Flaxseed Health Benefits & Side Effects

Now a day’s food is not only synonymous to satisfy hunger but becomes an important representative of staying mentally and physically healthy. Healthy food is a wise choice which saves us from many nutritional related diseases and keeps in controlling certain lifestyle-related diseases like diabetes blood pressure etc.

Constituents of Flaxseed

Flaxseed or Linseed (Linum usitatissimmum) is rich in α-linolenic acid (ALA), lignans, protein, and dietary fiber. Per 100 g of flaxseed according to National nutrient database (1) contains the following constituents

S.No.

Nutrient

Value per 100g

1.

Energy 534 Kcal

2.

Protein

18.29 g

3.

Total lipid

42.16 g

4.

Carbohydrate 28.88 g

5.

Fiber, total dietary

27.3 g

6.

Total Sugar 1.55 g

7.

α-linolenic acid

22.8 g

8. Calcium, Ca

255 mg

9. Iron, Fe

5.73 mg

10.

Magnesium, Mg 392 mg

11.

Phosphorus, P 642 mg
12. Potassium, K

813 mg

13. Thiamine

1.644 mg

14.

Niacin 3.08 mg
15. Vitamin D

0.31 mg

16. Vitamin E

0.31 mg

Health benefits of Flax Seeds

1. Reduce cardiovascular diseases

Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3-fatty acid which contains three types of fatty acid namely linolenic acid (LA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These three fatty acids majorly reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases (2).

2. Reduce blood lipid

According to a study (3), it was found that when 12g omega-3-fatty acid was taken three times a day in the form of flaxseed oil and flaxseed flour supplemented products showed a reduction in blood lipids in young women.

3. Reduces hypertension

Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3-fatty acids helps in reduction in hypertension by controlling cholesterol and triglyceride level compared to soy protein and casein protein (4).

4. Prevents colon cancer

According to studies (5) done on mice, it was proved that flaxseed oil is responsible for preventing colon cancer by suppressing colon tumor development. As flax is gluten-free, people who are sensitive to gluten can enjoy flax in their diets (Morris, 2003).

5. Rich source of dietary fiber

Flaxseeds are rich in soluble and insoluble dietary fiber around 28%. Per 100 g of flaxseed contains 30 g insoluble dietary fiber and 10 g soluble dietary fiber. A diet rich in dietary fiber helps in the reduction of risks related to heart diseases, obesity, diabetes, inflammation and cancer (5).

6. Helps in digestion – Increase bile movement

Flaxseeds due to its high dietary fiber help in increasing bile movement therefore also act as a laxative. The insoluble and soluble fiber adds bulk to the waste products hence increasing the gastrointestinal movement (5).

7. High lignan of flax seed as an antioxidant

Flaxseeds are the richest source of lignan particularly secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG). The lignan present in flaxseed acts as an antioxidant by preventing oxygen radical formation and therefore ultimately helps in prevention against cancer.

8. Antidiabetic

Lignan and isoflavones present in flax seeds help in controlling type 2 diabetes without affecting fasting glucose, insulin sensitivity. lignan and isoflavones for bioavailability when measured by the excretion concentrations.

9. Gluten free

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and oats. Certain people are sensitive to gluten. Consuming gluten contains food rises a condition where the mucosal lining of the gastrointestinal tract gets irritated and hence results in inflammation known as chronic inflammation disorder or celiac disease. Flaxseed is the best alternative source for those people who have this disease (6).

10. Lowers cholesterol level

According to a study done by the Consumption of flax seeds helps in lowering the serum lipid cholesterol by 9%. (7). In another study, it was found that flax seeds when consumed with sunflower oil helps in cholesterol reduction in hypercholesteremic rats compared with hard fat diets (8).

The side effect of Flaxseed

 Flaxseed contains hydrogen cyanide although it is far below the estimated toxic level. But it was recommended that an individual should take not beyond 1-2 tablespoon of flaxseed per day. And roasting of flax seed is also recommended in order to eliminate cyanogenic glycosides (9).

References:

  1. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3716
  2. Hurteau, M.C. 2004. Unique new food products contain good omega fats. Journal of Food Science Education 3 (4): 52-53.
  3. Nettleton, J. 2003. Collected Recommendations for LCPUFA Intake. PUFA Newsletter. Downloaded from http:www.fatsoflife.com/wp-content/uploads/pdfs/ PUFA0903.pdf on 4/6/2012
  4. Oomah, B.D. and Mazza, G. 1998. Flaxseed products for disease prevention. In Mazza, G. (Ed). Functional Foods: Biochemical and Processing Aspects. p. 91- 138. Lancaster, PA: Technomic Publication Company Inc.
  5. Ganorkar, P. M. and Jain, R. K./IFRJ 20(2): 519-525
  6. Pan et al 2007; Effects of a Flaxseed-Derived Lignan Supplement in Type 2 Diabetic Patients: A Randomized, Double-Blind, CrossOver Trial. Plos One; issue 11; e1148.
  7. Cunnane, S.C., Ganguli, S. and Menard, C. 1993. High α-linolenic acid flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum): Some nutritional properties in humans. British Journal of Nutrition 69 (2): 443–453.
  8. Ranhotra, G.S., Gelroth, J.A. and Glaser, B.K. 1992. Lipidemic response to rats fed flaxseed or sunflower oils. Cereal Chemistry 69 (6): 623–625.
  9. Roseling, H. 1994. Measuring effects in humans of dietary cyanide exposure to sublethal cyanogens from Cassava in Africa. Acta Horticulturae No.375 : 271–283.

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