Health Benefits & Side Effects of Flax seeds

How to Use Flax seeds to Cure Diseases at Home

Flax seedsIt is only in the recent times that the use of flaxseeds as a dietary component has been gaining popularity.  However, this ingredient has been in use by Egyptians and in Mediterranean countries since a very long time.  Flaxseed consumption has increased because people have become more aware of the health benefits they could obtain from it.

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The seed of flax also known as linseed, belongs to the Linum usitatissimum plant genus.  The fruit of this plant is a rounded, dry capsule, which has enclosed within it tiny brown seeds, looking very similar to apple seeds in appearance.  There are two varieties in flaxseeds – the brown and the golden yellow colored seeds.  Oil can be extracted from these seeds, which will be rich in essential fatty acids and several other nutritional properties.  Though there is no harm in consuming whole flaxseeds, most of its benefits are best gotten from freshly ground flaxseeds.  But powdered flaxseeds cannot be stored for long – maximum is one week.

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Flaxseeds contain most of the B vitamins and vitamin C; are high in polyunsaturated fats; contains fiber, sugars, carbohydrates, proteins, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and phosphorus.  The seed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, especially alpha-linolenic acid; and is also a good source of phenolic compounds called as lignans.  The polysaccharides contained within along with all those mentioned above will have a positive effect in preventing several disease conditions.

Fights against Breast Cancer – The phytoestrogens found in flaxseeds has many beneficial effects including preventing and combating cancerous growths in women, especially breast cancer.  These substances are estrogen-like chemicals, generally got from plant products, especially seeds and grains.  Estrogen is essential for women’s health, and its levels decrease as a woman reaches menopause.  Hence, by substituting it with phytoestrogen much of their risk of developing unfavorable diseases can be lowered.  When phytoestrogen is consumed, it gets converted into a compound in the intestines, and it is this particular compound, when occurring in large quantities within the body, that helps in preventing disease progression.

Regulates cholesterol and blood sugar levels – Flaxseeds are known for its natural properties that can help in reducing one’s cholesterol levels.  Though cholesterol has certain important body functions, when occurring in large amounts within the body, can block normal blood flow within the blood vessels and lead to heart diseases.  Mix a teaspoon of ground flaxseeds in milkshakes, soups, salads, yogurt or to breakfast cereals and reap its benefits.

Laxative Effects – Flaxseeds are rich in fibers that can absorb water from the intestines, swell up and become more viscid, enabling stools to be expelled out easily by softening it.  Hence, this is a natural plant material that can be used to relieve constipation.

Essential Fatty Acids – Flaxseeds have a high content of a-linolenic acid, which is a form of omega-3 fatty acids.  This form of essential fatty acids is beneficial in preventing various diseases, like – autoimmune disorders such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory condition affecting the intestines such as irritable bowel disorder, Crohn’s disease, and also in reducing depression symptoms.

 Flax seeds as a Home Remedy

Caution – Because of the phytoestrogen content in flaxseeds, it is recommended that pregnant women refrain from consuming flaxseeds during their pregnancy period.  Also, because of its ability to absorb fluids from the intestine, there is some fear that when consumed in large amounts, it could lead to an intestinal block.

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