Flax also known as linseed, with the binomial name Linum usitatissimum, is a member of the genus Linum in the family Linaceae. It is a food and fiber crop that is grown in cooler regions of the world. Cultivated flax plants grow to 1.2 m (3 ft 11 in) tall, with slender stems. The leaves are glaucous green, slender lanceolate, 20–40 mm long and 3 mm broad. Flax seeds are very popular in india because of health benefits of flax seeds.
Flax was extensively cultivated in ancient Egypt, where the temple walls had paintings of flowering flax and mummies were entombed in linen.
Flax is grown for its oil, used as a nutritional supplement, and as an ingredient in many wood-finishing products. Flax is also grown as an ornamental plant in gardens. Flax fibers are used to make linen.
Flaxseeds (alsi) come in two basic varieties: brown and yellow or golden (also known as golden linseeds). Most types have similar nutritional characteristics and equal numbers of short-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Here are health benefits of flax seeds.
Health benefits of Flax Seeds (Alsi)
Rich in Flavonoids
Flaxseed is a good source of flavonoids, especially flavone-C and o-glycosides. These polyphenolic compounds inhibit lipid peroxidation, platelet aggregation, and capillary permeability and fragility, thus leading to a lower incidence of cardiovascular diseases. Very important among health benefits of flax seeds.
The alpha linolenic acid and the lignans found in flaxseed boost the immune response in the body and prevent against inflammatory diseases.
Maintains Eye Health
Flaxseed consumption can reduce “dry eye” syndrome. Also, the omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of macular degeneration, an eye disease caused by damaged nerves in the eye.
Beneficial for Dieters
Flaxseed forms an essential part of many diet programmes, since it keeps blood sugar levels in check. Due to its richness in fiber, it keeps the stomach full and avoids the intake of surplus calories through overeating.
Source of Vitamins and Minerals
Flaxseed is rich in most B complex vitamins and vitamin E, as well as minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and iron. Vitamin E is essential for healthy skin and bones.
Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Flaxseed is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acid is the most active agent that fights inflammation in the body.
Omega-3 fatty acids helps to reduce the risk of breast, prostate, and colon cancer.
Maintains Kidney Health
Flaxseed has been shown to reduce the rate of kidney inflammation in cases of nephritis.
In menstruating women, regular consumption of flaxseed inhibit cycle changes and a reduction in ovarian dysfunction.
Flax seed are Good Source of Proteins
Flaxseed is a rich source of dietary proteins, having a high essential amino acid index and providing most of the daily intake of proteins that our bodies need. Hey it can act as nice protein source and I have included it in my diet and gaining benefits of flax seeds.
Rich in Fiber
Flaxseed is rich in fiber, both soluble and insoluble types. While soluble fiber helps to maintain proper gastrointestinal functions, insoluble fiber plays a vital role in keeping the heart healthy by lowering serum LDL cholesterol level. Very important among all health benefits of flax seeds.
Skin benefits of Flax Seeds
The omega 3 fatty acids in flaxseeds increase the speed at which wounds heal. Flaxseed is best known for its high anti-inflammatory levels
Flaxseeds control the production of sebum, an oily substance produced by the skin glands, preventing the onset of acne. Eat 1 to 2 tablespoons of milled flaxseed daily to achieve healthy and younger-looking skin.
You can also prepare a scrub from ground flaxseeds to exfoliate the skin. Mix flaxseed powder with yoghurt, honey and mix well. Scrub your skin gently with it for 10 minutes and wash off. The scrub removes dead skin cells and rejuvenates it, leaving it silky smooth.
Hair benefits of Flax Seeds
- Regular use of flax seeds helps prevent acute hair loss, scalp eczema, and dandruff.
- Flax seeds fulfil the required nutrition for hair and scalp in order to expedite hair growth.
- Flax seeds are a rich source of vitamin E. Vitamin E has proven effects on growth of the capillaries.
- Flax seeds contain high amount of Omega-3 fatty acid. These help nourish hair follicles. This in turn helps make hair strong and healthy. Omega-3 fatty acid also improves the elasticity of hair and makes it less prone to breakage.
Side-Effects of Flax Seeds
- Flax seeds in large doses or with very less fluid can obstruct intestines and/or the esophagus. People who have already experienced such health conditions are advised to stay away from flax seeds.
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- The presence of high amount of fiber in flax seeds, provides it a laxative property. When used in excessive quantities, this can actually trigger abdominal discomfort, increasing the frequency and count of your bowel movements.
- Excessive use of flax seed can impair the clotting of blood. The clotting happens, but the time taken will be quite long. It is also known to trigger conditions, such as vomiting with blood and blood in stool.
- Excessive use of these seeds can put women under a high risk of breast cancer. Men are also put at risk of prostate cancer.
- The hormonal varying property of these supplements can induce menstrual cycle, affecting the mom and baby in an unanticipated harmful way.
Ways to have Flax Seeds (Alsi) in diet (Flaxseeds recipes)
Flax seeds and banana Muffin Recipe
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 cups cereal
¼ cup flaxseed meal or ground flaxseed
4 bananas, divided
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
¼ cup canola oil
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. salt
- Place cereal, buttermilk, and flaxseed in bowl of food processor, and pulse to combine. Let stand 30 minutes, or until cereal is soft. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.
- Add 3 bananas to cereal mixture, and process until smooth. Add sugar, egg, and oil, and process until smooth.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in bowl. Add to cereal mixture in food processor, and pulse until smooth.
- Fill each muffin cup with batter. Slice remaining banana into 1-2 inch-thick rounds, and place on tops of muffins. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until muffin tops are browned and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire racks.
Flax and Figs cookies recipe
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, divided
1 large egg, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds, divided
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fig preserves
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
- Beat butter and 1/4 cup brown sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until creamy. Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat until combined.
- Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds, cream of tartar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in another bowl. Slowly add the flour mixture to the batter and beat on low until just combined, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Place the egg white in a small bowl. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup each brown sugar and ground flaxseeds in a shallow dish. Roll slightly rounded teaspoons of dough into balls. Dip one ball at a time into the egg white and then roll in the sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Press your thumb into the middle of each cookie and spoon enough preserves (about 1/4 teaspoon) into the well to fill it.
- Bake the cookies in batches until set, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.