Flax seed. Some of you might ever hear it, but some of you don’t. You might hear about the other famous wonder food, chia seeds. Flax seeds are also called superfood, some even called it the most powerful plant foods on the planet. You are probably wondering, is it possible that these tiny little seeds contain so much power? Is it worthy to called flax seeds as a superfood?
Let’s find out below!
What is Flax Seed and what’s special about it?
Flax seeds come from a plant called Linumusitatissimum. Its name refers to its health benefits, meaning the most useful. It was found in early 3000 B.C in Egypt, and. Making it one of the oldest fiber crops known in the world. Based on everydayhealth.com, flax seeds were first found in Egypt. We can use the seed or the oil to make medicine nowadays. But did you know that flaxseed was used to produce clothing when the plant first came to North America?
Flax seeds are known to offer health benefits based on:
- Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids. It is good for the heart to help raise HDL cholesterol and protects against heart attack and stroke.
- Lignans. Similar to estrogen hormones. It has antioxidant properties to lower the risk of cancer and improve health. Flax seeds contain up to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods. Studies have shown that women who eat flax seeds are 18% less likely to develop breast cancer.
- Dietary Fibers. Found in the seed coat. If you take it before a meal, it will make you feel less hungry. Therefore, you might eat less food. Fiber also useful for preventing constipation and for your digestive health.
One tablespoon of ground flax seeds contains 37 calories, 1.3gr protein, 2gr carbs, 1.9gr fibers, and 1,597 mg omega 3 fatty acids. This is considered high, and if you are vegetarian or if you don’t eat fish, this can be your best source of omega 3 fats!
What are health benefits that flax seeds offer?
- Lower Blood Pressure. Studies have shown Flax seeds is proven to lower blood pressure and LDL levels.
- Control Blood Sugar. Lignans could reduce the risk of diabetes because it could lower glucose and insulin levels.
- Cancer Protection. MCT states that Omega 3 in flax seeds could disrupt the growth of cancer cells.
- Radiation Protection. Lignans found to make radiation victim had less inflammation and better survival rate.
- Improve Kidney Function for SLE. Flaxseeds could improve kidney function in people with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus(SLE), an autoimmune disorder.
Flax Seeds VS Chia Seeds
After reading all the things above, you are probably wondering what is different between Flax Seeds and Chia Seeds. Perhaps which one is better? To answer the question here is some facts between the two of them:
In appearance, flax seeds are flatter and bigger and has a brown or golden color. While chia seeds are black tiny oval shaped seeds.
In the taste, flax seeds have nutty flavor while chia seeds have a more neutral flavor.
Overall, what flax seeds offer is somewhat similar to chia seeds. Chia seeds also contain omega 3 fatty acids, fibers and antioxidant. However, flax is a better source of ALA than chia seeds. One ounce of flaxseeds contains 6,000mg ALA, while chia seeds only have 4,900mg.
Nutritionally, protein and potassium levels are pretty similar. But chia seeds shave slightly fewer calories, carbohydrate, and fiber than flaxseeds. Chia also wins in the calcium department, because they contain more calcium rather than flax seeds. But, flax seed contains more omega 3 fatty acids.
Both also offer to lower the risk of heart disease because they contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Both also contain a good amount of fiber that can lower blood sugar levels. However, flax seeds might be more effective to reduce the risk of cancer, as flax seeds contain 15 times higher level of lignans, a specific type antioxidant to fight cancer.
How To Eat Flax Seeds and How Much You Should Eat in a Day?
You can eat flax seeds raw, or crushed, or cold-pressed to release the oil. You can add it to your food or drinks. Maybe starting in your juice, or cereal, or bread. However, remember to find what you like because most of the times, supermarket sell whole flaxseed. But you probably want to ground it before eating as its easier to digest.
If you choose to pick ground flax seeds but can’t find it anywhere, don’t worry because you can just buy the whole flax seeds and grind it yourself in your coffee machine!
You are recommended to consume it 1-2 tablespoons of seeds daily. And it is better to consume them ground because it will increase the absorption of nutrients when they are in your intestines. Just soak them in warm water for 10 minutes or soak it overnight to make a pudding.
To make sure your flax seeds have a long shelf life, remember to store it in the refrigerator to make it fresh longer, because flax seeds are sensitive to heat and sunlight, and spoils quickly.
So, which one is better? Flax seeds or chia seeds? Well, the answer is… it’s based on what you need! If you are in need for omega 3, then go for flax seeds. But if you need more calcium or fiber, go for chia seeds. Both of them have a place for a healthy diet. They got something worth to offer. In my honest opinion, both of these tiny seeds offer so much benefit for our health, they are worthy to be called superfood!
However, consuming something too much is not good for your health. So, be aware of this. You might experience some of these side effects when you first consume flax, abdominal discomfort such as bloating and gas, or potentially hormonal changes if you consume it too much. Too much flaxseed could also lead to nausea or constipation.
And note that when you consume it, don’t forget to drink plenty of water. And it should not be taken the same day you take your pills or dietary supplements.
Flax seeds act as a blood thinner, so if you are taking any blood thinners medication, you should consider not to consume it. To make sure, ask your doctor!
Co-founder and Head of Marketing for HoneyCity. Henry’s passion is building e-commerce businesses that create value for the society. Through his interactions with people around him, he realizes that there is a lack in understanding of how to improve health through food and that idea gave birth to HoneyCity. In his free time, he enjoys watching a movie or reading a book.