Flax Seeds (Alsi) - 6 Health Benefits You Never Knew!
Flax seeds are one of the world’s oldest super foods. They can improve your skin and hair health, keep your heart healthy, fight cancer, lower cholesterol and help you lose weight. Yet, they hardly look impressive. Small and brown with no smell, nobody can guess that they are such reservoirs of nutrients invaluable for our health and well-being.
- Flax seeds are the richest source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids in the world!
- They are the number one source of lignans in our diets.
- They are also storehouse of minerals like manganese, magnesium as well as fibre, protein and vitamin B1.
Health benefits of flax seeds:
- Heart healthy: Omega-3 essential fatty acids are known as 'good' fats that have been shown to have a number of heart healthy effects. Flax seeds can naturally reduce cholesterol levels. This happens because the high fibre content in flax traps cholesterol in the digestive tract so it doesn’t get absorbed. They also prevent hardening of arteries due to deposition of plaque and treat heart arrhythmias.
- Super digestive aids: Fibre in flax seeds helps delay the passage of food through the GI tract. This increases nutrient absorption in the small intestine. Fibre also supports colon detoxification, fat loss and reduces sugar cravings.
- Natural hormones: Lignans are very important plant hormones as well as antioxidants. The lignans in flax have estrogenic properties. After menopause, estrogen levels in women drop to abysmal levels. Use of flax seeds can shore–up estrogen levels and provide protection for bones, heart and other organs. These provide benefits like anti-ageing, hormone balancing and health of body cells. Studies also show that flax can reduce hot flashes experienced during menopause by half. Lignans are also known for their anti-viral and antibacterial properties.
- Flaxseeds are Gluten-free: Most grains we consume are rich in gluten, like wheat. Flax, on the other hand, is low in gluten. This means that flax is anti- inflammatory and reduces inflammation in any part of our body. People suffering from celiac disease and auto-immune diseases can thus include flax in their diet without a problem.
- Most Magnesium-rich food in the world: Magnesium helps in keeping our muscles healthy and its deficiency is the biggest reason for sore muscles, fatigue and cramps.
- Cancer fighter extraordinaire: As per studies, the plant Omega-3 fatty acid found in flaxseed, called ALA, has been shown to inhibit tumour incidence and growth. Flax seeds are also very effective against breast cancer.
Flax seeds by no means are a magic bullet against every disease known to man, but it comes close to being one. If you are thinking of reaping its benefits, use flax seeds as much possible and add them to your curries, soups, smoothies or just roast and eat to experience the flax miracle. If you wish to discuss any specific problem, you can consult an Ayurveda.