Flaxseed is a widely consumed food and it’s well-known for its high nutrient value. Highly nutritious, flaxseeds are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
In fact, flaxseed is considered a potential functional food source (1). It is because, three main bioactive components I.e alpha-linolenic acid, lignans, and dietary fiber are found in flaxseed.
Research over functional foods in food science is increasing rapidly due to their high popularity among health-conscious consumers.
Flaxseeds can be used for both medicinal purposes and also as nutritional products. However, some side effects can occur during surplus flaxseed consumption.
In this article, we will see the benefits and side effects of flaxseeds.
Flaxseed Benefits For Hair
People spent a lot of money on vitamin and mineral supplementation and diet as a means to prevent or control hair loss. According to studies, inflammation may be a major cause of Male and female pattern hair loss (2).
On the other hand, flaxseed is a rich source of vitamin E, B6, B12, and alpha-linolenic acid. All of these micronutrients can prevent hair loss by reducing the risk of inflammation.
Flaxseed Benefits For Skin
Flaxseed skin benefits are due to its essential skin-friendly nutrients. It is a great source of vitamins like niacin, riboflavin, and vitamin E.
All of these vitamins have benefits for the skin. Studies have shown that niacin can prevent skin cancer by reducing the risk of UV Ray skin damage (3).
On the other hand, both vitamin E & riboflavin helps to maintain skin moisture and prevent itching, dry skin. Furthermore, flaxseed is a rich source of calcium. Calcium helps to heal skin wounds and aids in skin barrier formation (4).
Moreover, flaxseed contains iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, and a little amount of vitamin C. All of these micronutrients can aid in the following skin benefits (5, 6, 7, 8)
- New skin growth
- Prevention of psoriasis, and eczema
- Acrodermatitis enteropathica risk reduction
- Prevention of athletic foot infection
- Toxin removal from skin
- Maintaining skin hydration
- Slowing down skin aging
- Dark spot reduction
Flaxseed Benefits For Weight Loss
Flaxseed can be consumed to deal with weight gain problems. In fact, a controlled intake of flaxseeds can help in weight loss drive.
Flaxseed is a rich source of fiber. According to studies, a high intake of dietary fiber promotes weight loss and dietary adherence in overweight adults (9).
A 2016 study showed that using whole flaxseed for more than 30 days can have a beneficial effect on weight reduction. The study concluded that whole flaxseed is a good choice for weight management, especially for weight reduction in overweight and obese participants (10).
Because of these benefits and high nutrient value, several people add flaxseeds with their weight loss meal replacement shakes.
Flaxseed Benefits For Men & Women
Flaxseed is healthy food a rich source of omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid, lignan secoisolariciresinol diglucoside, and dietary fiber.
All of these compounds have anti-inflammatory action, anti-oxidative capacity, and lipid modulating properties. These can provide numerous health benefits for both men and women.
In fact, flaxseed can aid in (11)
- Cardiovascular disease risk reduction
- Prevention of cancer
- Maintaining gastro-intestinal health
- Brain development
- Improving hormonal status in menopausal women
Flaxseeds Side Effects
Although flaxseed is very beneficial for health it can produce some health disorders also. Flaxseeds are a source of anti-nutrients that may have an adverse influence on health (12).
This contains Cyanogenic glycosides a major anti-nutrient that releases hydrogen cyanide. It is a potent respiratory inhibitor and produces thiocyanates.
Thiocyanates interfere with iodine uptake by the thyroid gland. That’s why long-term exposure to flax seeds can aggravate iodine-deficiency disorders, goiter, and cretinism.
However, Cyanogenic glycosides are heat-labile and these can be easily destroyed by autoclaving, microwave roasting, and pelleting.
On the other hand, flaxseed contains another anti-nutrient called Phytic acid. Phytic acid can affect the absorption of calcium, zinc, magnesium, copper, and iron.
Can We Eat Flaxseed Daily?
Yes, we can eat flaxseed daily. A controlled intake of flaxseeds has many beneficial effects on human health. The rich nutrient value of flaxseeds helps to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Flaxseed is a rich source of both dietary fiber and magnesium. These two nutrients help to get rid of constipation problems.
So, if you have an irregular bowel movement issue, daily consumption of flaxseed can be miraculous. Moreover, flaxseed is packed with Alpha-linolenic acid.
Alpha-linolenic acid serves as an exclusive source of omega-3 fatty acids in vegetarian diets. That’s why vegan people can also consume flaxseed daily.
How Much Flaxseed Should You Eat A Day?
There is no recommended daily consumption limit of flaxseeds. However, you should maintain your daily flaxseed intake to 1-2 tbsp.
This serving size of flaxseed is able to provide daily required nutrients. On the other hand, controlling the intake of flaxseed have another benefit of maintaining calorie intake.
As flaxseed is high in calories, surplus consumption can cause caloric imbalance. In long run, it may cause health disorders like weight gain.
What Happens If I Eat Flaxseeds Everyday
It’s a great idea to consume flaxseed every day as it is a functional food. The alpha-linolenic acid, lignans, and dietary fiber components of flaxseeds help to prevent several diseases.
The high fiber and low saturated fat of flaxseeds keep constipation at bay. Moreover, the water-binding capacity of flaxseed insoluble fiber increases the intestinal bulk.
This is useful in the treatment of constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and diverticular disease. That’s why flaxseed can be used as a natural laxative.
Moreover, flaxseeds contain a balanced ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids and these can prevent cardiovascular diseases and arthritis.
Also, the high alpha-linolenic acid of flaxseed and its oil can reduce the growth of tumors. On the other hand, flaxseed meals have cholesterol-lowering benefits.
Flaxseed Nutrition Value
Flaxseed is a good source of both micronutrients and macronutrients. It contains fiber, protein, carbs, fat, minerals, and vitamins.
A 100 gram serving of flaxseed contains (13):
- Calorie: 534
- Fiber: 27.3 g
- Carbs: 28.9 g
- Protein: 18.3 g
- Fat: 42.2 g
Also check: flaxseed milk benefits
Flaxseed is a great source of nutrients and aid in numerous health benefits. The high nutrient value of flaxseed makes it one of the most consumed foods among health-conscious people.
Also, the trio of alpha-linolenic acid, lignans, and dietary fiber fill the criteria of functional food sources. All of these nutrients provide health benefits like constipation cure, maintaining healthy heart function, prevention of cancer, boosting skin health, etc.
However, flaxseed contains some anti-nutrients which can cause digestive problems and may affect the thyroid gland. Also, surplus consumption of flaxseed can cause weight gain because of its high-calorie value.
That’s why it’s a wise idea to take 1-2 tbsp of flaxseeds per day and process flaxseeds properly before eating.