Written by Deepti Khanuja
Obesity has become a major health concern leading to various degenerative conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Hence weight loss is gaining a lot of importance not just to achieve good health but mental well-being too. And flax seed is that one superfood which seems to address this problem in a very focussed manner.
Also known as linseed, it is a nutrient-dense and fibre-rich crop with multiple uses. Flax is grown for its seeds, which can be ground into flax seed meal, pressed into an oil, or spun into linen.
IMPACT ON WEIGHT LOSS
Flax seeds aid in weight loss as they are rich in fibre and, therefore, lend satiety besides spacing out your hunger pangs. This helps suppress one’s desire to eat, thus cutting calories for weight loss. Additionally, the digestive tract is stimulated by foods rich in fibre and helps take care of medical issues like constipation. Eating fibres is essential to moving food through your intestines and keeping your colon free of obstructions. It’s also instrumental in stabilising blood sugar and, cumulatively, helps you reach a healthy weight.
Flax seeds are also packed with Omega-3 chain fatty acids, which have proven health benefits. Although their impact on weight loss is still unclear and more studies are needed, they have been shown to reduce inflammation (which can contribute to heart disease), fight autoimmune diseases and reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Flax seeds are rich in lignin (a complex polymer that’s found in the cell walls of plants) which gives plants their stiff or woody texture. Recent research has found that this component of flax seeds not just helps with weight loss but might also reduce blood pressure and support kidney health. Its estrogen-like properties and antioxidant properties might lower the risk of cancer.
Flax is a good source of protein, which takes a long time to digest, and is full of amino acids that are essential in cell repair and muscle growth. By consuming more protein, you will feel fuller longer, have fewer cravings and develop muscle strength as an Indian diet is low in protein components.
HOW TO CONSUME FLAX SEEDS
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To get full benefits of flax seeds, you should grind them before consumption because your digestive tract won’t be able to digest through the seeds’ protective outer layer. So, if you eat them whole, you won’t be able to extract many nutrients. Drink a lot of water when adding flax seeds to your diet. For the fibre to do its job, it needs water to move it through your digestive system.
The simplest way to incorporate flax seeds into your diet is by adding a teaspoon of ground flax seeds to six and eight ounces of hot water. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to give the water some flavour and a little boost of vitamin C.
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It can be powdered and added to soups, smoothies, yogurts and cereals. It can also be consumed in the form of chutneys or as laddoos. It can be added in bakery products like cakes and cookies. Although flax seeds are helpful in weight loss along with various health benefits, one cannot just be relying on one single special food as changing your body condition. It has to be backed up by a lifestyle which includes a balanced diet with at least half- an-hour to 45 minutes of physical activity.