Flaxseed

Flaxseeds are a great superfood that has many health benefits. Many of us don’t have a time or the money to consume the various fruits and vegetables it takes to reach our daily required intake of nutrients. So, adding a superfood to your diet can help you get there without breaking the wallet or spending a lot of time preparing complex meals to get the right nutrients. Flaxseed is a superfood that I love to eat and depend on for certain nutrients. Flaxseed can help your body with a number of things; such as improved digestion, high antioxidants, clearer skin, lowers cholesterol, reduced sugar cravings, balanced hormones, and weight loss. I personally love adding flaxseeds to my oatmeal daily or baking them into my protein muffins. There are so many benefits to flax seeds and adding them to your diet is a must.

Antioxidants and Omega-3 Fats

Flaxseeds are a great source of antioxidants, and one of the important specific ones are lignans. Lignans are a type of antioxidant which helps with hormone balance and cellular health. Flaxseeds have a high value of lignans which has also been known to aid in anti-viral properties which can reduce the number of colds you catch.

Flaxseeds also contain a fat called, Omega-3 fat. You want to keep your consumption of healthy fats to a minimum, because a fat calorie is still a calorie, and too many of them can lead to increased weight gain. Triglycerides, which is blood fat, can be lowered with the consumption of omega-3 fats.

Whole Flaxseeds or Milled Flaxseeds

There are two different ways to consume flaxseeds, one being the whole flaxseed and the other milled flaxseed. The big difference is how our bodies digest the seeds. Flaxseeds are a great source of fiber, and the whole flaxseed passes right through the body without being digested. So, in the case of the whole seed, your body misses out on most of the wonderful nutrients from flaxseeds. When the flaxseeds are milled or ground it’s easier for our body to digest the seed and absorb all of their nutrients.

 

There are two types of fiber, it is soluble and insoluble. When flaxseeds are digested whole your body only absorbs the insoluble fiber. The soluble fiber is blocked by the shell of the flax seed. When milled flaxseeds are digested your body absorbs both insoluble and soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber helps aid and regulate your bowel movements. Milled or soluble fiber helps the body with protein, iron, and Omega 3 oil absorption. I would suggest milling your flaxseeds to get the highest benefits from these superfoods.

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Nutritional Benefits

There are many nutritional benefits to flaxseeds and they include, Fiber, Omega-3, Protein, Vitamin B1, Manganese, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Selenium, B6, Iron, Potassium, Copper, and Zinc. This list is very impressive, and is one of the reasons why adding flaxseed to your diet is so beneficial, and why I have it every day. It’s one of the most nutrient dense foods out there.

High in Fiber

Flaxseeds are high in fiber and low in carbohydrates. They contain high levels of mucilage gum content which are a specific fiber that is water soluble and helps with your bowel and intestinal tract. Mucilage gum helps keep food in your stomach from being released too quickly into the small intestine which allows you to absorb more nutrients into your body. Also since flax seeds are both high in soluble and insoluble fiber, this helps with colon detoxification, fat loss and can also help reduce sugar cravings. Flax seeds provide good bacteria in your colon to help clean your digestive tract. This benefit alone is a great reason to help reach some new fitness and health goals to help with sugar cravings and keep with your body’s digestion. Flax seeds are also one of the highest magnesium dense foods in the world which can help aid in your digestive health.

Healthy Hair, nails, and Skin

It has also been shown that consuming flax seeds daily can make your skin, hair and nails healthier. The fats that are found in flaxseeds provide Vitamin B which can help reduce dryness and flakiness in your hair. It can also improve symptoms of acne, rosacea, and eczema. Flax seeds also aid in eye health due to they can reduce dry eye syndrome.

Flaxseed oil is another option, instead of whole or milled seeds, for hair, nails, and skin since it has an even higher concentration of healthy fats. You can consume 1-2 tbsp to help hydrate skin and hair. Flaxseed oil can also be mixed with other essential oils and used as a natural skin moisturizer.

Aids in Weight Loss

Flax seeds are full of healthy fats and fiber which help you feel fuller longer, which then leads to consuming fewer calories and can then lead to weight loss. Flax seeds are one of the highest fiber dense foods out there.

In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that flaxseeds may improve obesity and support weight loss. In this study, one finding was that among its participants who were obese, it was found that flax seeds would decrease fasting glucose and had a positive impact on glycemic control. “High-fiber diets provide bulk, are more satiating, and have been linked to lower body weights” (American Dietetic Association).

The high dense fiber in flaxseeds binds itself to water, which then expands in size. This effect keeps you fuller for a longer period of time. This process naturally helps with weight loss, due to lessened cravings.

Aids in Lowering Cholesterol

Another benefit of flaxseeds is they have been shown to naturally reduce cholesterol according to the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. The soluble fiber in flax seeds naturally traps fat and cholesterol so that is unable to be absorbed into the body. Since flaxseeds are a great source of ALA (alpha-Linolenic acid) it has been shown to also lower cholesterol in your body.

Flaxseeds are a wonderful super food with so many benefits that adding this to your diet is a no brainer. They are full of fiber, many nutrients like Omega-3 Fats, they improve digestion, and reduces hunger cravings. These seeds are great in moderation, and very easy to add to your daily routine.

~ Chrissy

 

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