Looking for your daily dose of omega-3 fats? Just have a spoonful of flaxseeds each day. Flaxseeds are a super food loaded with fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and essential minerals and vitamins, which are all highly beneficial for the human body. For vegans, flaxseeds are a great source of omega-3 fats, which they might not otherwise gain as a result of their no-meat-and-dairy diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids are needed by the body for healthy cognitive function and good brain development. Since these essential fatty acids are not produced in the human body, they need to be supplemented in our daily diets. Flaxseeds, also known as linseeds, are derived from flax which is one of the oldest types of fiber crops that were mostly grown in ancient China and Egypt.
Why Does your Body Need Flaxseeds?
Being a rich source of manganese, dietary fiber, vitamin B1, and omega-3, flaxseeds are known to bring down the risks of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. The omega-3 fatty acids present in flaxseeds disrupt the growth of malignant cells in the human body. Regular consumption of flaxseeds helps in lowering cholesterol, regulating blood sugar levels, digestion, weight loss, and promotes better hair growth. Flaxseeds prevent one from overeating and binge-eating, since it leaves one feeling full.
There are two types of flaxseeds – golden and brown; both have the same levels of omega-3 fats. These are rich in soluble as well as insoluble fiber. The soluble fiber (by virtue of being water soluble) produces a gel-like component that helps in reducing the blood glucose and cholesterol levels. The insoluble fiber also absorbs water, thus adding bulk to the digestive tract, and promotes the healthy and quick movement of food through the intestines.
How to Get Your Daily Dose of Omega-3 with Flaxseed
What makes flaxseeds highly versatile is that they can be added to different types of foods, be it cereals, salads, cakes, or muffins. They can be roasted and eaten as a mid-day snack as well. It has been observed that even when ground flaxseeds are added to cakes and breads, the heat during baking does not affect their nutritional value. Flaxseeds are especially good for those trying to lose weight, since they help control the appetite. A lot of people prefer taking regular doses of flaxseed oil that is derived from the crushing of flaxseeds. However, ground flaxseeds are by far the best because they are easily absorbed by the body on ingestion.
Consumption of two to four tablespoons of flaxseeds a day is ideal for people to derive their daily dose of omega-3s, dietary fiber, and vitamins and minerals. However, excessive quantities of this should be avoided because the high fiber content in flaxseeds may lead to temporary side effects such as flatulence, diarrhea, nausea, bloating, and even stomach pain.
Sanjana Roy is a content writer with Transparency Market Research, a market intelligence firm based in the U.S. While her job profile entails writing on various global industry segments, her area of interest is food and beverages. She is especially interested in exploring trend-setting ideas that will define the food industry of the future, with a focus on health issues, new consumption trends and patterns, and the “food culture” that prevails today.