What’s tiny, powerful, and your new best friend? Flax seed! This trendy superfood is packed with countless benefits that can help your weight loss journey. Here’s what you need to know about this miracle food.
What Are Flax Seeds?
Flax seeds are the seeds from a flowering plant called Linum usitatissimum. They’re grown like a grain – such as wheat or barley – even though they’re not a grain. When they’re harvested, a pod is removed from each flower. This pod contains the flax seeds that we eat.
In stores, you can find two different varieties of flax – brown and golden. They’re also available as whole seeds, meal (grounded), liquid oil, and pills.
How Do They Help Weight Loss?
To get the most out of flax seeds, eat them in the grounded form. The whole seeds are harder to digest and might pass right through your system. You don’t want to miss out on these weight loss benefits.
Flax seeds are rich in fiber, a nutrient that keeps you full for a long time. This prevents overeating, so it’s useful for weight management. You’ll be less likely to binge on unhealthy foods! Fiber can also lower your risk of heart attack and stroke by reducing total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels.1
2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Flaxseed is one of the best sources of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid.2 This healthy fat has the ability to suppress appetite while increasing satiety. The result? Less energy intake and therefore, weight loss. ALA also has the power to slow down the digestion and absorption of “bad” fats in the blood.3
Antioxidants called lignans are abundant in flaxseed. They don’t have a direct link to weight loss, but they enhance cell function as your body burns fat. Lignans also offer nutritional support and protection against free radicals as your body changes.4
4. Low Carb
Flax can be used as a less energy-dense alternative to refined grains. It’s low in starch and sugar, so it won’t pack on the calories.5 In fact, most of the carbohydrate in flax seed is fiber.
About 20 percent of flax is made of protein, which can also help you lose weight. It works just like fiber by keeping you satisfied for a long time. So if you don’t eat meat or want plant-based protein, flax might be your answer.6
How To Eat Flax seed
- Baked Goods: The nutty flavor of flax makes it a great add-on for pastries. Simply add 1/2 cup ground flax seed to your favorite muffin, cookie, or bread recipe.
- Oatmeal: Use flax seed as a crunchy topping for oatmeal, porridge, or cereal.
- Toast: Add to French toast batter or sprinkle on regular toast.
- Yogurt: Mix 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed into yogurt with fruits, nuts, and honey.
- Smoothies: Add 1 tablespoon whole or ground flax to any smoothie recipe. Use it as a topping for smoothie bowls.
- Salads: Sprinkle on salads for a nutty twist. You can also mix flax into salad dressings.
- Sauces: Add to condiments like ketchup, mayonnaise, or mustard.
- Chicken or fish: Coat lean meats with a mixture of ground flax and spices. Bake and enjoy.
- Pasta: Toss into both hot and cold salads.
- Meatballs or burgers: Replace the breadcrumbs with ground flax and spices.
Possible Side Effects
Like any fiber-rich food, flax should be slowly added to your diet. Don’t eat too much too fast! You should also drink lots of water while eating flax. Otherwise, you’ll end up with constipation and gas.
You might’ve heard that some seeds – like flax – have small traces of toxic cyanide. But there’s no need to worry. The cyanide levels in flax seeds aren’t enough to harm the body.7
What About Oil And Pills?
For more options, take flax seed oil. It’s available in convenient liquid and pill forms, so you don’t have to grind anything up. Flax oil also has the same nutritional impact as ground flax, so it can be a part of your weight loss plan.8
To use flax seed oil, mix it into salad dressings and pasta. But don’t heat it up while cooking food. Flax oil has a low boiling point, so heat will make it go rancid.
Pills should be taken once a day. Again, don’t forget to drink lots of water. Flax can also interact with other medications, so talk to your doctor before taking supplements.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Surampudi, Prasanth, Byambaa Enkmaa, Erdenbileg Anuurad, and Lars Berglund. Lipid Lowering with Soluble Dietary Fibery. Current Atherosclerosis Reports 18.75(2016)|
|2.||↑||Rodriguez-Leyva, Delfin, Chantal MC Bassett, Richelle McCullough, and Grant N. Pierce. The cardiovascular effects of flaxseed and its omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid. The Canadian Journal of Cardiology 26.9(2010):489-496.|
|3.||↑||Zhang, Weide, L.C. Zhu, and Jianguo Jiang. Active ingredients from natural botanicals in the treatment of obesity. Obesity Reviews15.12(2014):957-967.|
|4.||↑||Antioxidants: In Depth, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health|
|5.||↑||Weight loss and carbohydrates, Better Health Channel|
|6, 8.||↑||Ganorkar, P.M. and R.K. Jain. Flaxseed – a nutritional punch. International Food Research journal 20.2(2013):519.|
|7.||↑||Wanasundara, P.K.J.P.D. nd Fereidoon Shahidi. Process-Induced Compositional Changes of Flaxseed. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 434(1998):307-325.|