Health Benefits of Flax Seeds
Flaxseeds, also known as linseeds, are a great source of fiber and omega-3 fats, particularly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
However, the omega-3 fats are contained within the fibrous outer shell of the seed, which humans can't digest easily.
Therefore, if you want to increase your omega-3 levels, it’s best to eat flaxseeds that have been ground
A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of flaxseeds contains a wide mix of nutrients
- Calories: 152
- Fiber: 7.8 grams
- Protein: 5.2 grams
- Monounsaturated fat: 2.1 grams
- Omega-3 fats: 6.5 grams
- Omega-6 fats: 1.7 grams
- Manganese: 35% of the RDI
- Thiamine (vitamin B1): 31% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 28% of the RDI
Flaxseeds also contain a number of different polyphenols, especially lignans, which act as important antioxidants in the body
Lignans, as well as the fiber and omega-3 fats in flaxseeds, can all help reduce cholesterol and other risk factors for heart disease
One large study combined the results of 28 others, finding that consuming flaxseeds reduced levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol by an average of 10 mmol/l
Flaxseeds may also help reduce blood pressure. An analysis of 11 studies found that flaxseeds could reduce blood pressure especially when eaten whole every day for more than 12 weeks .
A couple of studies have shown that eating flaxseeds may reduce markers of tumor growth in women with breast cancer, and may also reduce cancer risk.
This may be due to the lignans in flaxseeds. Lignans are phytoestrogens and are similar to the female sex hormone estrogen.
What’s more, similar benefits have been shown regarding prostate cancer in men .
In addition to reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer, flaxseeds may also help reduce blood sugar, which may help lower the risk of diabetes.
How Much Do You Need?
The health benefits noted in the studies above were observed with just 1 tablespoon (10 grams) of ground flax seeds per day.
However, it's recommended to keep serving sizes to less than 5 tablespoons (50 grams) of flax seeds per day.