What Are Flaxseeds?
Flaxseeds are tiny, sesame seed-shaped seeds of the flax plant. They are also known as linseeds.
Scientifically, flaxseeds are called Linum usitatissimum (meaning, “very useful” in Latin), and they are either golden or amber-colored.
Flaxseeds have a robust, bright, and soft outer covering. They do not have a distinguished smell or taste. You can readily find them at a local supermarket in whole and ground forms.
Flaxseeds are little brown or golden seeds. They have a smooth and hard outer covering and can be found in supermarkets in whole and ground forms.
How do flaxseeds aid weight loss?
Omega-3 And ALA Lower Inflammation
This, in turn, decreases the risks of inflammation-induced obesity. Omega-3 and ALA are healthy fats present generously in flaxseeds.
They support to balance the omega-3 and omega-6 ratio, limiting the penetration of proinflammatory cytokines. Proinflammatory cytokines induce central obesity.
Hence, devouring flaxseeds can help decrease the chance of fat gain, particularly in the belly region.
Dietary Fiber Increases Satiety
Dietary fiber is a type of carbohydrate that humans cannot digest. Flaxseeds are packed with mucilage gums (soluble fiber) and lignin and cellulose (insoluble fiber).
The soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance, which slows down the absorption of food in the digestive tract. This, in turn, makes you feel full for a long time.
The bacteria then digest the soluble fiber and produce short-chain fatty acids. These short-chain fatty acids help improve your metabolic rate. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, adds bulk to the stool, which helps counteract constipation by promoting bowel emptying.
Lignans Flush Out Toxins
These toxins help lessen stress and inflammation in the body. Flaxseeds contain about 800 times more lignans than other plants. These phenolic compounds act as antioxidants that help scavenge free oxygen radicals.
The free oxygen radicals stimulate the pro-inflammatory molecules and/or change the DNA structure. This might lead to inflammation and a steady stress state in the body. A constant state of inflammation and stress causes obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes.
Proteins Help Build Muscles
This helps boost metabolism. Flaxseeds are rich in proteins, and 100 g of flaxseeds contains about 18 g of protein. Muscles are made of protein.
Consuming flaxseeds aids build muscle fibers. Muscles are where more mitochondria are present (cell organelles that help convert glucose to ATP). Improved muscle tone assists increase the number of mitochondria, thereby giving your metabolism the much-needed boost.
Low In Calories
You can simply create a calorie deficit, giving your body a chance to use the stored glycogen and fat. A tablespoon of ground flaxseeds contains 73 calories.
Fewer calories in and more calories out creates a negative energy balance. This is one of the weight loss strategies (not the only strategy, though). Thus, you can lose weight without feeling hungry.
The low-calorie flaxseeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, ALA, proteins, dietary fiber, and antioxidants. They may aid weight loss by boosting metabolism, improving digestion, reducing inflammation, and increasing satiety.
How To Eat Flaxseeds
You can use whole or ground flaxseeds. Here are a few creative ways to add them to your diet:
- Baked foods
- Chicken or fish
- Meatballs or burgers
You can add flaxseeds to any food to lose weight.
Flaxseed Powder Or Whole Flaxseeds?
For weight loss, flaxseed powder or ground flaxseeds work the best. Grinding flaxseeds helps separate the hull and the inner protein-rich seed part.
The hull is usually rich in oils and dietary fiber. Both are good for human consumption. But grinding it makes it easy to digest.
You may choose just the protein part or both to fine-tune your flaxseed intake to lose weight.
Ground flaxseeds are easy to digest. You can go for just the protein part or both the protein and dietary fiber parts of the seed.
Is Flaxseed Oil Good For Weight Loss?
Yes, flaxseed oil is good for weight loss.
- Healthy Fat – Flaxseed oil (or linseed oil) is a reservoir of omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
- Relieves Constipation – This oil has laxative properties that might help you if you experience constipation regularly. It helps improve bowel movement, which helps support proper digestion.
- Reduces Inflammation– Flaxseed oil also helps reduce C reactive proteins. This is good news for you as lower the inflammation, better the chances of losing weight!
Flaxseed oil does aid weight loss. But do not heat it for cooking purposes. You may use it as salad dressing and in dips and shakes.
Other Health Benefits Of Flaxseeds
- Lowers LDL Cholesterol: Omega-3 and dietary fiber help improve heart health by reducing LDL or bad cholesterol.
- May Prevent Constipation: Dietary fiber helps add bulk to the stool, which makes bowel movement easy.
- Boosts Immunity: The antioxidants present in flaxseeds help boost your immunity, protect from microbial infections, and may decrease the risk of breast cancer.
- Anti-inflammatory: Flaxseeds possess anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe joint pain and headache and reduce swelling.
- May Reduce Androgen Levels: Hormonal imbalance and poor lifestyle cause PCOS in women. Flaxseeds may help reduce androgen levels and PCOS symptoms like hirsutism.
- Antidepressant: Flaxseeds may help improve mood and reduce depression.
- Gluten-Free: Flaxseeds are gluten-free. Hence, if you are gluten sensitive, you can use flaxseeds as a substitute for gluten-containing foods, such as wheat, flour, etc.
Flaxseeds are called superfoods because they are gluten-free and help reduce weight, improve heart and mental health, reduce the symptoms of PCOS, and may decrease the risk of breast cancer.
Who Should Avoid Flaxseeds?
- Do not consume flaxseeds if you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
- Flaxseeds act as laxatives and can irritate the colon walls, leading to inflammation and even bleeding.
- Be careful if you are experiencing hormonal imbalances or endometriosis as flaxseeds can mimic the action of estrogen.
- Do not consume flaxseeds if you are pregnant or lactating.
- Avoid consuming them if you are on blood-thinning medication as flaxseeds slow down blood clotting.
Avoid consuming flaxseeds if you have IBS, IBD, or endometriosis, are pregnant or lactating, and/or on blood-thinning medication.
Precautions And Tips
- Talk to your doctor before consuming flaxseeds for weight loss.
- Avoid consuming flaxseeds if you have an upset stomach.
- Consume 1-2 tablespoons of flaxseeds per day. Do not overdose on flaxseeds to lose weight quickly.
Flaxseeds are amazing for weight loss and overall health. But, you also need to monitor what you eat and workout regularly. Keep up the enthusiasm and motivation and start using flaxseeds today.