Flaxseed or alsi or tisi as it is known in India is one of the oldest crops known. They were first cultivated in Babylon in 3000 BC, followed by Egypt and China.The importance of flax seeds as a vegetarian source of Omega 3 fatty acids has gained a lot of popularity in the recent days and it is now being considered as a superfood which must be a part of your daily diet. It is a rich source of fiber, which makes it a weight loss friendly diet seed. It is a seed that can gift you with a number of beauty and health benefits!
Flax seeds are available in two varieties—brown and golden, both of which contain almost similar nutritional content and fatty acids. This seed has been used since ancient times, through ancient civilizations and cultures.
What is flaxseed?
Flaxseeds are tiny, brown or golden-colored seeds sometimes called linseeds. The health benefits of these seeds have made them a part of the traditional cuisines of Asia, America, and Africa.They can be eaten in their raw form, but are more beneficial when sprouted or grounded into a tasty meal.
Flaxseeds Nutrition Facts
According to several researches, one tablespoons of whole/unground flaxseed contains about:
Protein: 1.3 grams
Carbs: 2 grams
Fiber: 1.9 grams
Total fat: 3 grams
Calcium: 2% of the RDI
Iron: 2% of the RDI
Magnesium: 7% of the RDI
Phosphorus: 4% of the RDI
Potassium: 2% of the RDI
Omega-3 fatty acids: 1,597 mg
Health benefits of flaxseed:
Improves Gastrointestinal Health
Flaxseed is rich in fiber, both soluble and insoluble types. While soluble fiber helps to maintain proper gastrointestinal functions, insoluble fiber plays a vital role in keeping the heart healthy by lowering the LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
Prevents Cardiovascular Diseases
The amino and omega 3 fatty acids in flaxseeds can significantly lower high blood pressure. A diet rich in flaxseeds can prevent hardening of the arteries. The alpha linolenic acid in flaxseeds protects the blood vessels from inflammatory damage.
Flaxseed is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acid is the key nutrient for fighting inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a leading cause of severeal diseases like heart diseases, asthma, allergies, diabetes, and even certain cancers.
Daily intake of flax seeds modestly improves the blood sugar of people suffering from diabetes.
Flaxseeds are loaded with phytochemicals which act as antioxidants and they are the main agent in preventing and treating cancer.Omega-3 fatty acids present in these seeds have been proven to reduce the risk of breast, prostate and colon cancer.
Reduces Ovarian Dysfunction
In menstruating women, regular consumption of flaxseeds works in the same way as hormonal replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms like mood disturbances and vaginal dryness.
The alpha-linolenic acid and the lignans present in flaxseed boost the immune response in the body and prevent against inflammatory diseases.
Nourishes Your Hair
Omega-3 fatty acids present in flaxseeds are essential for healthy hair growth.They nourishes the hair shafts making them stronger and less prone to damage.
Soothes The Scalp
Consuming flaxseeds daily can prevent issues like hair loss, dandruff and scalp eczema (condition that cause scaly patches and red skin on scalp).
Provides A Healthier Skin
Flaxseeds are known for moisturizing properties. They also help in getting rid off unwanted tan and uneven skin tone.
Flaxseeds control the production of sebum, an oily substance produced by the skin glands, preventing the onset of acne.
Interesting facts about flaxseeds:
– Flaxseeds will make you poop
– They are indigestible unless grounded
– Always use roasted or powdered flaxseeds. They taste better.
How to include flaxseeds in your daily diet?
Flaxseeds can be used in a number of ways in different dishes:
– Mix in your yoghurt for that crunch.
– Make chutneys or dips by grinding with with raw mangoes and ginger or with garlic, salt and a little water. Use only roasted flax seeds for chutneys.
– You can add powdered flaxseeds while baking bread or making chapati.
– If you are making salted oatmeal, add a spoonful of roasted flaxseeds. You can also use it in powdered form.
– Smoothies and shakes can be added with a spoon of roasted, ground flaxseeds.
– You can add them in granola bars
– Sprinkle it in your breakfast cereal
How to store flaxseeds:
– Reduce its exposure to light, heat, and air.
– Keep your flaxseeds in an air-tight container.
– If you want to store it for longer period of time, refrigerate it.
Side effects of flaxseeds:
Flaxseeds might react in some people if they are allergic to it. Otherwise they are safe for consumption.