Flax is a nutritious, fiber-packed crop originating in the Middle East thousands of years ago. There are two varieties – brown and golden – both of which are equally nutritious. Flax can be grounded into its seed form, processed into oil, and even spun into making linen.
For centuries flax is being grown and used for multiple health benefits. It is widely praised for its seeds, which contain several other benefits besides simply helping weight loss.
In this article we will examine how flax seeds (also called as alsi seeds) aid weight loss, their other uses, how and when best to consume them, and also any possible side effects.
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Flax Seeds’ Uses
Benefits of flax seeds include boosting your digestive system, giving relief from constipation, and helping decrease cholesterol, which aids bringing down the chances of heart related diseases.
Thus flax seeds can be beneficial in curbing diabetes, high levels of bad cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity. Further, flax seeds could relieve painful breasts (condition known as mastalgia), and kidney inflammation.
Though these seeds are also claimed to help treat many other conditions, there is not enough scientific research to back those other uses.
Flax Seeds for Weight Loss
Flax seeds’ particular nutrient-rich and molecular composition makes them an excellent source to include in your diet to help weight loss.
a) High Fiber
Flax seeds are a rich source of fiber. Fiber helps you feel fuller for longer periods of time, thus helping you stick to a tight low-calorie diet for supporting weight loss. What’s more, fiber also boosts your digestion and helps your better absorb all the nutrients you consume daily.
b) Essential Fatty Acids
Omega-3 and Omega-6 are two essential fatty acids, which flax seeds contain in good amounts. These are called as ‘good fats’ because they help in maintaining your cardiovascular health. These fatty acids convert to phospholipids in the cell membranes, which helps your metabolism as well as ward off inflammation.
You get around 1.8 grams of omega-3 fatty acid in a single tablespoon of grounded flax seeds. Flaxseed oil contains good amount of omega-6 fatty acid besides omega-3 as well.
As any possible inflammatory condition can lead to weight gain by a rise in oxidative stress – these essential fatty acids indirectly also help weight loss.
Also See: Food List For Anti-inflammatory Diet
Flax seeds are a good source of plant protein too. One tablespoon of grounded flax seeds contains around 1.3 grams of protein.
Protein curbs your appetite, thus helping you stick to a low-fat, low-carb diet which helps weight loss.
d) Low Carbohydrates
Since flax seeds contain less starch and sugar, they are also less in calorie count. If consumed regularly, they aid not only weight loss, but are good for your overall health.
How To Eat Flax Seeds – Raw or Roasted
There can be two types of flaxseed – raw or grounded. As to how to consume flax seeds, most dieticians recommend eating them grounded rather than in their whole form. This is because the grounded form is easier to digest; while the whole form may pass through intestines undigested – thus robbing your body of several nutritious benefits of flax seeds.
Moreover, raw flax seeds may contain certain toxins, which if consumed in higher proportions can be harmful for the body.
So, contemplate roasting, baking or cooking flax seeds to get rid of such toxins, before consuming.
a) DIY Weight Loss Drink
Ground flax seeds in a grinder (you may even purchase the grounded form if available in your market).
Take one tablespoon of grounded flax seeds, one whole lemon juice, eight ounces of hot water. Mix all well and consume one such glass daily to help your weight loss program.
This would boost your metabolism and digestive system, and also keep you fuller for longer.
b) Flax Seed Oral Supplements
Flax seed is also available in its pressed oil version / capsule form. While this may contain slightly less fiber compared to raw flax seeds, but is more convenient. You can take such supplements once a day.
The supplement form is better for those who are hard-pressed for time and not likely to make their own grounded flax seed drink daily.
When To Eat Flax Seeds – Morning or Night
There isn’t any concrete research suggesting when exactly in the day you should best consume flax seeds. We would say more important is to consume flax seeds in required quantity and sticking to a plan rather than taking them irregularly.
For those who take it in morning, it will help curb the typical post-noon lethargy by maintaining healthy blood sugar. Besides it would also support additional protein requirement.
If you take flax seeds at night, it may help you curb the tendency to snack late night by keeping you fuller as well as nutritious over the 7-8 hour ‘fasting’ period.
Flax Seeds’ Side Effects
Everyone is different. So there are no guaranteed ‘side effects’ for all. However, some people may experience gastrointestinal (GI) side effects such as a bloated stomach, gassiness, abdominal discomfort, loose motions etc.
Also, going overboard in your flax seed intake could cause intestinal blockage by laxative properties of the seeds. So, ensure you keep your water intake high when you are consuming flax seeds as a part of your daily diet. This would aid their digestion as well as avoid chances of constipation.
Also, as we have mentioned earlier, don’t consume raw flax seeds. Besides causing indigestion they may contain harmful toxins.
Pregnant women should avoid flax seed supplements as they might lead to some hormonal side effects. Likewise, sufficient scientific evidence isn’t available for the breast-feeding mothers.
Flax seeds can be a great source to aid weight loss as well as improving overall health. These are best consumed in grounded form, with plenty of water.
Besides their weight loss properties, flax seeds keep your digestive system and blood sugar and blood pressure levels healthy. They are a rich source of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, which are known for promoting good heart health.
Flax seeds are also available in oral supplement form, which can be very convenient for many people to imbibe them as part of their daily diet, effectively. In the rare cases you experience any possible side effects, we recommend you consult your dietician and make appropriate changes. Otherwise, benefits of eating flax seeds are aplenty as one of the most nutritious plant-based health supplements.