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Adding Flaxseed to Your Diet

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Adding Flaxseed to Your Diet

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Flaxseeds are shiny, nutty seeds with an earthy aroma that are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, micronutrients, and vitamins. Read the article below to know more in detail.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Preetha. J

Published At November 12, 2018
Reviewed AtDecember 22, 2023

What Is Flaxseeds?

Flaxseeds (linseeds) have many benefits. They usually contain:

  • Micronutrients.

  • Dietary fiber.

  • Manganese.

  • Vitamin B1.

  • Essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic.

  • Healthy fat.

  • Antioxidants.

Flaxseeds also contain phytoestrogens called lignans, similar to the hormone estrogen. In addition, the seed coat on the flaxseed contains fiber. When taken before food, flaxseeds can make you feel less hungry, thereby is helpful in weight loss. It is also beneficial to limit the amount of cholesterol absorbed by the body from food. In addition, it helps to relieve constipation and swelling of the kidneys in people with lupus. Flaxseeds are also good for the eyes. They can be preserved for at least six months to 12 months at room temperature or about one year in a refrigerator.

How to Consume Flaxseeds?

Consuming flaxseeds wisely will help incorporate them into a healthy diet. There are various ways to incorporate flaxseeds into your diet. And a tablespoon of flaxseeds a day is enough to meet your essential daily nutritional requirement.

Flaxseeds can be taken in ground or whole form. But it is advisable to grind the flaxseeds and remove the husk, which is very difficult for the human body to digest. When whole flaxseeds are consumed, they will pass the gastrointestinal tract without being digested. On the other hand, ground flaxseeds can be easily digested and provide you with protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and healthy dietary fiber. It can also be taken in the form of flaxseeds oil. Ground flaxseeds can be added to smoothies, cereals, or yogurt. Sprouting flaxseeds is also good for health because they release more of their protein and omega-3 fatty acids into the diet. The other foods to which flaxseeds can be added are:

  • Oatmeal.

  • Applesauce.

  • Soups.

  • Salad.

  • Beans or chili.

  • Savories.

  • Sweets.

The experts recommend taking a tablespoon of flaxseeds per day, and the children should not consume more than a quarter tablespoon per day.

What Are the Benefits of Flaxseed?

Lowering Cholesterol:

Flaxseeds have soluble mucilaginous fiber that can lower bad cholesterol levels, such as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) in your body, and help improve good cholesterol, that is, high-density lipoprotein. It can be consumed in the ground form or the raw form. You can even roast it and have it. Some people like to have it with yogurt (curd), which is a wonderful source of probiotics. In addition, it has a high omega-3 fatty acids content that can help lower undesirable fats like triglycerides in the blood, reducing the risk of stroke and heart attack.

Wonderful Source of Fiber:

Around one tablespoon of flaxseed contains up to 7 grams of fiber which is essential for boosting the weight loss process in an individual. It can be consumed half an hour before or after a meal. Many people love adding flaxseeds to their smoothies. It can even be sprinkled on top of the salad or fruits as a dressing, which will enhance iron absorption as vitamin C increases iron absorption. Flaxseeds are enriched with protein, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, lignan, minerals, and some of our body's most essential and basic nutrients. In addition, the dietary fiber in flaxseeds can decrease the rate of constipation and keep the bowels moving more regularly.

Weight Loss:

Since flaxseeds are energy-dense, when taken before food, they can make you feel full and promote weight management. Take flaxseeds half an hour before your meal to decrease your appetite.

Decrease Bone Loss:

The bone loss process can be slowed down when consuming ground flaxseeds because it contains a high level of fatty acids.

Prevents Cancer:

The bioactive compounds called lignans are found in high concentrations in flaxseeds that are helpful in preventing cancer. In addition, lignans have anti-inflammatory properties and help reduce inflammation in the body. They can prevent cancers, especially colon and breast cancer.

Prevents and Treats Diabetes:

According to various research studies, flaxseeds help cure various metabolic syndrome diseases like diabetes, especially type-2 diabetes, owing to their lignans. Flaxseeds can be combined with sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, garden cress seeds, and oats. A nutribar could be prepared, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which will prevent various diseases by reducing the free radical scavenging activity in the body. Flaxseeds help prevent gestational diabetes and stabilize the blood sugar levels in a pregnant mother. Dietary fiber in flaxseeds will decrease the absorption of blood glucose and cholesterol levels in the gut, especially for those who have diabetes. It also helps to avoid preeclampsia and to lower blood pressure.

Reduces Postmenopausal Symptoms:

The phytoestrogens called lignans, present in the flaxseeds, are similar to estrogen. Therefore, they help maintain a balanced hormonal level. As a result, flaxseeds are great for women's health, and regular consumption may help reduce menopausal symptoms and help tackle irregular periods and menstruation-linked discomfort.

How to Store Flaxseeds?

Flaxseeds should be refrigerated or frozen to be kept fresh because they can easily get spoiled due to their high fatty acid content.

Preserve them in an air-locked container once the pack is opened.

What Caution Is to Be Taken before Taking Flaxseeds?

Flaxseeds are very beneficial to our body, but a few things to be noted before using them are,

  • Flaxseeds are good for the colon's health, but they are not suitable for people with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis due to their laxative properties.

  • Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should not eat them.

  • Men who have a high risk of acquiring prostate cancer should not use them.

  • Women with endometriosis, fibroid tumors, or polycystic ovarian disease should not eat them.


Do not forget to incorporate flaxseeds into your diet, as it is a superfood with numerous health benefits. But it is advisable to consult your doctor about your medical conditions (if any) and eat flaxseeds before you plan to have them.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Does Flaxseed Do to Your Body?

Flaxseed is known to improve the functioning of the digestive system. It is known to relieve complications. It is known to lower the cholesterol level in the blood. It is also known to decrease the levels of heart disease. Flaxseeds are rich in fiber and omega-3-fatty acids. The risk of cancer is also reduced.


Can You Eat Raw Flaxseeds?

You should not eat flaxseed in a raw format. If flaxseed is taken at moderate levels, then it is completely safe for consumption. Raw flaxseed can cause indigestion problems because it might contain toxic compounds. Adding flaxseeds to hot and cold cereals is the proper way to eat flaxseeds.


What Are the Side Effects of Flaxseeds?

The side effects might include a few gastrointestinal symptoms such as gas, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, stomachache, vomiting, and nausea. If you are having any of these symptoms, you can reduce the consumption of flaxseeds.


Can You Overeat Flaxseeds?

The daily recommended usage of flaxseeds is less than 5 teaspoons. If you consume more than five teaspoons of flaxseeds, there are more possibilities for gastrointestinal symptoms. It might result in constipation and other stomach-related problems.


What Happens If I Eat Flaxseeds Daily?

Eating flaxseeds daily in adequate amounts is known to have good health benefits. It is rich in omega-3-fatty acids, fibers, and lignans. It can reduce the risk of cancer. It can be beneficial for patients with diabetes. It can lower blood pressure in hypertensive patients. It can also reduce bad cholesterol.


Why Is Flaxseed Bad for You?

Flaxseed is good if it is taken in the right amount. Only if it is taken in large quantities it is harmful. It is bad in some patients because it can cause excessive gastrointestinal symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and bloating feel. Taking flaxseeds in correct quantities is actually good.


Does Flaxseed Help Lose Belly Fat?

Flaxseeds contain a component called monounsaturated fats. They are known to help in the process of weight loss. These monounsaturated fats help in making your stomach flat. It will also lower your cholesterol levels. You should consult your doctor for additional tips on reducing your belly fat.


Does Flaxseed Help You Lose Weight?

Yes, flaxseed will help in weight loss. It is full of fiber content. It will provide a full stomach feel. This will help you to eat a reduced amount of calories than normal. As you reduce the amount of calorie intake, you will probably start losing weight.


Should You Eat Flaxseeds Daily?

Taking flaxseeds every day is not a compulsion. It is totally the choice of the consumer. Only higher quantities of flaxseeds should be avoided as they might cause gastrointestinal symptoms. The daily recommended usage of flaxseeds is less than five teaspoons.


When Should I Eat Flaxseed?

Flaxseeds should be taken before a meal. This is because eating flaxseeds before food will make a person eat less than he normally does. The fiber content in the flaxseed will bind to the cholesterol and it will also prevent the absorption in the intestine. You should ask your doctor to suggest the pattern of eating flaxseeds.


Which One Is Better - Chia Seeds or Flaxseeds?

Flaxseeds contain higher quantities of copper, manganese, potassium. When you consider calories, chia is known to have few calories compared to flaxseeds. If you are considering weight loss, then flaxseeds are more beneficial than chia. Otherwise, both are highly nutritious ingredients.


Can Flaxseed Increase Breast Size?

Yes, flaxseeds are known to be helpful in increasing the breast size of a woman. The flaxseed oil and olive oil massage over the breast will help increase its size. Massage can be done once or twice a day.


Do Flaxseeds Make You Poop?

Diarrhea and constipation are two gastrointestinal problems that can be opposite. Here, flaxseeds can help a person in relieving both constipation and diarrhea.


Is Flaxseed Bad for Men?

No, flaxseeds are not bad for men. It is known to increase the blood flow to the gonads. In this way, fertility is increased in males. But, in some patients, it is known to have potential side effects like reduced testosterone levels.


How Do Flaxseeds Help in Hair Growth?

Flaxseed is known to be rich in vitamin E. It will be helpful for increasing blood circulation to the scalp. In this way, hair growth will be increased. Flaxseeds will prevent hair breakage in individuals.


How Much Flaxseed Should I Take Daily for Weight Loss?

If you are planning to take flaxseeds for weight loss, then you can stick to the quantity of two or three teaspoons. It is recommended not to take more than five teaspoons of flaxseeds as there are some potential side effects.


Does Flaxseed Make You Sleepy?

Flaxseeds are rich in tryptophan and omega-3-fatty acids. These two components are known to increase the serotonin levels in the body. As a result, serotonin will improve the quality of sleep in individuals.


Is Flaxseed Good for Sperm?

Yes, flaxseed is good for your sperm count. The blood flow to the reproductive organ is increased. It will also aid in increasing the fertility of men.


Is Flaxseed Bad for the Prostate?

No, flaxseed is not bad for the prostate. A few types of research were conducted in which the men were asked to consume flaxseeds. All the men who participated in the study had prostate cancer. People who are having prostate cancer showed a reduction in the severity of prostate cancer. So, we can decide that it is food for the prostate.


Can We Soak Flaxseeds?

Yes, you can soak flaxseeds. If you are soaking in hot water, then 10 minutes of soaking is essential. If you are soaking in normal water, you can leave for up to two hours.


Is Flaxseed Bad for IBS?

Consumption of flaxseeds can be beneficial for your irritable bowel syndrome. It can lubricate and soothe your gastrointestinal tract. Therefore it is suitable for patients with irritable bowel syndrome. But, flaxseeds have some potential side effects associated with your gut. It is better to ask your doctor about the consumption of flaxseeds when you have irritable bowel syndrome.


How Much Fiber Does Flaxseed Have?

There are approximately 27 grams of fiber content in 100 grams of flaxseed. The recommended intake of flaxseeds is one teaspoon. Make sure you do not exceed five teaspoons of flaxseeds.
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Quadros Krystel Godfrey Lavina



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