It’s often the simplest ingredients that are the most nutritionally dense! But flaxseed health benefits are many! In living foods (also called raw food) they are indispensable! Let’s take a closer look at what these little seeds with their light, nutty taste have to offer.
Flaxseed health benefits: 5 main ones
1 – A proven laxative effect
You probably already know this, and maybe you’re lucky enough not to have this concern on a daily basis. However, it is the disease of the century. In fact, when I was a Buyer for an organic supermarket chain, my management asked me to reference all new products against this problem. Because as I was told: “our customers are constipated”!
Such a shame, as an easy fix is around. Many studies have shown that consuming flaxseed regularly significantly improves intestinal regularity.
Its high amount of fibers gives it this property. It is better to choose brown flaxseed than blond flaxseed, which is twice as rich in fiber.
Best is to grind the seeds to take full advantage of this benefit. It is necessary to grind them as you go, because they are sensitive to oxidation.
In the race that takes them towards the exit, they also have the good idea to serve as food for the intestinal flora. It is a prebiotic, which comes to balance our micro-organisms.
2 – Reduces cardiovascular risks
Here again, thanks to its high content of fiber, 27.3g per 100g, they help reduce the level of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and reduce the risk of coronary diseases.
It reduces the risk of hypertension and other blood pressure disorders.
3 – Anti-cancer
Several studies have concluded that regular consumption of flaxseed is associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer. The bioactive compounds in flaxseed, alpha-linolenic acid (omega 3), lignans and other phytochemicals contribute to this.
Some studies also suggest that flaxseed and its omega-3 content may reduce the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
4 – Relieves menopausal symptoms
Another study established that menopausal symptoms decreased and quality of life increased in women who used flaxseed for 3 months.
Flax seeds are indeed a source of phytoestrogens. The phytoactive compounds are called lignans. They are not estrogens for all that. But the very similar structure allows them to intervene advantageously in the body in case of hormonal disorders such as menopausal symptoms.
Flaxseed is one of the richest plant-based food in omega 3, with an average content of 16.7 g of alphalinoleic acid per 100 g of flaxseed, i.e. 1.67 g per tablespoon (10 g) . This is enough to cover our daily needs, set at 0.8-1.1 g/day by the World Health Organization.
Our diet is generally too rich in omega 6, promoting the inflammatory state of the body. Flax has the advantage of having an excellent omega6/omega3 ratio. To consume without moderation!
5 cooking advantages
1 – Thickener
Here is an asset of weight, because they are not so many natural and raw thickeners around. Flaxseeds are one of my basic ingredients. I buy them in 3 kilo bags and I always have them on hand, whether whole or ground.
They are so useful to thicken a sauce, bind a cracker dough, bring flexibility to a wrap…
I choose blond flax for aesthetic reasons. There is no difference in terms of result with brown flax. But the light seeds have the advantage of not darkening the preparations. I like to play with colors in my kitchen so much that I love when flax is discreet 😉
2 – Gluten free
It is an asset for people who are allergic or intolerant to gluten. That’s why it’s used a lot in gluten-free culinary preparations, breads and ready-made meals.
3 – Inexpensive
This is also an asset in raw food. It allows you to control your budget. Its thickening properties can avoid overuse of expensive oilseeds or oils in a cream or sauce for example.
4 – Replaces eggs
For many vegetarian recipes that I wanted to veganize, all I had to do was replace an egg with a tablespoon of ground flaxseed to get an equivalent result. The seeds have mucilaginous properties. That is to say that they become gelatinous in contact with water, a texture similar to egg white!
5 – A source of plant-based omega 3
For people who have adopted a vegan diet, it is a real asset. There are not so many sources of vegetable omega 3 available and this is one of them.
You can consume the ground seeds or directly the flaxseed oil. It is preferable to buy it in an opaque bottle and in small quantities to be consumed quickly. It is very sensitive to rancidity.
Precautions for use
The precious omega 3 would be transformed in contact with heat into trans fatty acids! These are very toxic molecules for the body. To avoid absolutely!
Keep the ground seeds in a cool place
It is better to grind them as and when you need them. But if you have a surplus you can keep it in a sealed box in the refrigerator for up to a week. If it has gone rancid no problem, you will know it by the smell!
People with irritated bowel syndrome should not eat them. The insoluble fiber can stick to the intestinal wall and create inflammation.
In addition, the mucilaginous properties of flaxseed could limit the absorption of certain drugs.