The tiny flaxseeds are among the most important vegetal sources of nutrients, having some unique properties. Whether you’re a vegan or not, incorporating flaxseeds in your diet brings a lot of health benefits, therefore we’ll discuss them in this article.
Flax has been known for ages. It is a versatile plant, which has been used not only as food but also to manufacture various items such as sails. Nowadays it is mostly used as food and it has become a highly praised plant due to its exceptional health benefits.
There are two categories of flax seeds: brown and gold. Their nutritional composition is very similar, almost identical. Brown flax seeds have a stronger taste, while gold flax seeds have a milder one. You should keep this in mind if you plan to use them for raw crackers.
Click here for Top 5 Most Delicious Raw Flaxseed Crackers Recipes.
The benefits of flaxseeds are numerous and I will cover here the most important ones. If your health is an issue, if you’re suffering from chronic problems, you should definitely add them to your diet.
Nutritional Content of Flaxseeds
From an acid-alkaline point of view, flax seeds are slightly alkaline so they are safe to be consumed in larger quantities. They are also a good source of omega fatty acids, vitamins such as B1, copper, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous and selenium. Beneficial nutrients also include fibers, which we’ll further cover in this article. Their glycemic index is also very low (75).
Flaxseeds Have Omega Fatty Acids
Maybe the most important benefit of flaxseeds is the content of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. There is an entire article related to fats that you can read here and which covers this topic in-depth.
Omega fatty acids are extremely important for the nervous system and your overall health. It has been pointed out that most Americans lack them due to improper diet. Even a number of vegans are unaware of this issue. You can read more in the article above, but I will cover here the essentials.
Omega 3 fatty acid is anti-inflammatory, while omega 6 is pro-inflammatory. What does this mean? To put it simply, omega 3 helps to reduce inflammations (not only external, but, most important, internal ones), while omega 6 stimulates them. In order to fully benefit from omega fatty acids, they need to be in a 2:1 – 4:1 proportion, otherwise the effect of omega 3 is almost cancelled. In this case, omega 6 effects become even more powerful, promoting inflammation, which can afterwards trigger various conditions.
The benefit of eating flaxseed is that omega 3 and omega 6 are in the right proportion (2:1), making them the best vegetal source of omega fatty acids.
Flaxseeds Have Fibers
Fibers are important for digestion. They help cleansing the colon, regulating water absorption and keeping the digestive system in good health. This is why it is very important to get your right dose of fibers from your daily meals.
What is unique about flaxseeds is that they contain lignans. These are similar to fibers, but additionally have an antioxidant effect. There are other seeds as well which contain lignans (such as sesame and sunflower seeds) but flaxseeds are the number one source due to their high content (about 7 times more than number two, which is sesame).
Lignans also act as phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are simply plant-based estrogens, which are hormones involved in many body processes. Studies have shown that phytoestrogens are better tolerated than chemically-synthesized estrogens.
When soaked, flaxseeds form a gel which is also beneficial for digestion. The gel regulates nutrient absorption, slowing down the process and allowing a better assimilation of the nutrients.
These beneficial nutrients of flaxseed work best when eating whole seeds. Flaxseed oil has no fibers and therefore is a lower quality product. Flaxseed oil will never replace whole seeds, but it can very well be used along with the latter.
Health and Flaxseeds
The beneficial nutrients of flaxseeds have a deep positive impact on health. Let’s see just a few.
- Flaxseeds protect the cardiovascular system. Thanks to omega 3, blood vessels are protected from inflammations and the bloodstream is increased. Various studies have shown that lignans further help protect blood vessels by lowering the risk of inflammation. Flaxseeds regulate blood pressure, reducing the risk of high blood pressure.
- Cholesterol is an issue for many people. Flaxseed has benefits in reducing “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and increasing “good” cholesterol (HDL). The ratio between LDL and HDL is a major factor to consider for most cholesterol-related illnesses. See Fats in a Healthy Diet article for more.
- Antioxidants are essential for good health. A lack of them can result in cell damage therefore having a daily dose of antioxidants protects the body from oxidative stress. There is no mechanism to store antioxidants in the body, so this is why it is important to get them regularly. The content of antioxidants found in flaxseeds decreases the risk of numerous illnesses and provides further protection. And the best part: the flaxseed content of antioxidants is richer than that of blueberries and most fruits!
- The health of the digestive tract is maintained by a gel-like substance and by lignans. It has been shown that lignans reduce the risk of colon cancer. This happens because in the absence of a proper diet and lifestyle there is a constant build-up of toxins in the colon. Flaxseeds come to help by their powerful cleansing and regulating effect.
As you see, there are so many benefits of eating flaxseed that they have quickly gained a respectable place in healthy diets. To properly benefit from them, the flaxseeds must be soaked before used, baked or made into raw crackers.
If you want to find out more about flaxseed health benefits, download our free report:
Top 5 Amazing Benefits of Eating Raw Crackers Daily