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Properties of flaxseed

When I was still working in a pharmacy and then in an herb store, I was surprised to see that a lot of older people were buying flaxseed. At the time I treated it as a boring product for seniors, but after a closer look, I saw that it is a real superfood.

What properties can be found in flaxseed?

Flaxseed contains a lot of fiber, polyenic acids and lignans. 

Fiber is very important for maintaining normal intestinal peristalsis (prevents constipation), and the "modern", western diet, contains very little of it. One teaspoon of flax seeds provides 3 grams of fiber, which is about 10 percent of the daily requirement for this nutrient. Soluble fiber slows the digestive process and reduces the absorption of nutrients from food. It lowers cholesterol and regulates blood sugar. Research has shown that just one teaspoon of fiber a day can increase the level of the "good" HDL cholesterol by 12%.

If your diet was previously low in fiber, start with small portions of it and increase it over time.

Polyenic acids are the same healthy fats found in olive oil and fish. Omega-3 fatty acids protect blood vessels from cholesterol, reduce the risk of inflammation, and have anti-cancer effects.

On the website of one of Polish cardiologists, I found information that flaxseed is a much better choice than flaxseed oil because it is absorbed into the body in a more natural way.

Lignans resemble the structure of female hormones. Most of these substances can be found in the outer layer of flaxseeds. They have a number of positive effects, they are reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer and osteoporosis. Interestingly, they have positive effects for both men and women.

The flaxseed is the richest source of lignans in the plant world, and soy also has similar properties.

Flax seeds also contain protein. Animal studies have shown that the amino acids in flaxseed protein have a positive effect on immunity, prevent cancer and have antifungal properties. 

Flaxseed can be a good choice for women who have skin, hair and nail problems. Dry skin or hair loss can be caused by deficiencies of vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids, which you can find in flax.

Flaxseed provides vitamins and minerals and is also quite caloric. If you're on a diet, defatted flaxseed may be a better option. Due to its high nutritional value, flaxseed can be an interesting choice for people who struggle to abstain from unhealthy snacks between meals. 

How to use flaxseed?

Many people simply buy whole flax seeds and pour boiling water over them for 15 minutes to several hours. Then in the morning you should drink the liquid and eat the seeds. The liquid prepared this way contains a lot of mucous substances that protect the digestive system, so this method is a popular traditional way to provide relief from heartburn, ulcers or an irritated throat.

Ground flaxseed can be added in small amounts to meals (salads, soups), which will enrich them with valuable nutrients. The question is, whether it is better to buy ground flaxseed, or grind it in a mill? I found on the Internet that it is better to buy whole seeds and grind a small portion immediately before use. This way, you will retain more nutritional value. For grinding you can use a grinder or mortar.

If you prefer convenience and buy ground seeds, try to buy them in small packets and store them in a cool place.

I recently came across a mix of ground flax seeds with added fiber and calcium in one of the markets. But it seems to me that a better solution is to buy flax and grind it at home, or just buy already ground seeds without additives. It will be cheaper then. 

Remember that flaxseed should never be heated, because it leads to destruction of its properties.