Flaxseeds are healthy foods with a high content of heart-healthy omega-3 fats, fiber, and lignans, and other unique plant compounds that are mostly responsible for their health benefits. Adding them into one’s diet has been linked to improved digestion and a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer (1,2).
The Omega-3 Fatty Acids In Flaxseeds
Flaxseeds are good sources of brain-boosting and beautifying omega-3 fatty acids, particularly Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA) which is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Consumption of foods rich in ALA has been associated with lowered risks of heart diseases, arthritis, and cancer like prostate cancer and breast cancer. Besides that, essential fatty acids keep skin, nails, and hair shiny and healthy (3,4). Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s.
When it comes to inflammatory problems, ALA along with lignans (another important component of flaxseeds which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities), may reduce the inflammation that accompanies certain illnesses (such as Parkinson’s disease and asthma) by helping block the release of certain pro-inflammatory agents. Reducing inflammation associated with plaque buildup in the arteries may be another way flaxseed helps prevent heart attack and strokes (5).
In a study involving 3,638 people, results showed that those who ate more ALA had a lower risk of heart attack than those who consumed less ALA (6).
In addition to this, a review of 27 studies with more than 25,000 partisans has shown that ALA was linked to a 14% lower risk of heart disease (7).
The anti-inflammatory properties of flaxseeds are also considered useful for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases (4).
Other Health Benefits Of Flaxseeds
- May help prevent constipation
- May help improve blood sugar
- May help reduce hot flashes
- May help reduce cancer risk
Tips For Including Flaxseed In Our Diet:
- Add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed to hot or cold breakfast cereal.
- Add a teaspoon of ground flaxseed to mayonnaise or mustard when making a sandwich.
- Blend ground flaxseed into smoothies.
- Add a little ground flaxseed to your favorite pancake or waffle recipe.
- Mix a tablespoon of ground flaxseed into an 8-ounce container of yogurt.
- Bake ground flaxseed into cookies, muffins, bread, and other baked goods.
- Top a green salad with a tablespoon of whole flaxseeds.