Flax seeds, commonly known as linseeds (Tisi or Alsi in Hindi), are fiber crop belong to the genus Linum and family Linaceae. It is cultivated in the cooler regions all over the world. It is widely used to make linen paper, as a drying oil in the paints, varnish and other products including linoleum and printing inks. It was first originated in the eastern Mediterranean region of the India. It was broadly cultivated in the ancient China and Egypt.
It is commonly found in two varieties, brown and golden or yellow having the same nutritional values including short-chain omega-3 fatty acids. It is generally used to produce edible oil for centuries. It can be eaten simply by roasting, powdered or oil form with boiled rice, adding sugar or salt according to the taste.
Benefits of Flax Seeds/Tisi
Flaxseeds are very good sources of the micronutrients, dietary fibers, vitamins and essential fatty acids including linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3). It has a variety of health benefits for the entire human fraternity and prevents from the risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. All the beneficial qualities of the flaxseeds are mentioned below:
Prevents from Early Ageing
- Flaxseeds are the rich source of the lignans related to the phytoestrogens class, having antioxidant and antiangiogenic properties and prevent the body from the free radicals thus early ageing and wrinkles.
Lowers Blood Glucose and Cholesterol Level
- Tisi contains both soluble fibers and insoluble fibers which aids in lowering the blood glucose and cholesterol levels and makes the digestive system healthy and functioning well respectively.
Contains Essential Fatty Acids
- It contains Omega-3 fatty acids (healthy fats), also known as the essential fatty acids which assists in the healthy heart functioning. It also interrupts the growth of cancerous cells in the body.
Prevents from Cancer
- Consuming flaxseeds in any form on regular basis helps to get protected from the variety of cancers such as prostate, colon, breast cancers and etc.
Prevents Skin Damage
- Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory property prevents the skin tissues from getting damaged through the radiation.
Reduces Heart and Lungs Diseases
- It reduces the occurrence of the variety of cardiovascular and lungs diseases.
Keeps Blood Vessels Healthy
- Tisi prevents the hardening of the arteries by keeping the plaques away from being collected in the arteries.
Treats Irregular Heartbeat
- It maintains the normal heart rhythm and assists in treating the arrhythmia (means the irregular heartbeat) and heart failure.
Prevents from Disorders of High Cholesterol
- It enhances the level of good cholesterol and reduces the level of bad cholesterol in the body thus protects from the danger of diabetes, heart diseases, obesity, metabolic syndrome and etc.
- As it has anti-inflammatory property, it reduces the inflammation during various illnesses like Parkinson’s disease, asthma and etc by inhibiting the discharge of various pro-inflammatory agents.
Improves Nutrients Absorption
- Its mucilage content having arabinoxylans and galactoxylans helps the small intestine for better absorption of the certain nutrients by retaining the food for long time in the small intestine.
Improves Digestive Health
- It improves the digestive health as well as provides relieve from the constipation and diarrhea.
Keeps Blood Pressure under Control
- It keeps the blood pressure under control, if taken on regular basis.
Reduces Depression Level
- Tisi has both docosahexaenoic and eicosapentanoic acid which gets lower during the depression thus helps during depression.
Prevents from Illness
- It is very effective in preventing from various illnesses, promoting health and healing effects on the body.
Prevents from Brain Diseases
- Omega-3 availability in the flax seeds helps in preventing from the brain disease like Alzheimer’s and dementia, depression, sleep disorders and etc as Omega 3 fatty acid is considered as the brain food.
Treats Enlarged Spleen
- Eating few amount of roasted linseeds with honey helps in treating the problem of enlarged spleen.
Benefits of Flax Seeds for Skin
Reduces Risk of Skin Cancer
- Taking it regularly reduces the risk of melanoma tumors means the skin cancer.
Treats various Skin Problems
- Omega-3 availability in the flaxseed has healing effects on the skin and helps in treating the various skin problems such as psoriasis, acne, eczema, dry skin and etc.
Prevents Skin Ageing
- Omega-3 fatty acids found in it protects the skin from early ageing and wrinkles by controlling the prostaglandin secretion.
Benefits of Flax Seeds for Diabetes
Reduces Blood Glucose Level
- It helps a lot to the person suffering from the type 2 diabetes by reducing the blood glucose level.
- Lignans found in the flaxseed helps in maintaining the blood sugar level in people with type 2 diabetics.
Food of Low Glycemic Index
- It is also a food with low glycemic index which helps in stabilizing the blood sugar levels for longer period of time.
- Its high fiber and omega-3 content keeps the stomach full for long time and helps stop hunger.
Benefits of Flax Seeds for Weight Loss
Keeps Stomach Full for Long Time
- The omega-3 fatty acids, fibers and protein availability in it helps the stomach feel satiated for long time as these take more time in the digestion process, thus aids a lot in the weight management.
Benefits of Flax Seeds on Hair
Nourishes Hair Follicles
- Flax seeds are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which nourishes the hair follicles by root to make hair strong and healthy. It enhances the hair elasticity and prevents from breakage.
Prevents Hair Loss
- Its anti inflammatory property prevents the hair loss and helps in treating dandruff, eczema and other scalp problems.
- As it has both insoluble and soluble fibers, it protects from hair loss and promotes better hair growth.
Nourishes Hair Scalp
- Its rich vitamin E content enhances the growth of capillaries to the scalp to provide better nourishment to the scalp, roots and hair shaft. Vitamin E also acts as an antioxidant thus reduces the premature graying of the hair.
Relieves Headache and Stress
- Applying the paste of flax seeds on the head helps in relieving headache, stress, anxiety and tension instantly.
Benefits of Flax Seeds for Eyes
Treats Eye Problems
- Having flaxseed oil on daily basis helps in treating various eye problems like dryness, burning, itching, eye fatigue and promoting better eye vision.
Reduces Risk of Dry Eye Syndrome
- It lessens the threat of age related macular degeneration and dry eye syndrome.
Benefits of Flax Seeds for Women
Maintains Overall Health
- It prevents the occurrence of hot flashes in the postmenopausal women. It helps in maintaining the overall health of the women including psychological health.
Prevents from Menopausal Symptoms
- Tisi lessens the occurrence of the various menopausal symptoms in women.
Balances Female Hormones Level
- It is very rich source of the phytochemicals which helps in balancing the female hormones thereby reducing the peri-menopausal symptoms and breast cancer.
Benefits of Flax Seeds for Men
- It helps in treating the hypertension by normalizing the blood pressure to a normal level in men.
Reduces Risk of Liver Diseases
- Lignans found in the flaxseed helps in reducing the risk of liver diseases in alcoholic men.
Fights with Cancer
- It helps in fighting against the prostate cancer in men by reducing the rate of cancer cells formation.
Enhances Fat Burning
- It enhances the fat burning process in men by increasing the rate of metabolism.
Improves Blood Flow
- It also helps in keeping the sperm healthy by improving the blood flow to the penis thus reduces the risk of male infertility and impotence. Eating few amounts of roasted linseeds with some black pepper and honey is beneficial for men.
Benefits of Flax Seeds for Children
Provides Nourishment to Brain
- Flax seeds have omega-3 fatty acids which help in nourishing and developing the brain among children. It also prevents from various brain diseases.
- It boosts the immune system and helps in treating fibromyalgia including other immune disorders.
Cures Cough Problem
- It provides help in curing cough problem if roasted linseeds are eaten with honey.
Benefits of Flax Seeds Oil
Treats Various Disorders
- It helps in treating the rheumatoid arthritis, high cholesterol level, atherosclerosis, dry eyes, osteoarthritis, benign prostatic hyperplasia, anxiety, diabetes, vaginal infections, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder and many more.
Prevents from Cancer
- Its laxative property helps in constipation, weight loss and prevents from breast cancer and prostate cancer.
- It is used to directly apply to the skin for soothing and softening proposes.
Prevents from Eye Dryness
- It helps the people suffering from the Sjogren’s syndrome (means dryness of the eyes).
Nourishes Inner Lining of Intestine
- It helps the people suffering from the Crohn’s disease and colitis by nourishing the inner lining of irritated intestine.
Used to Prepare Soft Gel Capsules
- Flaxseed oil is also found in the market in the form of liquid or soft gel capsules as a dietary supplement.
Nutritional Benefits of Flax Seeds/Tisi per 100 g
(Source: USDA Nutrient Database)
Energy: 534 kcal
Carbohydrate: 28.88 g
Sugar: 1.55 g
Dietary fiber: 27.3 g
Total Fat: 42.16 g
Saturated: 3.663 g
Monounsaturated: 7.527 g
Polyunsaturated: 28.730 g
Protein: 18.29 g
Thiamine: 1.644 mg
Riboflavin: 0.161 mg
Niacin: 3.08 mg
Pantothenic acid: 0.985 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.473 mg
Vitamin C: 0.6 mg
Calcium: 255 mg
Potassium: 813 mg
Iron: 5.73 mg
Magnesium: 392 mg
Phosphorus: 642 mg
Zinc: 4.34 mg
Selection and Storage of Flax Seeds
Buy fresh and recently cultivated brown or golden flax seeds from the market. However, brown flax seed is easily available everywhere in the market. It can easily be found on the health food stores or can be ordered online. Always confirm the packet label to get the actual packaging date, ground or whole flaxseed and price.
Grounded flaxseed can be safely preserved for days in the freezer to prevent it from getting oxidized and losing the nutritional strength whereas whole flaxseed can be stored in the plastic sealed bag at room temperature in the cool and dry place for longer time. Vacuum-packed flaxseeds packets are best to buy as it is well protected from the oxidation.
How to Eat/Enjoy Flax Seeds
Flax seeds can be enjoyed by eating in roasted or powdered or oil form. Grounded flaxseeds can be enjoyed by adding it over the hot or cold cereals recipe, cottage cheese, ricotta, yogurt and cooked vegetables. It can also be added to the homemade cookie, muffin, bread or other recipe to enhance the nutritional value of the recipes. Flaxseed oil can be added to the smoothies to enhance its flavor.
Disadvantages, Side Effects and Precautions of Flax Seeds
Eating flaxseeds more than the normal limit has bad effects over the health. Some of the side effects are mentioned below:
- Overdose of the flax seed causes some side effects such as stomachache, abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, flatulence and etc.
- It may cause bowel disorders in some people because of its laxative property.
- Instead of having lots of beneficial health effects, omega-3 fatty acids may slow down the blood clots formation and increase bleeding. It should be avoided with some blood thinning medications such as Coumadin, aspirin, gingko biloba and etc.
- Women with hormonal imbalances (endometriosis) should avoid taking as it may imitate the estrogen’s biological effects.
- It should also be evaded by the pregnant or breastfeeding women.
- It should be avoided while on any oral medications as it slows down the absorption of medicines.
- It should be avoided by the person suffering from the irritable bowel syndrome, bowel obstruction and diverticular disease as it increases the frequency and amount of defecation.
- It has allergic reactions to some people such as stiffness in the throat or chest, breathing problems, chest pain, skin rashes, itching or swelling.
- It may cause intestinal blockage or thyroid problem.
- As it has lots of soluble fibers, it is very necessary to drink plenty of water while eating flax products otherwise it may cause constipation.
- It should be started slowly by the people who are not used to of high-fiber diet.
- To get it’s all the beneficial effects; it is eaten grounded not whole.
How Much Flax Seeds Per Day
Eating flaxseeds are best if taken with food and within limit as anything over the limit cause various health problems. Adult people may consume 1 tsf of the grounded flaxseed daily twice or thrice or 2-4 tsf per day. Children may have 1 tsf of the grounded flaxseed on daily basis. However, it should be properly consulted by the Doctor before going to the daily intake of the flaxseed.
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