Flax seeds (السی کے بیج) is considered among the first healthy cultivated foods. This small seed is powerhouse of many essential nutrients and provides immense health benefits if consumed on regular basis.

History of flaxseeds

The earliest history of people consuming flaxseed is more than 6000 years ago .One of the Roman king Charlemagne has a strong believe on the health benefits of flaxseeds that he in 8th century passed the law for his nation to consume flaxseed .
During 1600 Nicholas Culpeper, a herbal physician uses flaxseed oil for the treatment of conditions like tumours, chest infection, abscesses and inflammation.
In 1950 Johanna Budwig a German biochemist developed a Budwig-Protocol, which suggested cold- pressed linseed oil with cottage cheese and juices for the treatment of cancer, arthritis, digestion, infertility and heart diseases.

Nutritional composition of flaxseeds

Flax seeds are rich in fibre, proteins and fats. 1 tea spoon of flax seeds provides you with 18 kcal, 1.6 grams of fat 0.5 grams of proteins. Fax seeds are rich in poly unsaturated fatty acids particularly omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids which are essential fatty acids and are not produced by human body and must be obtained from fats and oil.

Health benefits of flaxseeds

Although the health benefits of flaxseeds have not been clearly established, many researches have been carried out which suggest that flaxseeds reduces the risk of cancer, heart diseases, lung diseases and arthritis.

  1. Arthritis

Flaxseeds are enriched with omega-3 fatty acids which is used produce prostaglandins in the body. These hormone-like substance reduces inflammation making it beneficial for patients with arthritis.

2. Cancer

Studies suggest that flaxseed seeds are rich in ALA ( alpha linoleic acids ) which inhibit the growth of tumours in the body. The lignans found in flaxseeds may provide a shield against breast cancer, by blocking enzymes which are involved in hormone metabolism and interfere the growth and multiplication of tumour cells.

3. Diabetes

Recent studies suggest that presence of lignans in flaxseeds helps to lower the blood sugar levels .

4. Heart diseases

Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 . It helps to lower the cholesterol levels in blood. Lignans in flaxseed also help to prevent plaque building in arteries.

How to use flaxseeds in diet

The ground flaxseeds are usually recommended because the omega-3 found in them is readily absorbable in ground form. The recommended daily allowance of ground flaxseeds in diet is 1 tbsp.

  • Flaxseed can be sprinkled over your daily porridge or yogurt ,salad and desserts.
  • Flaxseed can be added while making cakes, muffin and biscuits .
  • Flaxseed oil can replace olive oil in salad dressings.

Side effects related to excessive consumption of flaxseeds

Like many other food items the excessive consumption of flaxseed might create problems and health hazards which include

  • Loose stools and diarrhoea due the presence of large amount of fibre in flaxseeds. It should not be used by patients with intestinal ulcers as it may aggravate the problem.
  • Because of anti-clotting property, the excessive consumption of flaxseed can obstruct the blood clotting.

It is essential to consume flaxseeds in recommended amount, in order to gain maximum benefit of this super food.

Aliya Waqas