses more calories trying to cool itself down. This is also the case with eating chillies.
You may have heard the term brown fat. This is the good fat in our body. It is the type that keeps our bodies warm and protects our internal cavity to ensure our core maintains an even temperature. When it does this, it takes calories from white fat (bad fat) and uses them. So whether you are shivering from cold, or sweating from eating a chilli laden curry, your body is burning calories trying to maintain its temperature.
Oils make you feel full
Because the flax seed contains oil, (42%) it is slow to digest thus giving you the feeling of fullness. Whether you take flax seed as a capsule or use the seeds themselves, they will provide you with a feeling of being satisfied. Unlike when you consume sugar and 2 hours later your body wants nourishing again.
Therefore if you feel fuller for longer, you will eat less over the course of your day.
Omega 3 and insulin
The omega 3 in flax seed improves the work of insulin in your body. Insulin, as you know, is the hormone responsible for the amount of blood sugar in you system.
What happens if you eat a sugar laden mid-morning snack? You feel great for a short time, this is a rush of sugar, then you start to feel low. These are are the peaks and troughs experienced when consuming too much sugar. Omega 3 from the linseed avoids the peaks followed by sudden drops of hormonal imbalances that lead to increased hunger.
Omega 6 and fat stores
The importance of omega-6 can't be overlooked with regards to usage in a weight lose program.
When omega-6 is present, the body makes the stored fat in the body more available to the carbohydrates to be used as an energy source. We all want to use up the excess fat we have, don't we?
With omega-6, which flax seed have, you can start burning off the extra stored fat.
Improves skin condition
Because of the antioxidant properties, flax seed oil prevents premature skin aging. It also can decrease some types of skin inflammation, such as acne.
It is never too early to start thinking about your skin. Encourage your children to have some ground flax seed on their cereal or morning yogurt. Throughout their teens, their acne may be lessened due to the addition of linseed.
As we age our skin loses its elasticity, the extra oil from flax seed will help counteract this as well. It is a good choice for the entire family.
Grinding flax seeds
For the most beneficial way to consume the seeds, use a grinder. Pour in just enough for that meal and grind them. These can be sprinkled on salads, yoghurt, and basically anything you want to eat.
I tend to use mine in my banana smoothie in the morning.
Prevents cholesterol and cardiovascular disease
The omega-3 reduces inflammation in the arteries, preventing diseases such as atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in arteries). It also reduces the LDL (bad cholesterol) and raises HDL (good cholesterol).
Lignans in flax seed
You may never have heard the word before because it is relatively new. These are chemical compounds that work like estrogen and also are anti-oxidants. You know that antioxidants go around your system soaking up free radicals .
From personal experience, I know that the use of flax seeds daily has helped control menopausal symptoms. My hot flashes are greatly reduced when I include this in my diet.
Scientists are looking at the potential role of the lignans found in flax seed as protection against breast, prostate, and colon cancer.