Flax is a plant that has been grown in Egypt and Asia since ancient times and whose benefits are known. The benefits of linseed are even found in Ayurvedic medicine, an ancient healthcare system that originates especially on the lower continent of India. Flaxseed can be defined as a functional food because it contains healthy oils, antioxidants and fibers.
What is linseed?
Linseed is a very important functional food, functional foods are defined as food or food components that provide additional benefits on the physiological and metabolic functions of humans, apart from meeting the basic nutritional requirements of the body, and to prevent disease or lead a healthier life.
Linen plant, whose Latin name is Linum usitatissimum, is an agricultural plant that develops in sizes varying between 30 cm and 1 meter, blooms in blue and lives for one year. Flax seeds are about 5 mm long and are egg-shaped. These seeds are flat, shiny, odorless, oily and delicious.
Although flaxseed is mixed with hemp seeds, these two plants are completely different. Flaxseed, according to the American National Cancer Institute; it is among the cancer preventive foods and studies need to be carried out on it.
How to use linseed?
How to consume flaxseed is a very curious question. Nowadays, flax seeds; The seeds are available in forms such as flaxseed oil, flaxseed powder, flaxseed tablets or capsules, and flaxseed flour.
It is used by many people as a dietary supplement to prevent or control constipation, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, cancer and many more diseases.
Among the nutrients in flax seed; There are lignans, antioxidants, fiber, protein and polyunsaturated fatty acids such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) or omega-3. Consuming these nutrients can help reduce the risk of various medical conditions.
However, there is currently insufficient evidence to support all of these claims. This article contains information about flaxseed and its possible health benefits, based on research. The flaxseed oil benefits that are widely available on the market do not differ from other forms of flaxseed.
Flaxseed is rich in antioxidants like other plant-based foods. Antioxidants can help prevent disease by removing harmful molecules called free radicals from the body.
Free radicals appear as a result of natural processes and environmental pressures. If there are too many free radicals in the body, oxidative stress can develop, which can lead to cell damage and disease. Antioxidants help remove free radicals from the body.
The reason why flaxseeds have high antioxidant properties is that they contain a high level of nutrients called lignan. The flaxseed has plenty of lignan in its shells and contains 100 times more lignan than even its closest competitor.
Reducing the risk of cancer
Linseed contains omega-3 fatty acids. Research suggests that these fatty acids can help prevent the growth of different cancer cells.
Flaxseed can also slow tumor growth by preventing it from forming new blood vessels with the lignans it contains.
A 2013 study found that breast cancer formation was lower among women who regularly consume flaxseed. Also, in a review published in 2018, linseed may help reduce the risk of breast cancer after menopause.
Improving cholesterol and heart health
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends the intake of more fiber and omega-3 to increase heart health. Linseed contains all of these nutrients. Flaxseed also contains phytosterols.
Phytosterols have a similar structure to cholesterol, but they help prevent cholesterol absorption in the intestines. Therefore, consuming phytosterols can help reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol levels in the body.
A 2010 study looked at the effect of flaxseed on cholesterol levels in men with moderately high cholesterol. Participants received 20 milligrams (mg) capsules, 100 mg capsules, or placebo containing lignan for 12 weeks. Low cholesterol levels have been observed, especially in those receiving 100 mg capsules after taking the ligaments.
Another study in 2012 suggested that flaxseed can be useful for lowering cholesterol levels.
Alleviating arthritis symptoms
According to the Arthritis Foundation, linseed can help reduce joint pain and stiffness. Some people stated that using flaxseeds for the phenomenon of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Raynaud creates benefits for themselves.
Although evidence supporting its use for this purpose is not currently available, it is stated that α-linolenic acid (ALA) in linseed may help reduce inflammation.
For arthritis symptoms, flaxseed can be consumed in one of the following ways:
ground (one tablespoon per day)
as oil (one to three tablespoons per day)
in capsule form (1,300-3,000 mg per day)
Regulation of blood sugar
Ligances and other phytoestrogens can help reduce the risk of chronic conditions like diabetes.
In a study of 25 people in 2013, 0 g, 13 g, or 26 g linseed were given to cases with prediabetes or obesity every day for 12 weeks. As a result of the study, it was observed that 13 g dosage decreased glucose and insulin levels and increased insulin sensitivity.
Also, a 2016 study on rodents suggested that compounds in flaxseed can help reduce the incidence of type 1 diabetes and delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
In a few studies, the benefits of linseed on diabetes symptoms were not found, so the benefits of linseed on diabetes symptoms remain uncertain.
Flaxseed is a good source of insoluble fiber that is insoluble in water and remains in the digestive system after eating. It helps increase intestinal regularity by absorbing water in the intestine.
However, the National Complementary and Integrative Health Center (NCCIH) says there is little evidence that linseed helps reduce constipation, and warns that consuming linseed with too little water can worsen constipation and cause intestinal obstruction. Also, too much flaxseed or linseed oil can cause diarrhea.
To reduce the effect of radiation
In 2013, scientists found evidence that a diet containing linseeds helped heal radiation-exposed mice.
If tests to be performed in humans give similar results, flaxseed lignans can help treat lung problems after exposure to radiation or radiation therapy (radiotherapy).
Other possible medical conditions that linseed may benefit
Today, studies are still on whether nutrients in flaxseed can help in the treatment or prevention of different diseases. The diseases and medical conditions listed below are supported for research.
Nutritional values and benefits of linseed
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a tablespoon of ground flaxseeds weighing 7 g includes:
energy: 37.4 calories
protein: 1.28 g
carbohydrates: 2.02 g
fiber: 1.91 g
calcium: 17.8 mg
magnesium: 27.4 mg
phosphorus: 44.9 mg
potassium: 56.9 mg
folate: 6.09 micrograms (mcg)
lutein and zeaxanthin: 45.6 mcg
How to eat linseed
It is beneficial not to consume linseed raw. Raw or immature flax seeds can contain toxins. Do not add flax seeds to the dishes you will cook. Instead, you can consume flaxseeds as follows:
Adding to breakfast cereals
Stirring the yogurt
By adding smoothie or salads
Is there a risk of consuming linseed?
Individuals with one or more of the medical conditions listed below should consult their doctor before consuming flaxseed:
Blood thinners (warfarin or aspirin)
Those who use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
People who use cholesterol lowering drugs
Those with hormone sensitive breast or uterine cancer
Pregnant and lactating
Those allergic to linseed
We wish you healthy days.