In this article you will find out if the flaxseed traps or loosens the intestine, as well as what this seed is used for, what benefits it adds to the body and what diseases it can prevent and/or treat. Also know the types of flaxseed that exist and how to consume it. Follow up!
You’ve certainly heard of flaxseed, a food that has become increasingly popular in Brazilian cuisine. Of Asian origin, it is nothing more than the seed of the flax plant. Its consumption is millenary, beginning about 5,000 years before Christ, in regions such as Babylon, Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt.
The benefits of flaxseed have spread around the world, and one of them is that it can be a great ally in the maintenance of the intestinal tract. But does this seed help to bind or loosen the intestine?
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Flaxseed is good for the intestine
According to nutritionist Vanessa Lobato , the fibers from the flaxseed help to regulate the intestine. “The flaxseed helps those who are constipated to have better intestinal transit. Due to the presence of mucilages, it acts as a natural laxative, so we can say that it helps to loosen the intestine”, he explains.
“In addition to helping in the proper functioning of the intestine and preventing colon cancers, fibers stand out for delaying the absorption of glucose and cholesterol in the intestine”, he adds.
However, despite being used in cases of intestinal imbalance, it is not recommended to consume it in cases of diarrhea , due to its laxative effect.
Flaxseed benefits and properties
Flaxseed is classified as a functional food, that is, in addition to its high nutritional content, it is also able to act actively for the benefit of health, preventing and fighting diseases.
“The flaxseed is an excellent vegetable source of fatty acids, such as omega 3 and omega 6, which are essential fats for the perfect functioning of the body. They help reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and inflammation and platelet aggregation, thus decreasing the risk of formation of thrombi that cause atherosclerosis (clogged veins). In this way, linseed is considered a cardiac protector,” says Vanessa.
The nutritionist also highlights the presence of a phytochemical compound called lignan. “According to studies, lignan can act in the prevention of breast cancer and, as it has a chemical structure similar to estrogen, it can also help to prevent the symptoms of menopause”, he reveals.
Other studies also show that regular consumption of flaxseed is able to alleviate PMS symptoms , control blood sugar levels and strengthen the immune system. It also increases the feeling of satiety and has a strong detoxifying effect, helping the body to get rid of toxins and excesses, including body fat .
Types of linseed
There are two types of linseed: brown and golden. Vanessa explains that, in the near past, the main difference between them was in the type of cultivation, where the golden one was cultivated in a more organic way compared to the brown one.
However, the nutritionist says that, in recent years, with the increase in demand for seeds, this has started to change and the difference between them has become very small.
“Both contains lignans, fibers and omegas, but the golden one gains by having a slightly better concentration of omegas. But, the ideal is to buy the seeds with purity certifications”, advises the specialist.
Another detail that we should be aware of is in relation to the different ways in which flaxseed is sold: whole seed, crushed seed, flaxseed flour and oil.
“The whole seed has all the assets. Crushed keeps the actives if it is protected from light, so it is important to store it in the refrigerator or in dark jars. The industry adds antioxidants to prevent this problem, but it also has to have a good certification to trust. By separating the husk from the oil, linseed flour is produced, which contains only the fibers; oil, on the other hand, contains only omegas and lignans”, teaches Vanessa.
How to consume flaxseed?
Vanessa says that as flaxseeds are very small and the husk is quite resistant and difficult to chew, it is ideal to consume them in a crushed form, preferably raw and whole. The recommended amount is 10g per day.
However, to get all the benefits, the tip is to buy the seeds and grind them only when you are going to consume them. It is not recommended to buy the seed that has already been ground, because, in addition to being much more expensive, it can also oxidize and form fungi. “To make it easier, you can grind small amounts and store in the fridge for about 3 days”, guides the professional.
Vanessa also recommends soaking the seed before consuming it. “It is even more interesting to soak it in drinking water for at least 4 hours (ideally 8 hours) before consumption. This process is called seed pre-germination”.
How to incorporate into the diet
Flaxseed is very easy to be incorporated into the daily diet. “It can be consumed with fruits, cereals, or mixing the water in the sauce (which will release mucilage and fiber) with some juice. Using it over fruit salads is also a great option”, suggests the nutritionist.
It can also be used in green salads, stews, smoothies , soups and even in baked recipes, cakes, breads and tapioca. Another option is to have it for breakfast, along with yogurt. In the form of oil, it can also be added to salads; it just cannot heat up, as it loses its properties.
For vegetarians who do not consume animal omega 3 sources, Vanessa gives a special tip: “We recommend a daily consumption of around 10 to 20g of oil per day, with a mix of 5% olive oil and 50% flaxseed oil. For those who need fiber, a tablespoon of flaxseed flour can be added at lunch and/or dinner”.
Care and contraindications
Although flaxseed is a functional food, it is important to consume it in moderation, as excessive intake can be harmful. Vanessa emphasizes that, for adults, the maximum consumption is 2 tablespoons (tablespoons) per day, while for children up to 12 years old, the ideal is only 1 tablespoons (dessert) per day.
According to the nutritionist, seeds have concentrated energy and this is one of the reasons why we should not abuse their consumption. In addition, she adds: “Excessive consumption of flaxseeds will also cause excessive consumption of phytic acid. If you need more consumption, it is recommended to place the hydrated seed in a sieve and carry out a quick wash to extract part of this phytic acid”, warns the professional.
In addition, because it is high in fiber, flaxseed can also cause gastrointestinal discomfort. Therefore, it is always necessary to consult a doctor and a nutritionist before starting any diet, especially people who suffer from intestinal diseases.
My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .
I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.