Flaxseed is an amazing nutrient-packed superfood and the one preventative solution to most of your health problems.
Flaxseeds are consumed in many ways. Whole, milled and roasted seeds as well as flaxseed oil and flour are available. You can also incorporate flaxseeds into your everyday recipes to get incredible flaxseeds health benefits.
Here is a list of the scientifically proven health benefits of flaxseeds and flaxseed products, along with a delicious tongue-tickling flaxseed sweet recipe, loved by all.
Flaxseed is sweet and bitter in taste, unctuous and its post digestive effect is pungent. Its potency is hot, and it keeps a check on Vata, Pitta and Kapha Dosha. It promotes strength and acts as an analgesic, diuretic and carminative (vata hara). Flax seed oil mitigates Vata dosha, has wound healing effects and relieves skin diseases. It may also have a diarrheal effect in some people.
Flaxseed oil is a rich source of essential fatty acids (EFAs) including linoleic acid (ω-6) and α-linolenic acid (ω-3), which regulates prostaglandin synthesis inducing wound healing.
In the Middle ages, flaxseed oil was administered as a diuretic for the treatment of kidney disorders. Flaxseed was recommended as an anti-tumoral (in combination with sweet clover), pain and cough relieving, and anti-inflammatory remedy. It was also used for the treatment of freckles (in a mixture with soda and figs) and nail disorders (with garden cress and honey).
In addition to nutritional benefits, flaxseeds have other potential health benefits. Flaxseeds are high in omega 3 alpha-linolenic acid. They are also rich in dietary soluble and insoluble fiber. And due to their high content of lignans, they act as antioxidants and phytoestrogens.
Alpha linolenic acid metabolized in the body into docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (omega 3) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) (omega 3). The health benefits of all omega 3 fatty acids (ALA, EPA and DHA) are reported for several conditions including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, atherosclerosis, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, autoimmune disorders and neurological disorders.
Flaxseed has also been reported to act as an anti-arrhythmic, anti-atherogenic, anti oxidant and anti-inflammatory agent in addition to improving vascular function.
In the treatment of diabetes mellitus, dietary fiber, lignans, and omega 3 fatty acids present in flaxseed have a protective effect against diabetes risk.
One study found that supplementation of diet of 10 g of flaxseed powder for a period of 1 month in the diet of type 2 diabetics reduced fasting blood glucose by 19.7 % and glycated hemoglobin by 15.6 %. It is due to the lower content of glycemic carbohydrates and the higher content of dietary fiber of flaxseed.
Another study observed the effect of supplementation of flaxseed powder on diabetic human females. Post-prandial blood glucose levels were found decreased by 7.9 and 19.1 %, respectively.
Utilization of flaxseed for glycemic control may also be associated with a decrease in risk of obesity and dyslipidaemia, since these are risk factors for the development of diabetes and resistance to insulin.
Research has shown that flaxseeds inhibit the formation of colon, breast, skin and lung tumors and also reduce blood vessel cell formation in female rats, all suggesting a protective effect against breast, colon and ovarian cancer.
Due to the anti-inflammatory properties of omega 3 fatty acids, these nutrients
protect the kidneys from damage in adults. Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid (PUFA) supplementation was observed as reducing renal inflammation and fibrosis in animal models.
Cicero et al. (2010) showed that long-term supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids was associated with a significant reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Hypertension is a risk factor for chronic kidney disease (CKD); hence, the influence of long-chain n-3 PUFA on blood pressure may be a potential mechanism by which it protects the kidneys.
Reduction of dyslipidaemia and cardiovascular diseases (CVD) serum lipid profile is directly related to the risk factors of cardiovascular diseases. Studies with flaxseed and its bioactive components performed with postmenopausal women, showed positive effects, including hypocholesterolaemia and antidiabetic effects of supplementation.
When type 2 diabetic patients were fed defatted flaxseeds for two months, patients showed a significant reduction of plasma glucose, improvement in plasma lipid profile and significant reduction of lipid peroxidation. Dietary flaxseed may also offer protection against ischemic heart disease by improving vascular relaxation responses and by inhibiting the incidence of ventricular fibrillation.
Viscous fibers appear effective in suppression of hunger. Soluble non-starch dietary fiber of flaxseed mucilage are multibranched hydrophilic substances, forming viscous solutions that delay gastric emptying and nutrient absorption from the small bowel.
McCullough et al. (2011) reported that consumption of flaxseed significantly increased plasma and adipose levels of ALA and inversely correlated with risk of atherosclerosis.
Alpha linolenic acid, the omega-3 fat found in flaxseed promotes bone health by helping to prevent excessive bone turnover, when the consumption of foods rich in these omega-3 fats results in a lower ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in the diet.
When the women who had 14 hot flashes per week for at least a month and weren’t taking estrogen to relieve their menopausal symptoms were fed 2 tablespoons of crushed flaxseed twice daily for six weeks, the women halved their number of daily hot flashes while taking the flaxseed. In addition, the intensity of the women’s hot flashes dropped by 57%.
The growing interest in consumption of ﬂaxseed is in part due to the recognized importance of increasing the ingestion of dietary ﬁber and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Dietary ﬁbers have a direct relation to health, diminishing caloric density of the diet. Studies on the effects of whole ﬂaxseed demonstrated a reduction of the fat absorption by fecal excretion in animals and humans.
Dietary fiber is a natural way to manage irritable bowel syndrome, a first line of treatment for this condition.
Flaxseed oil brings mental and physical endurance by fighting fatigue and controlling the aging process.
According to Ayurveda, flaxseed has properties many properties. It is sweet (Madhura) and balances the skin pH. It is lubricous (Picchaila), improves the tensile strength or elasticity of the skin (Balya), and improves the moisture holding capacity of the skin (Grahi). It removes skin blemishes (Tvagdoshahrit), aids in wound healing (Vranahrit) and is useful in Vatic skin disorders including dryness, undernourishment, lack of luster or glow (Misra 1963).
Flaxseed oil is a rich source of essential fatty acids (EFAs): linoleic acid (ω-6) and α-linolenic acid (ω-3), which regulate prostaglandin synthesis and hence induce the wound healing process.
Vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant nutrient vitamin, protects cell constituents from the damaging effects of free radicals.
1 cup (150 grams) whole wheat flour
1/4 cup (20 grams) flax seeds
1/2 cup yogurt
2-3 Tbsp (finely chopped) green coriander leaf or cilantro
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ginger paste
1 green chili, finely chopped
1/4 tsp black pepper powder
1/2 tsp (or to taste) salt
Combine flour and flax seeds in a big bowl and whisk the yogurt into it. Add a little water and mix until all lumps dissolve completely. Keep the consistency of the batter similar to that used for making dosa.
Now add salt, black pepper powder, green chili and green coriander leaf or cilantro. Mix all ingredients well. Cover and keep the batter aside for 10-15 minutes. The batter is now ready to make the pancakes.
Preheat a pan and pour some oil into it. With the help of a paper napkin or wet cloth, grease the pan. Keep the flame on medium high heat. Pour 1-2 Tbsp of batter onto the pan and with the help of a spoon spread the batter into a round shape. Pour some oil all around the edges of the pancake and also on the surface of the batter. Reduce the flame to medium and roast the batter until the surface changes color and turns a golden brown from underneath. With the help of a spatula, flip the pancake and roast from the other side as well. Remove from heat and store in a heated oven while you continue to make more.
Reduce the flame for making the second pancake. Sprinkle some water onto the pan to reduce the temperature and clean with a cloth. Likewise spread batter on the pan, sprinkle with oil and roast until golden brown from underneath. Similarly, prepare all the pancakes with the remaining batter.
Mouth drooling and luscious alsi ka cheela is ready. Serve with green coriander chutney, tomato sauce, coconut chutney or yogurt and relish eating.
Note: Make sure you make the pancakes only when the pan is aptly hot. If the pan is not hot enough, then the pancakes can stick. Roast them on a medium flame, or else they’ll turn black from beneath and will remain raw.
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