FLAX it up !!!
Suddenly, there seems to be a “flax revolution”!!! Every second person is talking about adding Flax seeds in their foods. If you have a bottle of ground flax seed in your kitchen shelf and use it regularly, then you are definitely going ahead in the health transformation. For those who are still wondering about Flax, its benefits and how to use them, please read through
Flax seeds are basically seeds from the Flax plant and are used in roasted and powdered form. The benefits that flax seeds endows upon us can make us wonder why we have been missing this for so many years.
1. Brings down your blood pressure.
If you are popping those pills to keep the blood pressure under control, try a tsp of flax seeds regularly and you will notice significant drop in the blood pressure levels. Research indicates that the Omega 3 fatty acids help in keeping the arterial lining smooth thereby avoiding any deposits. This ensures easy pumping of the blood with minimal pressure. Other beneficial compounds called Lignans present in flax seeds seem to reduce deposition of plaque in the arteries and enhances the health of the blood vessels.
2. Protects your Heart.
Flax seeds are a must for those who would like to work on their cardiovascular or heart health. The main omega acid id flax seed is Alpha-Lenolenic Acid (ALA) which protects the blood vessels and avoids inflammation. Studies also indicate that it brings down the cholesterol levels. The next time your medical reports show a spike in the cholesterol levels, do not forget to deal with it the FLAX way.
3. Protects from Cancer.
The omega 3 acids and the Lignans in flax seeds work together in curbing the development of any tumors. heir anti oxidant and anti inflammatory properties make it ideal to fight cancer. To be specific, they help fighting hormone related cancers such as breast cancer and prostrate cancer.One more reason why even men should include flax in their diets.
4. Boon for Diabetics.
A tbsp of flax powder daily can help in significant reduction in blood glucose levels. The credit again goes to the lignans and the high fiber content in flax. Flax contains relative low Glycemic index thereby helping in regulating blood sugar levels
5. Natural Laxatives
The fiber and the oils act as natural laxatives and can help prevent constipation. It can be ideal for those with piles and fissures as this can smoothen the digestive tract and help with colon and rectum health. However, for a few people, flax can cause diarrhea.
6. Women friendly
Flax seeds help to deal with a lot of hormonal problems such as irregular menstrual cycle, menopausal symptoms, menstrual migraines etc. The healthy fats help with regulating the hormone function thereby reducing the symptoms. Studies indicate a significant reduction in hot flashes during menopause on consumption of flax seeds regularly.
7. Manage weight
The flax seeds in itself do not promote weight loss. However, it helps in regulating body functions which eventually results in weight loss. It helps with reducing fat deposits around the midsection. The feeling if satiety and increased fiber content keeps hunger in control thereby resulting in weight loss. The protein content in flax helps with boosting the metabolism thereby resulting in weight loss.
There are other benefits such as helping with arthritis, asthma, metabolic syndromes etc and therefore flax seeds can undoubtedly be included everyday.
Its good to consume flax seeds in roasted and ground form for easy digestion and assimilation. Its better to grind fresh for short periods of time to ensure maximum benefits. About 2 tbsp per day per person in ground form is a safe quantity. It can be added to the cereals, vegetables, soups, smoothies, rotis or multi grain dosas. Its observed that the flax seeds to not lose their property on heat and hence is safe for even baking. This makes it easy to add in your baked foods such as breads, muffins or even pizzas.
Care to be taken:
Pregnant women may avoid flax seeds as the Lignans can interfere in hormone regulation and affect the outcome.
People with irritated bowel syndrome might have to check if it suits them before consuming regularly.
Other side effects can include bloating, diarrhea or flatulence. In such cases, one can reduce the quantity and drink a lot of water.
If you are on medication, its better not to take the medicines and flax at the same time of the day as it can interfere with the absorption.
Nutrition & Wellness Consultant