A long, long time ago, the ancient Egyptians found a plant with seeds that were nutritionally dense and stems that enclosed the smoothest, straightest fiber – an ideal garment material. Can you guess which plant they’d find? We’re talking about the flax plant – the plant that’s globally renowned for the birth of linen.
However, the focus of our discussion today is not on linen or its manufacturing process. We’re here to talk about the tiny seeds these plants produce.
The nutty flavor and crispy texture of flax seeds can upgrade any recipe and turn your food from boring to gourmet. Their versatility goes far and beyond; you can mix them with your oats, add them to your pancakes, or sprinkle them on your salads, smoothies, or yogurt.
But the flavor is not all these ancient seeds add to your diet; they have a lot of goodness for your health locked inside as well. In this blog, we’re going to familiarize you with 5 health benefits of flax seeds. Consider this our effort in helping you choose to add these wondrous seeds to your daily diet. Let’s get begin our journey!
Flax seeds – a nutrient-packed ancient grain
As you already know, no particular food would benefit you on its own; it’s the nutrients present inside the food that carry the health benefits we gain from eating it. In that regard, it makes sense to begin by exploring the nutritional breakdown of flax seeds.
Here’s a table that displays the nutritional value of 100 grams of flax seeds. Take a look:
|NUTRIENT||AMOUNT (per 100 grams)|
|Vitamin B1||1.64 mg|
|Vitamin B2||0.16 mg|
|Vitamin B3||3.08 mg|
|Vitamin B5||0.98 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.47 mg|
|Vitamin B9||87 mcg|
|Vitamin C||0.6 mg|
Another thing you must know about flax seeds is that they come in two varieties. The regular brown ones that you can find at any grocery store and the lesser-common golden ones.
However, the good news is, despite the difference in their color, both varieties of flax seeds have near-identical nutritional composition. This means that they offer the same health benefits to their consumer.
Flax seeds are fatty, but it’s all healthy
In this era of staying in shape, any food with fat in it is smirked at by a large population. If you’ve been paying attention so far, you’d have noticed that flax seeds are technically 40% fat. If that is why you’re hesitant to add flax seeds to your diet, we’re here to put your worries to rest.
The fat present in flax seeds is polyunsaturated fat. In the common tongue, these are called good or healthy fats. Wondering why? In two ways:
- They provide us with essential fats that our bodies cannot produce on their own – the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
- They help reduce the bad cholesterol in our bodies, thereby lowering the chances of heart diseases like heart stroke.
In other words, the high-fat content of flax seeds is no reason to feel alarmed because these fats only contribute to your heart as well as your overall health.
The presence of lignans in Flax seeds – a super phytoestrogen!
How many of you are familiar with estrogen? Those who know of it often consider it a female sex hormone. And while females – especially those of reproductive age – produce it in much larger amounts, estrogen is also found in males.
But why would men need a female sex hormone? Well, that’s because, besides playing a role in maintaining women’s reproductive health, estrogen also offers a range of other health benefits that both men and women can gain from:
- They aid the production of healthy blood vessels.
- They promote your skin’s elasticity.
- They maintain your bone strength and density.
Lignans are plant-based phytoestrogens with exceptional antioxidant properties that support your overall cell health, keeping diseases at bay. And these plant-based compounds are not abundantly present in the plants.
Flax seeds are the plant-based foods with the highest concentration of lignans; up to 70-80% more than other seeds, grains, and vegetables. The lignan content of 1 ounce of flaxseeds is 85.5 mg, making them rank on top, while sesame seeds – that come second – contain only 11.2 mg of lignan per ounce. Isn’t the difference staggering?
Therefore, adding as little as a spoonful of flax seeds to your daily diet can fulfill the lignan requirements of your body.
Did you know? Some studies also claim that lignans are capable of blocking the release of pro-inflammation agents in your body, thereby reducing the inflammation accompanied by diseases like Asthma and Parkinson’s Disease!
Flax seeds – a high-quality plant-based protein source!
We all know that meat, dairy, fish, and eggs are high-quality protein sources. But none of them are plant-based, are they? Where would a vegetarian or a vegan turn to meet their protein needs? Alongside soybeans and quinoa, flax seeds are another plant-based source of high-quality protein.
Flax seeds contain a total of 18 amino acids, including glutamine, arginine, valine, and leucine. Together, these amino acids make them a high-quality protein source for your consumption.
Their protein content – combined with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (which are also abundantly found in non-vegetarian foods) – makes them an ideal nutritious choice for vegetarians.
The role of flax seeds in reducing risks of Cancer
Of all the diseases you can come down with, cancer has to be the most lethal one. According to the WHO, Cancer was alone responsible for over 10 million deaths in 2020. If a disease can cause 1 out of 6 deaths around the world, you adopt any measure that can turn the odds in your favor. Adding flax seeds to your daily diet is one such measure.
Another one of the vital health benefits of flax seeds is that can help lower the risk of several types of cancer. One study links these seeds to a lowered risk of breast cancer in women. Another one indicates that they can also aid in a reduced risk of other cancers like skin cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer.
We’ve talked about this health benefit at the end for a good reason. We were certain that even if the aforementioned benefits would fail to convince you to start eating flax seeds, this one wouldn’t!
Take this as your sign to start eating Flax Seeds!
That was all we needed to tell you about the health benefits of flax seeds. We’re not saying there aren’t more of them, only that these are the spotlight-stealers, the ones you’d certainly want for yourself to live a long, healthy life.
If you’re already convinced about adding flax seeds to your diet – and we deeply hope you are – we’d be happy to share a few quick ways of consuming them with you. Both flax seed oil, as well as ground flax seeds, are equally great options for you. You can sprinkle/drizzle them on yogurt, salad dressings, smoothies, and baked goods like bread, cookies, and muffins.
While we’re on the subject of ancient grains, we’d welcome you to explore the health benefits of another one – chia seeds – before taking your leave. If we’ve helped you pick even one healthy habit, please tell us in the comments below. We’d be thrilled to know that!