This article will explore the various health benefits of ground flaxseed and the scientific evidence behind its remarkable properties.
Flaxseed powder, also known as ground flaxseed or flaxseed meal, is a nutrient-rich superfood derived from the flax plant (Linum usitatissimum).
Flax seeds have been consumed for thousands of years due to their numerous health benefits and versatile culinary uses.
The powder is made by grinding whole flax seeds into a fine consistency. Similar to the whole variety, flax meal is also high in nutrients and health benefits.
Ground Flaxseed Nutrition Facts
One tablespoon (7 grams) of ground flaxseed contains:
- Calories: 37
- Carbs: 2 grams
- Fat: 3 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Protein: 1.3 grams
- Thiamine: 0.115 mg, or 10% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Copper: 0.09 mg, or 9% of the DV
- Manganese: 0.2 mg, or 8% of the DV
- Magnesium: 27.4 mg or 7% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 45 mg, or 4% of the DV
- Selenium: 1.2 µg, or 3% of the DV
- Zinc: 0.3 mg, or 3% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 003 mg, or 2% of the DV
- Iron: 0.4 mg, or 2% of the DV
- Folate: 6.1 µg, or 2% of the DV
Ground flax seed is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and lignans, which offers various benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Digestive Health Benefits of Ground Flaxseed
1. Excellent Source of Dietary Fiber
Flax powder contains high amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber, making it an excellent addition to promote healthy digestion.
Soluble fiber aids in softening stools and preventing constipation by absorbing water in the digestive tract.
Insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool, facilitating regular bowel movements and reducing the risk of gastrointestinal issues like diverticulitis.
2. Relieves Digestive Disorders:
The anti-inflammatory properties found in flax powder can help alleviate common digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.
The omega-3 fatty acids present in flaxseed have been shown to reduce inflammation within the gut lining, providing relief from the discomfort associated with these conditions.
3. Promotes Healthy Gut Microbiota
Flax powder acts as a prebiotic by nourishing beneficial bacteria residing in your gut microbiota.
These good bacteria play a crucial role in maintaining optimal digestive function by aiding nutrient absorption and supporting immune health.
4. Reduces Acid Reflux Symptoms:
Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing heartburn and discomfort. Including flax powder in your diet may help reduce these symptoms due to its mucilage content. This gel-like substance coats the esophagus’ lining while soothing irritation caused by acid reflux.
Cardiovascular Health Benefits of Flaxseed Meal
5. Rich Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
Flax powder is one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
These essential fatty acids are crucial in reducing inflammation and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels – both vital factors for cardiovascular well-being.
ALA helps lower triglyceride levels while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol levels, thus reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
6. Lower Blood Pressure
A review of 15 studies found that consuming flax seed products, including flax seed powder, could reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
A different study also found that taking four tablespoons of flax seeds per day for 12 weeks reduced blood pressure in people with high blood pressure levels.
7. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Inflammation is a key factor underlying many cardiovascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease.
Flax powder contains lignans, which possess potent anti-inflammatory properties that can help protect against these conditions by reducing inflammatory markers within the body’s cells and tissues.
8. Improved Cholesterol Profile
Flaxseed powder has shown promise in positively impacting cholesterol profiles due to its rich fiber content, particularly soluble fiber.
Soluble fiber binds with bile acids during digestion instead of being absorbed into the bloodstream, forcing the liver to utilize more cholesterol to produce new bile acids. This process helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of plaque formation and improving overall cardiovascular health.
9. Enhanced Arterial Function
Moreover, the lignans in flaxseeds help improve endothelial function by increasing nitric oxide production, leading to improved vasodilation and reduced arterial stiffness. These effects can contribute to lowered blood pressure and improved circulation.
Weight Management Benefits of Ground Flaxseed
10. High Fiber Content
Flax powder is an excellent source of dietary fiber, making it an ideal addition to a weight-loss diet.
The soluble fiber present in flax powder helps promote feelings of fullness and reduces appetite, ultimately aiding in portion control and calorie reduction.
Adding just a tablespoon or two of flax powder to your meals or smoothies can significantly increase your daily fiber intake and make you feel satisfied for longer periods.
11. Boosts Metabolism
Lignans in flax seeds have been found to regulate metabolism and improve fat-burning capabilities within the body.
These lignans help enhance thermogenesis (calorie-burning process) and may contribute to increased energy expenditure throughout the day.
By including flax powder in your diet, you can give your metabolism a natural boost, assisting in achieving sustainable weight loss.
12. Controls Blood Sugar Levels
Stabilizing blood sugar levels is crucial for effective weight management, as fluctuations often lead to cravings and overeating.
Flax powder helps regulate blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream. This prevents sudden spikes followed by crashes in energy levels, thus reducing hunger pangs and promoting better food choices.
13. Low Calorie
Flax powder is relatively low in calories while being nutrient-dense. This makes it a great addition to a weight loss diet as it provides essential nutrients without significantly increasing caloric intake.
Flaxseed Benefits for Hormonal Balance
14. Balancing Estrogen Levels
Lignans in ground flax seeds are known for their estrogen-like properties. These compounds help regulate estrogen levels by mimicking estrogen within the body.
For women experiencing menopausal symptoms or those with conditions related to hormone imbalance, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or endometriosis, consuming flax powder regularly may offer relief by promoting a more balanced hormonal environment.
15. Supporting Thyroid Function
The high content of omega-3 fatty acids in flax powder plays a crucial role in maintaining optimal thyroid function.
The thyroid gland produces hormones vital for regulating metabolism, mood, and energy levels.
Incorporating flax powder into your diet helps ensure an adequate supply of omega-3s that supports healthy thyroid hormone production and promotes overall hormonal balance.
16. Reducing PMS Symptoms
Many women experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms such as bloating, cramps, mood swings, and breast tenderness before their menstrual cycle begins.
Flax powder’s lignan content may help alleviate these symptoms by modulating the body’s production of prostaglandins – compounds responsible for inflammation and pain during menstruation.
In addition, flaxseed is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce the symptoms of PMS.
17. Encouraging Healthy Hair and Skin
Hormonal imbalances often manifest through changes in hair texture and skin appearance due to increased sebum production or inflammation caused by excess estrogen or testosterone levels.
Flax powder’s lignans, along with its omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidant properties, help promote healthy hair growth, reduce scalp inflammation, and maintain clearer skin by supporting hormonal equilibrium.
How to Use Ground Flaxseed In Your Diet?
Flaxseed powder is a nutritious and versatile ingredient that can easily be incorporated into your daily diet.
Whether you are looking to boost your overall well-being or enhance specific aspects of your health, here are some more creative ways to include flaxseed powder in your diet:
When it comes to adding flax seed powder to your diet, one of the best ways to do so is by adding it to smoothies. This not only helps to thicken the smoothie and make it more filling but also provides a boost of nutrients.
To add flax powder to a smoothie, add 1-2 tablespoons (depending on desired consistency) to the blender and other ingredients. For a nutrient-packed smoothie, try adding fruits and vegetables such as berries, kale, or spinach.
2. Baked Goods
Upgrade your baked goods by incorporating flaxseed powder into recipes like muffins, cookies, breads, or pancakes. You can also replace eggs in recipes by combining one tablespoon of flaxseed powder with three tablespoons of water as a vegan-friendly alternative.
3. Oatmeal or Cereal Toppings
Sprinkle some flaxseed powder on top of your morning bowl of oatmeal or cereal for added texture and nutty flavor.
4. Yogurt Parfaits
Layer yogurt with fresh fruits and granola, then sprinkle some flaxseed powder on top for an extra dose of nutrients such as lignans and antioxidants.
5. Salad Dressing
Blend together olive oil, lemon juice (or vinegar), Dijon mustard, garlic, salt, pepper, and a teaspoon of flaxseed powder to create a delicious homemade salad dressing that adds both flavor and nutrition to any salad.
6. Energy Balls or Bars
Create nutritious energy balls or bars by mixing dates (or other dried fruits), nuts/seeds/butters (such as almond butter), oats/honey/maple syrup/ (as binders) along with desired flavors like cocoa/cinnamon/vanilla extract; add a couple tablespoons of ground flaxseeds for an added boost.
7. Soups or Stews
Stir in a tablespoon of flaxseed powder into your soups, stews, or chili for an undetectable way to enhance the nutritional value without altering the taste or texture.
8. Homemade Bread Crumbs
Make your own bread crumbs by blending toasted bread with flaxseed powder and seasonings like dried herbs, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
9. Topping Salads or Roasted Vegetables
This will add a nutritional boost to your meal and help you reach your daily intake of fiber.
How To Store Ground Flaxseeds?
To ensure you’re getting the most out of your flax powder, proper storage is crucial.
Exposure to air, light, heat, and moisture can degrade its nutritional content and reduce effectiveness over time.
Here are essential tips on how to store flax powder correctly to maintain its freshness and maximize its potency.
1. Choose the Right Container
Opt for airtight containers made of dark-colored glass or opaque plastic that helps block out light. Avoid clear containers as they allow harmful UV rays in.
2. Keep Away from Light
Light exposure can lead to oxidation and degradation of the delicate omega-3 fatty acids found in flax powder. Store your container in a cool, dark place, such as a pantry or closed cabinet away from direct sunlight.
3. Control Temperature
Fluctuating temperatures can negatively impact the quality of flax powder and accelerate spoilage processes. Aim for consistent room cool temperatures throughout storage.
4. Keep in the Fridge or Freezer
Ground flaxseed can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer to extend its shelf life. When stored in the fridge, ground flaxseed will last for up to six months. If you store it in the freezer, ground flaxseed can last for up to one year. Generally, if you won’t be using it within a few weeks, store it in the freezer
5. Avoid Moisture
Moisture can cause clumping and promote mold growth in flax powder, rendering it ineffective or even harmful if consumed after spoilage occurs. Ensure your container is completely dry before transferring the product into it; any residual moisture could result in caking.
6. Limit Air Exposure
Air contains oxygen that accelerates oxidation processes in powdered substances like flaxseed meal or ground flax seeds if exposed for prolonged periods – leading to rancidity and nutrient loss over time.
Fill the container to its maximum capacity without leaving much empty space. This minimizes the amount of air present inside.
Also, consider using a vacuum sealer or oxygen absorbers to remove excess air and maintain freshness for an extended period.
7. Avoid Grinding in Bulk
Whole seeds have a longer shelf life than ground ones, so it’s always good to purchase whole flax seeds so you can grind just what you need at a given time.
Flaxseed powder can be a versatile and nutritious ingredient with numerous health benefits. From improving digestive health and reducing cholesterol levels to supporting heart health and managing blood sugar levels, the high fiber content and essential fatty acids found in flaxseed powder make it a valuable dietary supplement.
Additionally, its anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and promote overall well-being.
So, incorporating flaxseed powder into your daily routine can be an easy and effective way to enhance your overall health and vitality.
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