All you need to know about flaxseed weight loss
Flax is a fibrous plant known to have been cultivated since thousands of years for producing linen cloth and oil. The plant
finds mention in the Old Testament
, Homer’s Odyssey
, and Vedas
of India. From Mesopotamia, Egypt, India to Greece, Rome, and Gaul, the plant has been widely produced throughout the world. Though first used for other purposes, people soon realized its health benefits and evidence suggests that Babylonians were using flaxseeds (or linseeds) for consumption as a food item and medicine as far back as 3000 BC. Today, we have scientific research that endorses the miraculous benefits of flaxseeds related to weight loss.
5 facts about Flax Seed Weight Loss that will Blow your Mind
- Faster and Healthier Weight Loss: The high nutrient content of Flaxseed contributes to a healthier as well as faster weight loss. Being a functional food, it has properties that help you in maintaining body’s nutrient balance while losing weight at a faster rate.
- Hunger Suppression: Dietary fibre plays an important role in meeting your weight loss targets and ground flaxseeds, as little as two tablespoons a day can do wonders in meeting your fibre requirement and make your stomach feel fuller.
- Reduced Craving for Unhealthy foods: Your dietary plan needs to be balanced as when the body is short of nutrients and healthy fats, you start craving for carbohydrates, sugary food and unhealthy fats or junk food. The healthy fats and other nutrients of flaxseed replenish your body’s nutrients and reduce craving for fattening food.
- Balancing Blood Sugar: Flaxseed contains soluble fibre which not just makes you feel fuller but also prevents glucose from increasing blood sugar levels that would otherwise get stored as fat. High blood sugar levels are also bad news for weight loss as they trigger release of insulin in your body which prevents stored fat from breaking down.
- Burn Calories Faster: Flaxseed oil helps in better digestion of nutrients, easier bowel movement and a faster metabolism. This, in turn, makes more energy available to you for exercising and other calorie-consuming activities.
Components of Flaxseeds that Help in Weight Loss
So what are these amazing components of flaxseed that make it a super food
? Let’s take a look at them:
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids: This is the biggest connection between weight loss and Flaxseeds. 50% of flaxseed is its oil which contains a high amount of ALA or Alpha Linolenic Acid. It is one of the two essential fatty acids which are not produced by your body and need to be acquired through your diet. This fatty acid is important for the process of fat burning as well as keeping the insulin spike in check.
- Fibre: The high fibre content in flaxseed is great for intestinal tract. It slows the process of digestion and helps in better absorption of nutrients in your small intestines besides making you feel fuller for a longer duration.
- Lignans: Flaxseed is rich in lignans which provide phytoestrogens or plant compounds similar to human estrogens. They act as powerful antioxidants. In a Canadian study on post-menopausal women, increased intake of lignans in their diet led to increased levels of metabolites in their blood. These women tended to have lower BMIs and total body fat mass.
15 Health Benefits of Flax Seeds for Weight Loss
Using flaxseeds in your diet for weight loss has several other health benefits for you:
- Robust cardiovascular health: The Omega 3 fatty acid in flaxseed or ALA help in protecting the blood vessels from damage caused by inflammation. Lignans in flaxseeds also have an anti-inflammatory effect on blood vessels. Some studies also suggest that increasing intake of fibre-rich flaxseed helps in decreasing the ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol and increase the level of apolipoprotein A1, the major component of HDL or the good cholesterol.
- Reducing hypertension: Flaxseed is also known to help people diagnosed with hypertension and high blood pressure issue. This is mainly due to the presence of Omega-3 fatty acids.
- An excellent antioxidant: Excessive inflammation and oxidative stress may lead to a number of health issues including insulin resistance, obesity, type 2 diabetes, asthma, etc. By providing antioxidant protection and reducing inflammation, flaxseed intake helps in lowering the risk of a number of health problems. These benefits are due to the presence of Lignans as well as mineral antioxidant manganese in flaxseed.
- Preventing hormone-related cancers: Chronic inflammation and chronic oxidative stress may be a cause for cancer development. Flaxseed is known to provide protection from “hormone-related” cancers like breast cancer and prostate cancer. The high lignan content in flaxseeds is converted into enterolactone (ENL) and enterodiol (END) by gut bacteria which in turn have an impact on hormonal balance. Lignans also the detoxification process and thereby have a preventive impact on accumulation of toxins that may enhance cancer risk.
- Preventing colon cancer: Studies suggest that flaxseed intake may be highly effective in preventing cancers of gastrointestinal tract and colon. Omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseeds are electron-rich and help with successful completion of cellular division, thus preventing the formation of tumours. The high fibre content also helps in reducing the risk of colon cancer.
- Preventing diabetes: The antioxidant qualities of flaxseeds may help in improving insulin sensitivity in people suffering from glucose intolerance. High content of soluble fibre in flaxseeds helps in reducing blood sugar levels.
- A food for your brain: Omega 3 fatty acids are a must for optimal development and functioning of brain. Flaxseeds are one of the best sources of these fatty acids and help prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia. They also help in increasing concentration and boosting processing of sensory perception.
- Boosting digestion: As discussed earlier, the fibre content of flaxseeds gives a huge boost to your digestion aiding flax seed weight loss. It slows down the digestive process giving your intestines sufficient time to absorb food nutrients. It also helps in making your bowel movement smooth.
- Helping relieve extreme PMS symptoms: Flaxseeds can help with menstrual problems like irregular periods, mood swings, anxiety, headaches, stomach cramps, breast pain, etc. They can also help in controlling heavy bleeding during periods.
- Relieving the post-menopausal symptoms: Lignans in flaxseeds help in maintaining the balance of estrogens in your body. They can help with the issue of hot flashes faced by women post menopause. They can also help in maintaining a healthy BMI.
- Better overall immunity: The iron content of flaxseeds helps in transportation of oxygen to every part of the body and helping the body fight infections. It also reduces fatigue levels making you less prone to catching virus and infections.
- Skin Health: Flaxseeds and its oil are rich in a number of skin-friendly nutrients and are added to a number of skin care products as well. Adding flaxseed to your diet may give you a healthier skin by reducing the occurrence of acne, dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema and other such dry skin conditions. Flaxseeds also help in skin rashes and inflammation.
- Healthier Hair: These tiny seeds are rich in nutrients like protein, zinc, magnesium, calcium, iron and omega 3 fatty acids, all of which are required for healthy, shiny, and strong hair. The omega 3 fatty acids in flaxseeds increase hair elasticity preventing breakage and reducing hair fall. They also help in locking moisture and stimulate the production of sebum, thereby reducing dandruff.
- Rich in nutrients: Apart from the much talked about omega 3 fatty acids and fibre, flaxseeds are also rich in a number of essential minerals, phyto-nutrients, electrolytes, vitamins, proteins and carbohydrates and this is the reason why a couple of tablespoons of raw flaxseed can increase the health quotient of your diet dramatically.
- Better Sleep: Flaxseeds improve the levels of serotonin, the sleep-regulating substance, in the body. Moreover, the omega -3 fatty acids are known to reduce hypertension and stress which can cause insomnia. Flaxseeds are also rich in magnesium which relaxes muscles and nervous system and helps in preventing restless legs syndrome and nightmares. All these benefits of flaxseeds add up to a sound sleep.
How to Consume Flaxseeds
There are numerous ways in which you can consume these nutty-flavoured seeds which have mind-blowing properties for weight loss and a healthier you. Flaxseeds come in both brown and golden yellow hues and both have almost identical nutrient values.Before we move to how we should consume these seeds, let’s look at these important tips:
- Flaxseeds with their difficult to chew and digest outer covering should not be eaten whole as they would end up passing through your digestive system as it is without giving you any nutrient benefit. If you are eating them whole, it’s better to have roasted flaxseeds.
- You should also not use flaxseeds if you are allergic to any of its components, have intestinal blockage, closure or swelling of oesophagus, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- To be on the safe side, check with your doctor before taking flaxseeds if you are on any kind of medication. Some more tips for using flaxseeds:
- Drink more water when consuming flaxseeds.
- Do not use flaxseeds if they have a bad smell or a bitter taste.
- Avoid taking flaxseeds the same time as your medication, unless you have consulted your doctor.
- Before buying, make sure the flaxseeds are fully mature and fit for human consumption.
- Do not use flaxseed oil for cooking.
How to store flaxseeds
You can buy either ground or whole flaxseeds. If you are buying whole flaxseeds, you can grind them in your coffee grinder or food processor. You can also use a mortar or pestle to grind them to smaller, digestible pieces. If you do not want to do the grinding yourself, you can also buy ground flaxseeds. Remember to refrigerate them in an air-tight jar once they are ground. When stored properly, you can use them for 2-3 months safely. If you are buying flaxseed oil or its supplements, store them in a cool, dry place, like your refrigerator to prevent it from going rancid due to oxidization. You should keep it away from the reach of children.
Some easy ways of consuming flaxseeds
- Use them in your dough to make breads and muffins.
- Soak ground whole flaxseeds in water for some time and add to your smoothies and shakes, or add them to stews and soups.
- Sprinkle roasted and ground flaxseeds on your breakfast cereal, porridge, oats, muesli, salads, etc.
- Add flaxseeds to cooked vegetables, or lentils.
Does Flaxseed Oil Help in Constipation?
Number of bowel movements varies for different people, however, if you have fewer than three a week, you are considered to be constipated. Constipation is also characterized by hard stool, a feeling of a full bowel even after bowel movement, feeling bloated and straining during bowel movements. Though constipation may be caused by medications, stress, diseases like thyroid malfunction, travel, and other such non-diet causes, the most common reasons behind constipation tend to be a low-fibre diet and drinking insufficient water. The right way to treating chronic constipation is to add more dietary fibre, drink more water, and add exercise to your daily routine. Now, since flaxseed is very high in dietary fibre content, it is a natural remedy for constipation. However, the same may not be true for Flaxseed Oil as the oil doesn’t retain the natural fibre. Studies suggest that while it improves the number of bowel movements, it does not cure constipation as the oil is absorbed in your small intestine and does not even reach you large intestine to relieve your constipation issues. So while flaxseed oil can be used for its nutrient value, ground whole flaxseed is a better option for relieving chronic constipation.Flaxseeds are one of nature’s most powerful foods and when taken on a regular basis while exercising required caution, it may meet many of the nutrient needs of your body and help in weight loss.