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Hailed by many as one of the most powerful plant foods on the planet, flaxseed—chock full of omega-3 fats—support healthy blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.† Flaxseed also supports a healthy inflammatory response, and is great for skin, hair, immunity and brain health.† But perhaps it’s most known for being a hyper efficient source of fiber ground into a powder (aka flaxseed meal) and added to smoothies or yogurt.
Here are six science-backed benefits of this humble wonder seed:
1. Helps with weight control: Flax’s high fiber and fat content make it an ideal dietary addition for those wanting to maintain or lose weight. Do you often snack on processed foods throughout the day? Try adding flaxseed to your beverage to stave off hunger pangs by increasing feelings of fullness. Flaxseed slows digestion in the stomach, which triggers a host of hormones that control appetite.†
2. Supports the cardiovascular system†: Flaxseed products appear to improve cardiovascular risk factors primarily by modestly improving lipid (fatty acid) profiles. Because flaxseed is rich in both alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and lignans, flax also might modulate cardiovascular risk factors in other ways such as reducing oxidant stress. Lignans are plant compounds that have antioxidant and estrogen properties, both of which can help improve cardiovascular health. Interestingly, flaxseeds contain up to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods, with sesame seeds coming in a close second.†.
3. Maintains healthy blood pressure levels (already within normal range)†: Several studies show that taking flaxseed daily can help lower blood pressure. In one study, for those who were already taking blood pressure medication, flax seeds lowered blood pressure even further and decreased the number of patients with uncontrolled high blood pressure by 17 percent†.
4. Reduces blood sugar levels (already within normal range)†: Due to their high fiber content, flax seeds are a low-glycemic food. Instead of spiking blood sugar levels, flaxseeds cause them to rise steadily, promoting blood sugar control. The fiber in the seeds slows down the release of sugar into the blood.
5. Supports healthy cholesterol†: Flax oil, rich in unsaturated fats, is one of the healthiest oils. Research has repeatedly shown that flax oil supports “good” (HDL) cholesterol. While flax oil can be mixed into foods, note that it breaks down under high temperatures, so it shouldn’t be used for cooking.
6. Encourages healthy, regular bowel function: Last but not least, just one tablespoon of flaxseeds contains 3 grams of fiber, which is 8-12% of the daily recommended intake for men and women, respectively. Flaxseeds contain two types of dietary fiber: soluble (20-40%) and insoluble (60-80%). The bacteria in the large bowel ferments this dynamic fiber duo, which then bulks up stools and results in more regular bowel movements.†
†These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.
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†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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