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You may have noticed that flaxseeds have been getting more attention lately. You can thank TikTok for shining the light of an awesome seed. Users have claimed that flaxseed gel applied to the face is the same as Botox (more on that later).
But social media trends aside, flaxseeds have long been a food that nutritionists encourage as part of a healthy diet. And whether or not the latest buzzy trend has merit, there are plenty of reasons why they should be part of your daily diet.
First, tiny seeds pack many beneficial nutrients into a small package. Flaxseeds contain healthy fats, proteins, fibers, vitamins and minerals and offer many health benefits. They also contain estrogen-like compounds called lignans, which have a positive effect on female hormones. In addition, flax seeds add a nutty and crunchy flavor to any meal and increase nutritional value.
Learn about flaxseed nutrition, the health benefits of eating these tiny but mighty seeds, and simple ways to incorporate them into your diet.
Flaxseed nutritional information
Two tablespoons of flaxseed (recommended serving size on most packages) contains:
4 grams of protein
9 grams of fat
6 grams of carbohydrates
6 grams of fiber (21% Daily Value (DV))
80 milligrams magnesium (19% DV)
6 ug selenium (11% DV)
0.4 milligrams thiamine (33% DV)
The benefits of flaxseed
Flaxseeds are small, but the nutritional profile is robust. A 2019 review states that the good unsaturated omega-3 fats in flaxseed act as an antioxidant and are the reason for the seed’s healthiness. The most promising research is in the areas of cardiovascular disease and cancer control.
Specifically, a meta-analysis of more than 30 studies found that supplementing the diet with various flaxseed products is an effective way to lower both diastolic and systolic blood pressure, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. In another study, people with high cholesterol or high triglycerides were given 30 grams (about a cup) of flaxseed powder for three months. At the end of the three-month period, participants had lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, lower triglycerides, and higher HDL (good) cholesterol. The authors attribute these results to the healthy fats in flaxseed as well as dietary lignans, a class of phytoestrogens (plant-based estrogen-like compounds) that have antioxidant properties.
Because flaxseeds play a role in fighting inflammation, they have been studied in cancer research. Animal studies suggest that omega-3s can inhibit the growth, size and spread of cancer cells. In addition, the lignans in flax seeds can affect the treatment of breast cancer. Lignans have a very similar chemical structure to the estrogen molecule. Some breast cancers contain estrogen receptors, and the lignans in flaxseed bind to these receptors, reducing the growth of cancer cells.
Finally, the fiber in flaxseed can promote digestive health, such as treating constipation and creating a healthy and diverse microbiome. Fiber also helps stabilize blood sugar levels, which is important for diabetics.
Is flaxseed good for weight loss?
Foods high in fiber, protein and healthy fats, such as flaxseeds, increase satiety and regulate hunger, making them good for weight loss. A meta-analysis of 45 studies suggests that eating flaxseed as part of a healthy diet can reduce weight and waist size. Research also suggests that consuming more than 30 grams (a cup) for more than 12 weeks has a positive effect on body composition.
Do Flaxseeds Reduce Belly Fat?
It is a common nutrition myth that any food can reduce belly fat. In fact, it is impossible to target fat loss to a specific area of the body. As you lose weight, you may see a reduction in size in several areas of your body, including your stomach, legs, chest, or arms. Although flaxseeds can promote weight loss, they won’t magically melt away belly fat.
How much flaxseed per day is ideal?
There is no standard serving size for flaxseed, although most packages recommend 2 to 3 tablespoons (about 1 ounce) per serving. The USDA counts an ounce of seeds as equivalent to 1 ounce of protein (most people need at least 5-6 ounces per day).
Should you eat flaxseed in the morning or in the evening?
There is no research on the best time of day to eat flax seeds, so include them in your diet whenever you want. The best time to eat them is when it suits you! Many people like to sprinkle them on their morning oatmeal or smoothie, or on a salad or cereal bowl at lunchtime.
Who should not eat flax seeds?
Flaxseed is safe for most healthy people. Due to their high fiber content, eating too much of them can cause gas and bloating. If you are concerned about this, stick to the 2-3 tablespoons recommendation.
Although the lignans in flaxseed have been shown to be beneficial to women’s health, some people with breast cancer or other hormonal disorders may be concerned about eating flaxseed. If so, talk to your doctor about including them in your diet.
Are there any benefits to using flaxseeds in your skin care routine?
You may have seen claims on TikTok that linseed water gel is the same as Botox. Flaxseeds contain healthy fats and vitamin E, two nutrients that are beneficial for the skin when consumed. However, putting flaxseed on your face is not the same as eating it, and it certainly isn’t the same as Botox. If you want to benefit from flax seeds for your skin, add them to your diet.
Healthy flaxseed recipes
From smoothies to baked goods and granola, there are several ways to eat more flaxseeds. Here are some of our favorite recipes:
Peach Melba and Flaxseed Streusel by Greg Baxtrom
Sweet Potato Pancakes by Jenn Claiborne
Chocolate Banana Flax Muffins by Daphne Oz
Divine Start Smoothie by Catherine McCord
This article was originally published on TODAY.com
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