Flaxseed: Benefits, Uses, Risks, Dosage, And More

Date
June
15
2022
Compiled By Otella Ritzy
Medically Reviewed By M Lieberman, [MD] FACT CHECKED

Flax seed is a plant-based food that is high in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and antioxidants.

It is referred to as a functional food as it could be consumed to improve one’s health.

Flax was a crop grown in China and ancient Egypt. Asia has been using Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years.

Flax seed is accessible in a variety of forms, such as capsules, powder, oils, seeds, flour, and pills.

It is used as a dietary supplement to help people avoid cancer, constipation, heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, and a variety of ailments.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids, fiber, lignans, protein, and antioxidants like omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid, are found in flax seeds.

These nutrients might assist in reducing the risk of a variety of diseases. However, there is not enough evidence to back up these statements.

In this article, we will be looking at what flaxseed is all about, its benefits, risks, and a lot more.

What Is Flaxseed?

Flax seeds, also known as linseeds, are the seeds of the flax plant.

Every part of the flax plant could be used. Rope and linen are made from flax fibers.

Linseed oil is made from flax seeds and is used in carpentry and woodworking.

Flax has been planted and grown as a consistent crop in China, Switzerland, Syria, and Egypt since at least 35000 years ago.

As if that were not enough, this wonderful seed is also extremely healthy.

Flax seeds, like many seeds, have a mild, nutty flavor which makes them suitable for use in both savory and sweet dishes.

In case you are wondering when a small amount of flax seed meal is added to their favorite foods in modest amounts, fussy eaters and children might not notice.

Benefits Of Flaxseed

Here are some of the health benefits of flaxseed:

  1. Lower Cholesterol Levels

    Flax seed might also aid with cholesterol reduction.

    In one-month research[1], eating 5 tablespoons (70 grams) of milled flax seed per day reduced LDL cholesterol levels by 18% in persons having peripheral artery disease.

    A 3 month trial of 115 adults with high blood pressure found that eating 5 tablespoons (70 grams) of flax seed each day reduced blood pressure, body mass index, and total cholesterol significantly.

    The fiber in flax seed binds to bile salts before being eliminated by your body, which might explain these effects.

    Cholesterol from your blood is drawn into your liver to replenish these bile salts, which results in reduced cholesterol levels.

  2. Nutritious

    Flax seed is one of the oldest crops on the planet. Golden and brown varieties exist, both of which are equally healthy.

    One serving contains a good quantity[2] of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber, as well as a variety of minerals and vitamins.

    Thiamine is a B vitamin that is important for cell function and energy metabolism. It is abundant in flax seed.

    Copper is important for iron metabolism, brain development, and immunological health, which is abundant in this fruit.

  3. Might Prevent Cancer

    Flax seed is high in lignans. These are plant chemicals with cancer-fighting effects that have been researched.

    This seed has 80-850 times the amount of lignans when compared to different plant meals.

    Some studies[3] link flax seed consumption to a reduced risk of breast cancer, especially in postmenopausal women.

    Flax seed has also been found to protect against skin, lung, colorectal, and blood cancer in test tubes and animal experiments.

    However, keep in mind that more human study is required.

  4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids Are Abundant

    Flax seed is high in alpha-linolenic acid. It is a form of omega-3 fatty acid beneficial for heart health and is mostly found in plant foods.

    ALA is one of the two necessary fatty acids that your body does not make and must be obtained from food.

    Flax seed’s ALA has been found in animal tests to help prevent cholesterol and reduce inflammation from forming in your heart’s blood arteries.

    Increased ALA intake was linked to a lower risk of ischemic heart disease, lower cholesterol levels, which are caused by type 2 diabetes, and narrower arteries in recent research of 8860 persons.

    ALA has also been associated with a decreased risk of stroke in numerous studies[4].

    Furthermore, a major evaluation of 35 research linked increased ALA consumption to a lower chance of dying from heart disease.

  5. Lower Blood Pressure

    Flax seed is well known for its blood pressure-lowering properties.

    Supplementing with flax seed products, such as flax seed powder, was found to considerably lower both diastolic and systolic blood pressure, respectively according to an analysis of 18 studies.

    This seed might be especially beneficial to people who have high blood pressure.

    A 3-month study found that ingesting 3 tablespoons (40 grams) of flax seed every day lowers blood pressure in people having high blood pressure.

    Furthermore, a thorough evaluation of 10 studies found that eating flax seed regularly for more than 2 months could drop blood pressure by 3 mmHg.

    While this might appear minor, some evidence suggests that lowering blood pressure by 3 mmHg reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke by 5% and 15%, respectively.

Potential Risks Of Flaxseed Consumption

Here are some of the risks related to flaxseed:

  1. Allergic Reactions Could Occur

    Flax seeds and flax seed oil could be allergic, like seeds and nuts.

    The seeds might induce severe constipation and skin rashes, according to anecdotal evidence.

    Certain flax seed-containing foods caused[5] a tingling sensation, skin rashes, and vomiting in people in a study.

    A 40-year-old woman with flax flour complained of dyspnea (shortness of breath) and hives.

    Another concern related to the consumption of these seeds is anaphylaxis.

    You might also experience swelling on your face in some circumstances, which is also known as facial edema.

  2. You Might Bleed

    Omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in flax seeds. These fatty acids are necessary for the body, brain, and heart to function properly.

    They might, however, cause bleeding problems.

    Although direct study on the illness is scarce, many studies have linked the disorders to omega-3 fatty acids, which are abundant in flax seeds.

  3. Constipation And Fiber Overload Are Possible Consequences

    Flax seeds are a good source of dietary fiber. The fiber load in your body is increased by the sudden overconsumption of these seeds.

    Too much fiber might clog your stomach and intestines.

    In such circumstances, you could have constipation, stomach discomfort, and cramps.

    Inadequate water intake might also aggravate your problem.

    The best way to go is to eat little amounts of flax seeds with plenty of water.

  4. Might Increase The Risk of Cancer

    In this aspect, the research is ambiguous. Phytoestrogens are abundant in flax seeds.

    Phytoestrogens have not been found to protect against prostate cancer in investigations.

    Some researchers believe that the phytoestrogens and lignans found in flax seeds increase the risk of prostate cancer.

    However, additional research is needed to fully understand this mechanism.

  5. May Cause Issues During Lactation And Pregnancy

    In this area, there is limited research. The metabolism of thyroid hormones might be affected by a flax seed diet during lactation.

    More research is needed, however, to fully comprehend the effects of flax seeds during pregnancy.

    Before eating flax seeds while pregnant, talk to your doctor.

Having mentioned the above pointers, you might want to note that flaxseeds have other side effects. Hence, you might want to keep their consumption in a low to moderate quantity.

Nutritional Facts About Flaxseeds

2 tablespoons of ground flax seed are the standard serving amount. The following items are included in this serving:

  • 3.5 grams protein (5 percent daily value).
  • 85 calories.
  • 5 g fat (8.24 percent daily value).
  • 4.2 g carbohydrate (1.35 percent daily value).
  • 120-milligram phosphorus (10 percent daily value).
  • 4.6 g fiber (18 percent daily value).
  • 130 mg potassium (3 percent daily value).
  • 70 mg magnesium (15 percent daily value).

Consumption Of Flaxseed

To gain the health advantages of flax seed, it is recommended that you ingest 2 tablespoons of powdered flax seeds or 1.5 tablespoons of flax seed oil per day.

ALA levels could be met by eating 10 g or 1.2 tablespoons of these seeds each day, 1.5 g for males and 1 g for females.

Flax seeds might be used to make energy bars, granola bars, thickeners, gums, and baked foods.

However, to avoid the negative effects of these seeds, drink enough water, at least 5 liters per day.

Is Flaxseed Beneficial To Weight Loss?

Flax seed’s fiber content might be able to assist you in your weight loss attempts. Fiber makes you feel fuller faster, which might lead[6] to weight loss if you consume fewer calories during the day.

Consuming seeds might also help you lose weight in winter.

You might also want to note that a study from 2012[7] indicated that drinking a flax drink with 3 grams of fiber boosted sensations of fullness and helped the study participants successfully curb their cravings.

Researchers found that supplementing your diet with whole flax seed led to a reduction in waist circumference, body weight, and body mass index in a 2016 assessment of 40 trials. Flax seed, according to the researchers, might help persons who are obese or overweight lose weight.

Conclusion

Flax seeds are amazing seeds that offer several health benefits and also the ability in helping you to lose weight.

They give the body a lot of nutrients, which prevent diseases from developing and help to improve the immune system.

The best part is that they could be eaten ground or whole in a variety of ways.

It is crucial to remember, though, that flax seeds are not miracle workers.

If you want to reduce weight effectively, you should exercise consistently and have a nutritious diet.

Flax seeds have grown in popularity as a result of their high levels of plant chemicals, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber, which are responsible for most of the seeds’ health advantages.

They might help with intestinal and heart health, weight loss, and blood sugar control.

You might acquire these small powerhouses online or locally if you wish to improve your health.

+7 References/Sources

Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.

  1. Andrea L Edel, Delfin Rodriguez-Leyva, Thane G Maddaford, et al. Dietary flaxseed independently lowers circulating cholesterol and lowers it beyond the effects of cholesterol-lowering medications alone in patients with peripheral artery disease. J Nutr. 2015 Apr;145(4):749-57. doi: 10.3945/jn.114.204594. Epub 2015 Feb 18. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25694068/.
  2. Christian Kwesi Ofotsu Dzuvor, Jordan Tauai Taylor, Caleb Acquah, et al. Bioprocessing of Functional Ingredients from Flaxseed. Molecules. 2018 Oct; 23(10): 2444. Published online 2018 Sep 24. doi: 10.3390/molecules23102444.
  3. Ana Calado, Pedro Miguel Neves, Teresa Santos, et al. The Effect of Flaxseed in Breast Cancer: A Literature Review. Front Nutr. 2018 Feb 7;5:4. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2018.00004. eCollection 2018. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29468163/.
  4. Bayi Xu, Zhixia Xu, Duanmin Xu, et al. Effect of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on ischemic heart disease and cardiometabolic risk factors: a two-sample Mendelian randomization study. BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2021 Nov 8;21(1):532. doi: 10.1186/s12872-021-02342-6. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34749668/.
  5. Andrew O’Keefe, Sandeep Kapur, Gregory Rex, et al. Flax seed allergy in children: an emerging allergen?. Allergy Asthma Clin Immunol. 2010; 6(Suppl 2): P6. Published online 2010 Nov 4. doi: 10.1186/1710-1492-6-S2-P6
  6. Roberta Soares Lara Cassani, Priscila Giacomo Fassini, Jose Henrique Silvah, et al. Impact of weight loss diet associated with flaxseed on inflammatory markers in men with cardiovascular risk factors: a clinical study. Published online 2015 Jan 10. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-14-5.
  7. Sabine Ibrügger 1 , Mette Kristensen, Mette Skau Mikkelsen, Arne Astrup. Flaxseed dietary fiber supplements for suppression of appetite and food intake. 2012 Apr;58(2):490-5. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2011.12.024. Epub 2012 Jan 5.

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