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FLAXSEED: Nutrition, Benefits, How to Eat & Risks

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Flaxseed is one of the richest sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseed contains the right amount of fiber, protein, antioxidants, lignans, omega-3 fatty acids and a number of vitamins and minerals, that offer excellent benefits to your health, skin, and hair.

Nutrition Facts of Flaxseed

The usual serving size of ground flaxseed is 2 tablespoons (tbsp). That serving includes:

  • 80 calories
  • 3 grams (g) protein (6 percent daily value, or DV)
  • 4 g carbohydrate (1.33 percent DV)
  • 6 g fat (9.23 percent DV). Flaxseed is one of the best sources of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
  • 4 g fiber (16 percent DV)
  • 100 milligram (mg) phosphorus (8 percent DV)
  • 60 mg magnesium (14.28 percent DV)
  • 120 mg potassium (2.55 percent DV)

According to the USDA’s National Nutrient Database, two tablespoons of whole/unground flaxseed (considered about one serving) contains about:

  • 110 calories
  • 6 grams carbohydrates
  • 4 grams protein
  • 8.5 grams fat
  • 6 grams fiber
  • 0.6-milligram manganese (26 percent DV)
  • 0.4-milligram thiamine/vitamin B1 (22 percent)
  • 80 milligrams magnesium (20 percent DV)
  • 132 milligrams phosphorus (14 percent DV)
  • 0.2-milligram copper (12 percent DV)
  • 5 milligrams selenium (8 percent DV)

Flaxseeds also contain a good amount of vitamin B6, folate, iron, potassium, and zinc.

Health Benefits of Flaxseed

1. High in Fiber and Low in Carb

Flax is high in both soluble and insoluble fiber and low in carbohydrates thus it helps in colon detoxification, reduces sugar cravings and might help in fat loss.

2. Helps in Lowering Cholesterol

The fiber, phytosterols, and omega-3 acids present in flaxseed help to boost heart health and help treat hyperlipidemia by increasing the amount of fat excreted through bowel movements.

3. Helps make Skin and Hair Healthy

The alpha-linolenic acid present in flaxseed helps to improve the skin and hair health by providing essential fatty acids and vitamin B.

4. Supports Digestive Health

The high fiber content in flax helps to improve the digestive health by maximizing the absorption of nutrients. Due to its high fiber content flax is considered as one of the best natural remedies for constipation.

5. Flaxseed may Help Prevent Cancer

Consuming flaxseeds may be able to help prevent certain types of cancer including colon, breast, prostate, and ovarian cancer.

6. Helps Decrease Hormonal Imbalance and Menopausal Symptoms

The estrogenic properties of lignans found in flaxseed can be used for balancing hormones or an alternative to hormone replacement therapy. It can also help menstruating women help regulate their cycle.

7. Flaxseed may Help in Weight Loss

Consuming flaxseed keep you satiated for longer as it is full of healthy fats and fiber thereby making you consume less overall calories and promoting weight loss.

8. Rich Source of Antioxidants

Flaxseeds are packed with antioxidants specifically lignan that helps to reduce free-radical damage. Thus flax has hormonal balancing, cellular regenerating and anti-aging effects.

9. Gluten-free

Since flax is gluten-free, it can be easily metabolized and also has anti-inflammatory properties. Flaxseed is a really good option for people who have gluten sensitivity.

10. High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Flaxseed is rich in omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid which helps to reduce the risk of hypertension and heart disease, improve platelet function, and reduce inflammation.

How to Eat Flaxseed

Here are a few simple ideas to up your flaxseed intake:

  • Adding them to water and drinking it as part of your daily fluid intake
  • Drizzling flaxseed oil as a dressing on the salad
  • Sprinkling ground flax seeds over your hot or cold breakfast cereal
  • Mixing them into your favorite yogurt
  • Adding them into cookie, muffin, bread or other batters
  • Mixing them into smoothies to thicken up the consistency
  • Adding them to water as an egg substitute
  • Incorporating them into meat patties

Potential Side-effects of Flaxseed

When you start consuming flaxseed you might experience some of these potential side-effects:

  • Bloating and gas
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Lower Blood Pressure
  • Loose stools
  • Slow Down Blood Clotting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Issues During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
  • Potentially hormonal changes if you consume large amounts

Take Home Message

Flaxseeds, contain the omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid, protein, fiber, minerals like magnesium and phosphorus, and antioxidants called lignans. Flaxseed offers numerous health benefits some of which are helping improve digestion, giving you clearer skin, lowering cholesterol, reducing sugar cravings, balancing hormones, helping with weight loss, treating constipation and helping fight cancer. Use ground sprouted flaxseeds for the maximum benefits. Consume about two to three tablespoons of whole or ground flaxseeds daily, or have about one to two teaspoons of flaxseed oil.

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