Flaxseed is a superfood with so many health benefits. It is packed with protein, fiber, copper, magnesium, thiamine, and omega-3 fatty acids. Several studies have reported that eating flaxseed may help to improve your digestion, reduce cholesterol levels, decrease blood sugar, lower blood pressure, and even enhance weight loss.
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Flaxseed is high in:
- Omega 3 fatty acids: Flaxseed is a great source of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), an essential omega-3 fatty acid that must be obtained through diet. Omega-3s are important for heart health, brain function, and managing inflammation.
- Fiber: Flaxseed is also an excellent source of dietary fiber. It contains both soluble and insoluble fibers, which can help to reduce cholesterol levels, regulate blood sugar levels, and promote digestive health.
- Protein: Protein is vital to your health. Flaxseed is a good source of plant-based protein. It’s especially high in the amino acid lysine, which is important for skin health and muscle growth.
- Vitamins & Minerals: Flaxseed is also a good source of B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium. These nutrients are important for energy production, nerve health, and immune system function.
- Lignans: Flaxseed is one of the few plant-based sources of lignans, substances that may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Health Benefits of flaxseed
There are multiple benefits of consuming flaxseed. Let’s dive a little deeper into those benefits.
1. High in Fiber
Flaxseed is a great source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps keep your digestive system healthy. Soluble fiber can help reduce cholesterol levels, while insoluble fiber makes you feel fuller for longer, helping to regulate your appetite.
2. Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
As I explained earlier, omega-3 fatty acids are essential for a healthy body. They can reduce inflammation, improve cardiovascular health, and protect against certain diseases like Alzheimer’s.
3. May Reduce Blood Pressure
Flaxseed contains a type of omega-3 fatty acid known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Studies have shown that ALA can help reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension.
4. May Improve Digestion
The high levels of both soluble and insoluble fiber found in flaxseed can help improve digestion by improving the movement of food through the digestive tract. It can also help to keep your bowels regular as well as prevent constipation.
5. May Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Several studies have reported that flaxseed can help to lower blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance in people with diabetes. This could be due to its high soluble fiber content, which helps slow the absorption of carbohydrates in the body.
6. May Help With Weight Loss
Flaxseed could help you lose weight. It has a low glycemic index. And provides satiating fiber that helps you stay fuller for longer, preventing overeating or snacking on unhealthy foods. Additionally, the lignans found in flaxseed may help reduce body fat and increase lean muscle mass.
7. Good For Your Hair And Skin
Flaxseed is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin E, proteins, and B vitamins that may improve your hair and skin. Some researchers believe that it has anti-inflammatory properties, which help to reduce inflammation in the scalp, leading to healthier hair growth. The high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids also promote healthy skin by keeping it hydrated and supple.
8. May Boost Your Energy
Flaxseed is a great source of magnesium, which is an essential mineral that helps your body convert carbohydrates into energy. Eating flaxseed can give you an extra energy boost and help keep you alert throughout the day.
Adding flaxseed to your diet can provide numerous health benefits. It’s easy to incorporate into your daily meals as it can be sprinkled on cereal, added to smoothies, or stirred into yogurt. Make sure you buy organic flaxseed or purchase it in its ground form for maximum nutrient absorption.
- Ofotsu Dzuvor, C. K., Taylor, J. T., Acquah, C., Pan, S., & Agyei, D. (2018). Bioprocessing of Functional Ingredients from Flaxseed. Molecules: A Journal of Synthetic Chemistry and Natural Product Chemistry, 23(10). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6222892/
- FoodData Central About Us – USDA. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/about-us.html
- Parikh, M., Maddaford, T. G., Austria, J. A., Aliani, M., Netticadan, T., & Pierce, G. N. (2019). Dietary Flaxseed as a Strategy for Improving Human Health. Nutrients, 11(5). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6567199/
- Kajla, P., Sharma, A., & Sood, D. R. (2015). Flaxseed—A potential functional food source. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 52(4), 1857-1871. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4375225/
- Edel, A. L., Rodriguez-Leyva, D., Maddaford, T. G., Caligiuri, S. P., Austria, J. A., Weighell, W., Guzman, R., Aliani, M., & Pierce, G. N. (2015). Dietary flaxseed independently lowers circulating cholesterol and lowers it beyond the effects of cholesterol-lowering medications alone in patients with peripheral artery disease. The Journal of nutrition, 145(4), 749–757. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25694068/