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You must have noticed that recently more attention is being paid to flax seeds. You can thank TikTok for shedding light on powerful seeds. Users are claiming that flaxseed gel applied to the face is similar to Botox (more on this later).
But social media trends aside, flaxseed has long been a food that dietitians encourage as part of a healthy diet. And whether or not the latest buzzy trend has any merit, there are plenty of reasons why they should be part of your daily diet.
For one thing, the tiny seeds pack many beneficial nutrients into a small package. With healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, flax seeds offer a ton of health benefits. They also contain estrogen-like compounds, called lignans, which have positive effects on female hormones. Plus, flax seeds add nutty and crunchy flavor to any meal, while also providing a nutritional boost.
Learn about flaxseed nutrition facts, the health benefits of eating these small but mighty seeds, and simple ways to include them in your diet.
Flaxseed Nutrition Facts
Two tablespoons of flaxseed (the recommended amount on most packages) contains:
4 grams protein
9 grams fat
6 grams carbohydrates
6 grams fiber (21% Daily Value (DV))
80 mg magnesium (19% DV)
6 ug selenium (11% DV)
0.4 mg thiamine (33% DV)
benefits of linseed
Flax seeds are small, but have a strong nutritional profile. A 2019 review states that the good unsaturated omega-3 fats in flax seeds act as an antioxidant and are part of the reason for the seeds’ healthfulness. The most promising research is in the areas of heart disease and cancer management.
Specifically, a meta-analysis of over 30 studies found that supplementing the diet with various flaxseed products is an effective way to reduce both diastolic and systolic blood pressure, which reduces the risk of heart disease. Another study gave people with high cholesterol or high triglycerides a supplement of 30 grams (about a cup) of flaxseed powder for 3 months. At the end of the 3-month period, participants had lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, lower triglycerides and higher HDL (good) cholesterol. The authors attribute these results to the healthy fats present in flax seeds as well as dietary lignans, a class of phytoestrogens (plant-based estrogen-like compounds) that have antioxidant properties.
Because flax seeds play a role in fighting inflammation, they have been investigated in cancer research. Animal studies show that omega-3 may suppress the growth, size, and spread of cancer cells. Additionally, the lignans present in flax seeds may affect breast cancer treatment. The chemical structure of lignan is similar to that of an estrogen molecule. Some breast cancers have estrogen receptors, and lignans from flax seeds bind to those receptors, reducing cancer cell growth.
Finally, the fiber in flax seeds may contribute to digestive health, such as treating constipation and creating a healthy and diverse microbiome. Fiber also helps stabilize blood-sugar levels, which is important for people with diabetes.
Is flaxseed good for weight loss?
Foods that are rich in fiber, protein and healthy fats, such as flax seeds, contribute to satiety and control appetite, making them good for weight loss. A meta-analysis of 45 studies shows that eating flaxseed as part of a healthy diet may reduce body weight and waist size. Research also shows that consuming more than 30 grams (cups) over 12 weeks has a positive effect on body composition.
Does flaxseed reduce belly fat?
It’s a common nutrition myth that any one food can reduce belly fat. In fact, it is impossible to target fat loss in a certain area of the body. When you lose weight, you may notice a reduction in the size of many body areas, including your stomach, legs, chest or arms. While flax seeds may contribute to weight loss, they won’t magically melt away belly fat.
How much flax seed a day is ideal?
There is no standard amount for flax seeds, although most packages recommend 2 to 3 tablespoons (about 1 ounce) per serving. The USDA considers 1-ounce of seeds equivalent to 1-ounce of protein (most people need at least 5-6 ounces per day).
Should flaxseed be eaten in the morning or at night?
There is no research on the best time of day to eat flaxseeds, so include them in your diet whenever you feel like it. The best time to eat them is the time that works for you! Many people like to sprinkle them on their morning oatmeal or smoothie or in their lunch salad or grain bowl.
Who should not eat flax seeds?
Flax seeds are safe for most healthy people. Due to the high fiber content in them, eating them in excess can cause problems like gas and bloating. If you’re concerned about this, stick to the recommendation of 2 to 3 tablespoons.
Although the lignans in flax seeds have been shown to be beneficial for women’s health, some people with breast cancer or other hormonal conditions may be concerned about eating flax. If so, talk to your doctor about adding them to your diet.
Are there any benefits of using flax seeds in your skin care routine?
You may have seen the claim on TikTok that flaxseed water gel is similar to Botox. Flax seeds contain healthy fats and vitamin E, two nutrients that are beneficial for the skin when eaten. That said, putting flaxseed on your face isn’t the same as eating it and it’s definitely not the same as Botox. If you want to get skin benefits from flax seeds, include them in your diet.
Healthy Flaxseed Recipes
From smoothies to baked goods to granola, there are many ways to eat more flax. Here are some of our favorite recipes:
Peach Melba with Flaxseed Streusel by Greg Bäckstrom
Sweet Potato Pancakes by Jane Claiborne
Chocolate Banana Flax Muffins by Daphne Oz
Divine Start Smoothie by Katherine McCord
This article was originally published on TODAY.com
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