Flaxseeds are found in everything from smoothies to oatmeal to crackers to frozen yogurt. This superfood does the body good. But you may not know why it's been touted as one of the most powerful foods on the planet.
Learn more about why you should eat flaxseeds. Speak with your health care professional before adding flaxseeds to your diet.
They contain fiber.
Flaxseeds contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) blood cholesterol levels (that's the unhealthy type). Plus, it decreases how quickly foods are absorbed into your body. So, you'll feel fuller longer and have better blood sugar control. You're more likely to avoid overeating when you're satisfied. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool. That helps what's in the gastrointestinal system move through efficiently, which is helpful if you're constipated. Start your day with these flaxseed-full pancakes.
They contain omega-3s.
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid that helps stabilize cholesterol levels and fight inflammation. A tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of omega-3s. Plus, omega-3s can help improve your mood and reduce inflammation. Inflammation can lead to obesity, chronic illnesses and heart disease. Flaxseeds are a good source of omega-3s, especially for people who are vegetarians or don't eat fish. Eat this flaxseed-loaded porridge for breakfast.
They contain protein.
Protein helps keep bones and muscles strong. And that helps raise your cognitive function, keeping you focused and alert. Substitute ground flaxseed for flour in quick bread, muffin, roll, bread, bagel, pancake and waffle recipes.
They contain lots of antioxidants.
Flaxseeds are high in lignans, containing much more than many other plant foods. That type of antioxidant helps fight chronic illnesses. Plus, it helps fight wrinkles, lines and other signs of aging. Get some flaxseed into your day by stirring a few tablespoons into foods like smoothies, soups, yogurts or oatmeal.
They may help improve cholesterol.
A study found that in people with high cholesterol, consuming three tablespoons of flaxseed powder a day for three months lowered their total cholesterol by 17 percent and LDL levels by almost 20 percent. Thanks to the fiber in flaxseeds, it binds to bile salt and is then excreted by the body. To replenish this bile salt, cholesterol is pulled from your blood into your liver. That lowers your cholesterol levels.
They may lower blood pressure.
Supplementing your diet with flaxseed may decrease blood pressure. A study found that eating 30 grams of flaxseeds daily for six months lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. And for those taking blood pressure medications already, flaxseeds lower blood pressure even further. Because flaxseed may decrease blood pressure, speak with your health care professional before consuming flaxseed if you're taking blood pressure–lowering medication.