Flaxseeds, the latest buzzword in the health industry, is a true manifestation of the famous adage - big things come in small packages. These earthy-coloured, shiny seeds are being savoured by humans since the most primitive stages of civilisation. They were first cultivated in Babylon as early as 3000 B.C. Almost thirteen centuries later, they have returned to popularity with presence in all kinds of packaged foods from crackers to oatmeal. Consuming a handful of flaxseeds anytime during the day can help you meet your essential daily nutritional requirement. They are found to be a rich source of almost all essential nutrients in the body including fibre, protein, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and lignan amongst others.
Flaxseeds are brown in colour and have a hard, crunchy coating over them. If not chewed properly, they might not reap any health benefits at all. Sharma advises to soak them before consumption. Alternatively, you can also ground these seeds into powder and add them to your oats, flour, juices, smoothies, or even salads.
Here are 5 benefits of including flaxseeds in your diet as told by Delhi-based nutritionist, Shikha Sharma.
1. Low Cholesterol
Flaxseeds are an excellent source of soluble mucilaginous fibre that is linked with healthy cholesterol and balanced sugar levels in humans. They help in maintaining the blood-sugar level in the body, thus also helping you avoid diabetes.
2. Cancer Protection
Including sufficient amount of flaxseeds in our diet can have a protective effect against breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer. The omega-3 acid found in flaxseeds, called ALA, inhibits tumor incidence and growth.
3. Weight Loss
Flaxseeds are energy dense and have great satiety value. Adding them to your juices or salads can make you feel full. Flaxseeds also aid in boosting the body’s metabolism and thus facilitating weight management.
4. Protects Your Heart
The high omega-3 and amino acid content found in flaxseeds can help maintain the levels of undesirable fats in the blood, reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Flaxseeds are also effective in normalising our heartbeat.
5. Healing Properties
Flaxseeds have a high potassium content as well. This makes them an effective anti oxidising agent for the body with several healing properties. They aid the body in anti-inflammatory action that accompanies certain illness including asthma and Parkinson’s.