Flaxseed: all the benefits and ways to consume it

Have you ever imagined consuming a product, losing weight and still protecting your intestines? Well know that this is possible through the two types of linseed, golden and brown. Rich in fiber and nutrients, these seeds are considered functional foods.

According to nutritionist and digital influencer in the fitness world, Bella Falconi, the two varieties have a high concentration of vitamins , such as A, B1, B6, B12 and E. They are also sources of essential minerals for the body, such as potassium , magnesium, phosphorus and iron.

But, of all the nutrients found in flaxseed, the most prominent are proteins and fatty acids ( omega-3 and omega-6). “Brown linseed has 22% of protein and golden has 29%”, explains Falconi.

Best of all is the versatility of seeds in the kitchen, as they can make a flour, gel or oil . All these products are beneficial for both health and aesthetics.

Flaxseed Benefits

“The flaxseed has already been pointed out in several studies with the potential to help the body fight cancer, diabetes, intestinal and cardiovascular diseases, obesity and many others”, cites the nutritionist when explaining the functional food status of this seed. See below, in detail, the various positive effects of this natural product.

protect the heart

As well said by Bella Falconi, the golden and brown seeds can fight cardiovascular diseases . This benefit is a reflection of the presence of omega-3 in the product since this acid protects the heart against myocardial infarction,  controls the pressure artery l and decreases the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. ( )

It is important to highlight that flaxseed is the main source of α-linolenic fatty acid, as this substance is also known. In addition to being rich in fiber and lignans, making the body protected against dyslipidemia, an abnormality in the concentration of fats in the blood , predisposing the onset of atherosclerosis.

Currently, Brazil and other developing countries have high mortality rates due to problems involving the heart. For example, atherosclerosis, characterized by fatty deposits on artery walls, is the leading cause of death among Brazilians.

One of the ways to avoid these and other cardiovascular problems is to consume functional foods such as flaxseed daily. According to Brazilian resolution No. 18 April 1999, these products are “any food or ingredient that, in addition to basic nutritional functions, when consumed as part of their usual diet, produces metabolic and/or physiological effects and/or beneficial effects on the health, and must be safe for consumption without medical supervision”. ( 2 )

Helps in cancer prevention

According to an article by the University of Santa Cruz do Sul (UNISC), “studies have shown that the intake of small amounts of flaxseed a day contributes to a reduction in the risk of cancer ”. ( 2 )

In addition, the bean was also elected by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as one of the six main plants/seeds to be studied for its anticancer potential. ( 1 )

For example, postmenopausal patients diagnosed with breast cancer, but who used this seed, had a reduction in tumor growth , when compared to those on a normal diet.

However, all this recognition has more than one reason, since the effect may be related to the presence of lignans and omega-3s . In both cases, the substances are said to be responsible for reducing cancer cells and cancer mortality. ( 3 )

Improves bowel function

This grain is the food with the highest amount of fiber. 100 grams of the seed has 33.5 grams of this compound. ( 4 ) And most interestingly, it has a good ratio between soluble and insoluble fiber.

For this reason, its consumption increases the volume of feces, being beneficial in the treatment of constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and diverticular disease. At the same time it also helps prevent obesity, as it activates the metabolism and increases the feeling of satiety. ( 1 ) We have a full story talking about power relating to the intestinal tract .

Decreases menopause symptoms

Another benefit of flaxseed is that it relieves menopause symptoms, which include menstrual irregularities, hot flashes, sweating, insomnia , irritability and mood swings. Approximately 70% of women reach this period around age 50, when the ovaries stop making the main female hormone, estrogen. ( 5 )

In a study carried out in Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul, 36.4% of the 30 participants had the signs diminished after consuming 10 grams of grain per day. This effect is attributed to lignans, as they have an estrogen-like action. ( 1 )

Helps in the treatment of degenerative diseases

In addition to cancer and heart-related health problems, this functional food is also indicated for those who want to fight degenerative diseases such as type II diabetes . ( 3 )

This effect is only possible thanks to soluble fibers, because they take time to convert complex carbohydrates (eg starch) into glucose. Consequently, it slows down the absorption of sugar in the body and reduces blood glucose levels.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a person should eat 25 grams of fiber daily. But the ideal is for this consumption to be done gradually, adapting the body to new habits. And it is important to emphasize that flaxseed is just one of the foods rich in fiber, accompanied by options such as sesame, whole grain bread, avocado, guava etc. ( 6 )

protects the skin

The absence of omega-6 in the body results in negative aspects of the skin and hair. Difficulty in healing, injuries and even hair loss are some of the problems faced by the lack of this substance.

But these issues can be avoided with the proper consumption of the seed, as it is rich in fatty acid. Thus, it increases cell renewal, strengthens the skin and reduces fine wrinkles and expression marks. ( 7 )

Nutritional table

100 gram servingAmount per serving
Energetic value495 Kcal
Protein14,1 g
Cholesterol –
Carbohydrate43,3 g
Fiber33,5 g
Calcium211 mg
Match615 mg
Ferro4,7 mg
Sodium9 mg
Potassium869 mg
Zinc4,4 mg
Magnesium347 mg

* Daily reference values ​​based on a 2000kcal or 8400kj diet. Your daily values ​​can be higher or lower depending on your energy needs. Data taken from TACO, revised and expanded edition.

How to use flaxseed to lose weight?

According to nutritionist Bella Falconi, the food contributes to weight loss, as it reduces appetite due to fiber. “They cause the feeling of satiety , making the person eat less throughout the day”, he explains.

To take advantage of this effect, it is necessary to consume the seed daily. However, it alone is not capable of causing weight loss. Therefore, it is necessary to associate it with a healthy and balanced diet , drink plenty of water and practice some physical activity.

How to consume this seed?

According to nutritionist Leone Gonçalves, daily consumption should be limited to 10 grams , equivalent to a full tablespoon. Because the excess of this food can result in problems in intestinal transit, also triggered by the large amount of fiber.

In addition, the professional makes another recommendation. “I advise you not to eat the flaxseeds without first crushing them , as our body can expel the seeds from the body without having absorbed them, as we are unable to use them without crushing them. The linseed grain husk is made of cellulose, and that is why it is not digested by the intestine”, explains Gonçalves.

Once crushed, it is very versatile and can be accompanied by other foods such as yogurt, salads, fruits and even beans . Below you can check out a healthy dish made with this seed’s flour.

Recipe: low carb pancake with flaxseed flour

“The flaxseed flour has the advantage of preserving the nutritional properties found in the seed, in addition to being easier to consume. It reduces the fat in the blood , prolongs the feeling of satiety, prevents abdominal swelling , helps in the elimination of toxins and also reduces the accumulation of gas”, says the nutritionist.

Faced with so many benefits, we asked the personal fitness chef, Patrícia Melo, to indicate a recipe with the flour. The professional’s tip was a low carb pancake that yields two servings and is ideal for those who want to lose weight .

dough ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 60 ml of water
  • 20 ml of heavy cream
  • 20 grams of linseed flour
  • 1 puff of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of chia seed
  • Grated Parmesan cheese to taste.

stuffing ingredients

  • 280 grams of endive or spinach
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • ½ chopped onion
  • ½ pinch of oregano
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 100 grams of fresh ricotta.

Method of preparing the dough

Start by mixing the eggs, water and cream. Then add the flaxseed flour, salt and chia. Grease a skillet with oil and let it heat up. Then put the dough and let it brown. Carefully turn to the side and she will be ready.

Method of preparation of the filling

Heat the oil and add the onion. When golden, add the endive (or spinach), oregano and salt. Stir everything for up to a minute. Place the filling on the pancake, along with the ricotta.

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Another way to use flaxseed is mixing it with chia, adding the grains to some fruit or natural drink . “Although the properties of both are very similar, chia has higher levels of important minerals, such as calcium, manganese and phosphorus, and more antioxidants , which prevent premature aging. Chia has been recommended to alleviate PMS and menstrual cycle symptoms. Therefore, consuming both together enhances the beneficial effects of both”, highlights Gonçalves.

Other forms of use

Through the seeds it is possible to prepare a homemade gel and an oil. See what they are for!

linseed gel

“In addition to helping hair health, fighting dryness, linseed gel can be used as a finisher for curl definition . The gel also helps in hair growth and strengthening, as it also has B complex and vitamin E vitamins”, explains nutritionist Leone Gonçalves.

To prepare, just put two cups of water on the fire. As soon as it starts to boil, add 4 tablespoons of the flaxseed of your choice. Leave on fire and stir until the liquid turns into a gel. Then just strain and once it’s cold, run it through your hair to finish.

seed oil

Another product from the seed is oil, carrying 60% of polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega 3 and omega 6). According to the nutrition professional, he manages to “block the formation of cytokines, which are elements released into the body in response to injuries and infections, which cause a feeling of tiredness and sleep”.

In addition, Gonçalves explains that the composition rich in fat increases the elasticity of blood vessels , improving the health of the cardiovascular system. Not counting weight loss aid.

What is the best flaxseed?

Generally speaking, the two types of flaxseed have similar nutritional properties . “Both are indicated for the same purposes and have practically the same amount of nutrients. The golden flaxseed has, however, a little more protein, but it also costs more as it comes from more distant regions and has a cold climate, which makes it difficult to grow and harvest”, explains nutritionist Bella Falconi.

Other differences are related to the physical appearance and flavor of the products. While the golden one has a thinner skin and a less bitter taste, the brown one is more resistant and the bitter taste is more present.

Contraindications and harm

Also according to nutritionist Leone Gonçalves, flaxseed is not suitable for everyone, as some people may be sensitive to acids found in the composition of the seed. Therefore, the specialist recommends seeking a doctor or nutrition professional to perform the tests and find out if there is sensitivity.

“It is also not recommended for people with systemic sclerosis , as its consumption can cause constipation. Sudden excessive consumption of flaxseed is also contraindicated, as it can cause allergic reactions”, he concludes.

Ellie Lauderdale

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.

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