Flax seeds or linseeds are called Alsi in Hindi. These are a very good source of Dietary fibre,manganese, vitamin B1, and the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, also called ALA orOmega-3 fatty acids.
Flax seeds are not only a source of healthy fat, antioxidants, and fiber; research has found evidence that flaxseed can also help lower the risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
When flax seeds are taken before meal, they make you feel less hungry and thus help in limiting your diet to reduce weight. These seeds bind with cholesterol in the intestine and prevent it from being absorbed.
Flax seeds are broken down by the body into chemicals called lignans . Dietary Lignans are similar to that is similar in action to that of the female hormone- estrogens.
1)Lowering Cholestrol Levels : These seeds are shown to lower the high cholesterol and lower the BP also if taken on a regular basis.
2)Protection against Cancer: Consuming flax seeds may help protect
against prostate, colon, and breast cancer . Flax seeds have the property to
prevent the growth of cancer cells because its omega-3 fatty acids prevent
malignant cells from sticking to other body cells. In addition to it , the
lignans in flax seeds have anti-angiogenic properties - that stop tumors from
forming new blood vessels.
One U.S. study has established that consuming flaxseed can stop prostate cancer tumours from growing.
3)Osteoprosis: Flax seeds lower the risk of getting bones weaker.
4)Used in Diabetes and controlling Obesity: It is established that consuming flaxseed daily improves the glycemic control in obese men and women having pre diabetes .
5) Flax seeds are also helpful in IBS and Ulcerative Colitis.
ALA and lignans in flax seeds may reduce the inflammation that accompanies certain illnesses ,such asParkinson's disease and asthma. It does so by helping block the release of certain pro-inflammatory agent .
It has been established by research that ALA helps to decrease inflammatory reactions in human beings.
A study of menopausal women has reported that 1 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds mixed with cereal, juice, or curd/ yogurt two times a day reduces their hot flashes by 50%. The intensity of their hot flashes also dropped by about 60%. The women noticed a difference after taking the daily powdered flaxseeds for one week and achieved the maximum benefits within two weeks.
Note - Flax seeds if not chewed properly would render no benefits to your body,. This is one of the biggest reason why many like to soak it before consuming or simply have it in the ground or powdered form.
Way to consume Flax seeds : Simple way to consume flax is to roast them on slow to medium heat. Treating it in high temperature has a bad effect on its omega -3 contents. Grind them coarse in a mixer grinder. Store it in a air tight jar.
Point to consider: Flax demands a lot of water intake due to its high fiber content . So drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water daily after consuming flax.
Question : which is the best season to eat it?
Ans : As per Ayurveda Flax is hot in nature and as such should not be consumed in high quantity during summers, especially in places where summer season comes with high temperature. However 1 tsp a day with normal water is acceptable and does not seem to have any adverse effects on health in any weather.
There is not too much research on harmful effects of flax seeds but still,pregnant women should take precaution and avoid consuming flaxseeds because of its estrogens-like properties which may affect pregnancy outcome. In addition to it, people suffering from a bowel obstruction should avoid flaxseed as it has high fibre contents.
Dr. Suman Setia BAMS DNHE PGDHHM
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