What is Flax seed?
Flax (Linum usitassimum), ಅಗಸೆಬೀಜಗಳು (Kannada), अंबाडीबियाणे (Marathi), पटसनकेबीज (Hindi)is a blue flowering annual herb that produces small flat seeds varying from golden yellow to reddish brown colour. Flaxseed possesses crispy texture and nutty taste. Flaxseed is also known as linseed. The important flaxseed growing countries include India, China, United States, Canada and Ethiopia.
It has emerged as an attractive nutritional food because of its exceptionally high content of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), dietary fiber, high quality protein and phytoestrogens. Flaxseeds contain about 55 % ALA, 28–30 % protein and 35 % fiber
By products of Flax seeds
Four common forms of flaxseed available for human consumption include whole flaxseed, ground flaxseed, flaxseed oil and partially defatted flaxseed meal. A new form available in the marketplace is flax “milk”. An alternative to “milks” like almond milk, flax milk is finely milled flaxseed mixed with filtered water and other minor compounds. Flax milk is high in ALA and is an excellent alternative to dairy milk, as it has no cholesterol or lactose. It is suitable for people allergic to soy, nuts and gluten, and it contains more health benefits than almond milk.
Grounded Flax seed is better:
Most nutrition experts recommend ground over whole flaxseed because the ground form is easier to digest. Whole flaxseed may pass through your intestine undigested, which means you will not get all the benefits.
Health benefits of flax-seed • Useful in the treatment of constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and diverticular disease. • Regulates the blood glucose level & blood pressure. • Helpful in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.• Reduces cholesterol to a large extent• Beneficial for the prevention of obesity in both men and women
How much flax-seed to be taken:
Usually, 15-20 gms (1-2 tea spoon) of flax seeds in grounded form is recommended. It is advised to drink plenty of water when eating flax-seeds. Ground flaxseed is easier to digest than whole seeds. It also ensures the nutrients are more easily absorbed by the body. Flax-seed chutney with garlic and chilli powder is very famous in North Karnataka & parts of Maharashtra.
Scientific studies favour Flax Seed Consumption1. Studies suggests the decrease in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Both brachial and central blood pressures were significantly reduced by dietary flaxseed used in this trial. In the double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized Flax PAD Trial, PAD patients fed 30 g of milled flaxseed every day for 6 months exhibited significant decreases in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
2. Flaxseed supplementation reduced blood glucose in subjects with type 2 diabetes and lowered blood glucose in subjects with prediabetes. Flaxseed derived gum and lignan supplement also decreased blood glucose in subjects with Type 2 diabetes. Pre-clinical studies have reported anti-hyperglycemic effects of the flaxseed lignan SDG in animals with Type I diabetes. 3. In both experimental animal studies and in human trials, dietary flaxseed has significant protective effects against breast cancer. A systematic review of 10 human trials led to the conclusion that flaxseed reduced tumour growth in women with breast cancer. The evidence in support of flax-associated protection against primary breast cancer as well as a reduced risk of mortality in women living with breast cancer.
Ref: 1. Priyanka Kajla, Alka Sharma,Dev Raj Flaxseed—a potential functional food source Journal of food science & technology 2015 Apr; 52(4): 1857–1871.2. TaherehT , etal Effects of flaxseed on blood pressure, body mass index, and total cholesterol in hypertensive patients: A randomized clinical trial online Elsevier 24 May, 2021