CHENNAI: They are ancient, tiny, bright and brown. Soldiers carried them during war because of the immense nutritional benefits it had,” says Rakhee Singhi, health coach at WILDFIT, a health coaching centre, introducing us to the world of flaxseeds.
First cultivated in India around 5,000 years ago, the flax plant, she says, has been useful in making linen and oil. Over the years, its multi-beneficial porperties have been studied to confirm that it is a popular and healthy vegan substitute for eggs and fats like butter. “When dry roasted on low flame and powdered, it gives a nutty flavour to the dish too,” she says, adding that flaxseed oil has healthy fat.
- Fibre boost
Because of their hard outer shells, these seeds are often recommended to be consumed after being ground and powdered. Like the plant, the seeds are packed with fibres that only release their nutritional content when liberated from their shells. The fibre content slows down the digestive process by absorbing excess water in the body and reducing bloating, thereby making space for food stuck in the bowels to move. Consuming seven to 14 grams of flaxseed every day is a healthy amount for bowel regulation.
- Alpha-linolenic acid
Often used as a substitute to meat in a diet, they are an excellent addition for those who don’t eat fish. Flaxseeds contain alpha-linolenic acid, a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid that helps in the overall improvement of heart health. This nutrient helps reduce inflammation in arteries and prevents cholesterol from being deposited in blood vessels. The fatty acids help lower the risk of heart strokes and propagate the smooth movement of blood. Flaxseeds are used to lower the blood pressure in patients, who have high BP.
Flax seeds contain a combination of nutrients called lignans, which have antioxidant and estrogen properties that have proven to reduce signs of anti-ageing. They also reduce the risk o f cancer. Po s t - menopausal women are recommended to consume flaxseeds to avoid the risk of breast cancer, a scare that begins to linger with the advancement of age. These nutritive properties also improve blood sugar, making these super seeds a healthy option for those with diabetes.
- Fat burn
Apart from all the benefits these seeds give to the heart, bowels and blood, they are most effective when it comes to weight loss as well. The proteinrich seed helps reduce belly fat quickly. Vegetarians can opt to include flaxseeds in their meals for a healthy balanced diet. It’s gluten-free and a powerful substitute for rice and wheat.
- Cosmetic value
Flaxseed oil is used as an antiageing cosmetic supplement. Flaxseeds in the diet improve skin, hair and nail health. Used sparingly, the oil can be mixed with essential oils to make a natural moisturiser for the skin and hair. For hair care, apply flaxseed oil just one hour before bath and wash it with shampoo using warm water.
Coconut milk: 1 cup
Fruit of your choice
Flaxseed powder: 1 tbsp
Dates: 2, Black raisins: hand full
(Change the quantities of the
ingredients as per taste)
Blend all ingredients and
consume. It is a filling substitute
for breakfast. Aids in weight loss.