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Do you remember that some time ago I told you about the benefits of flaxseed for hair? Well, now again I will tell you about this wonder of nature. This time, I will focus on general health benefits. Truly, I confess to you sincerely, all your requests fascinate me. They are the ones that test my love for a healthy life, both to be lived and to share it.
What is flax?
Flax is one of the oldest crops, since it is grown from the beginning of civilization. Its scientific name is Linum usitatissimum, which means “very useful.”
From it is extracted the raw material for food, medicine and textiles. Flax is one of the oldest fiber crops in the world. It is known to have been cultivated in ancient Egypt and China. Therefore, it has been of great importance for human culture and development for more than 8,000 years.
Even today, linen products play a role in our modern day-to-day life. Linen clothing has become more popular in recent decades and flaxseed oil is one of the oldest commercial oils that has been used for centuries in painting and varnishing.
In the last two decades, flaxseed (seeds of the plant) has been the focus of greatest interest in the research. The majority, linked to diets and diseases, considering the health benefits associated with some of their biologically active components.
Properties of flax seeds
Like other seeds with high oil content, flaxseed is a food with a lot of calories. For every one hundred grams of seeds they contain, you will incorporate 534 calories. This in simple terms, is equivalent to 27% of what you require daily.
Flaxseed is high in protein. Its value is 18%. Studies have shown that the amino acid content is similar to that of soy. However, it does not have lysine. That is why it must be combined with other protein sources for a healthy balance.
It is important to note that flaxseed is high in the contents of arginine and glutamine. Both amino acids are very important for the prevention of heart disease and the strengthening of the immune system. In addition to this, flaxseed proteins can be useful against infections caused by fungi. In addition to protecting against high blood pressure, high levels of bad cholesterol (LDL), type 2 diabetes and inflammation.
The seeds contain lignans. Lignans are a species of plant estrogens, with proven antioxidant effects and associated with the prevention of cancer. They also help prevent free radicals and oxidative stress that cause premature aging of cells.
Flaxseed is one of the best plant sources of vitamin E. Specifically, it is high in gamma-tocopherol. For every hundred grams of seeds that you consume, you will be ingesting around 20 g of vitamin E. This is equivalent to 133% of the recommended daily values.
Vitamin E has proven antioxidant effects. This vitamin is soluble in fats and is very necessary to maintain the correct functioning of the mucous membranes and the skin. It protects it from the dangers of free radicals.
Flax seeds have a high content of B-complex vitamins. Among them are: riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 and folic acid.
Flaxseed is also a rich source of minerals: manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium.
Because of its appetizing characteristics and its delicious nutty flavor, flaxseed is used in the preparation of various foods . In addition, it has been used as a “carrier” or “base oil” in many traditional medicines and also in the pharmaceutical industry.
Benefits of flax seeds
1. Protects against cancer
Flaxseed is a very important source of omega-3. In 2013 an interesting study was published. It mentions that the ingestion of flaxseed in women, can reduce in 82% the possibility of suffering from breast cancer.
Studies reveal that the ingestion of flaxseed, favors the formation of endostatin. This compound behaves like a natural blocker of breast tissue tumors. This effect is comparable to the drug tamoxifen, used in chemotherapy. In addition, it provides excellent protection against cancers that depend on estrogen to develop. Studies in flaxseed have shown that it protects our body against cancer, through four mechanisms.
It works by reducing inflammation, protects DNA, prevents the growth of new blood vessels and prevents the multiplication of cells . In addition to omega-3, flaxseed is rich in lignans. Although these are found in many vegetables, seeds and fruits, flaxseed contains approximately 100 times more lignans than them.
Lignans have the ability to act as a plant estrogen. This property can prevent the development of certain types of cancer, which are stimulated by means of hormones. All these antioxidants present in flax seeds, are a very effective barrier against free radicals, thus preventing the prevention of skin cancer.
2. Reduces cholesterol and improves heart health
Thanks to its high content of omega 3 and omega 6, it is especially useful in case of high cholesterol. The fiber, phytosterols and omega-3 content of flaxseed can help improve heart health. The lignans it contains can help protect against cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases.
Phytosterols are molecules that have a structure similar to cholesterol, but help prevent the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine. Eating foods that contain these nutrients can help reduce levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, in the body.
In 2008, a study was conducted involving 55 Native American women of menopausal age. It was determined that consuming 30 g of flax seeds reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol by up to 10 percent.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating more fiber as part of a heart-healthy diet. One benefit is that it makes you feel full, so you are less likely to overeat.
Omega-3 oils, which are generally found in fatty fish, have been linked to reductions in cardiovascular risk. Some researchers have suggested that flaxseed could offer an alternative, as a vegetable source of omega 3 in the prevention of atherosclerosis.
3. It favors digestion and weight loss
Due to its content of digestive enzymes, it helps to regulate the digestion of the nutrients consumed in food and to prevent intestinal problems. Avoids constipation, thanks to its high content of soluble fiber mainly, helps the formation of feces.
It also has insoluble fiber, which does not dissolve in water. She absorbs water and adds volume to the digestive tract. This helps to improve the transit of fecal matter through the intestine.
In addition, it has been found that flaxseed extract exhibits anti-diarrheal and antispasmodic activities. This guarantees a broad coverage and rationalizes its medicinal use in both infectious and noninfectious diarrhea.
The content of soluble fiber, in flax seeds, can promote weight loss by reducing hunger and reducing cravings. .
4. Combat inflammation
Inflammation is caused mainly due to the deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acid is a key nutrient to fight inflammation in the body. This acid and the lignans found in flax seeds can reduce inflammation by blocking the release of certain pro-inflammatory agents.
The consumption of flax seed increases the production of two other omega-3 fatty acids. They are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), thus providing greater protection against inflammation.
5. Protects against radiation
Studies have found that lignans in flaxseed can help protect against radiation. Laboratory studies have found that flaxseed compounds protect against inflammation, injury and fibrosis.
The researchers suggested that in the future, flaxseed lignans may be useful. Above all, to treat lung problems associated with radiation due to accidental exposure or radiation therapy.
A diet rich in flax seeds can protect skin tissues from radiation. Researchers have found that flax seeds significantly reduce skin damage after sun exposure.
6. Controls hypertension
Studies have suggested that low levels of linolenic acid in adipose tissue can cause hypertension. This essential fatty oil is present in flaxseed.
Dietary flaxseed has cardioprotective effects that can be achieved through its rich content of omega-3 fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Flax seeds can help fight heart disease by lowering blood pressure. In addition to regulating cholesterol in the blood and increasing the levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
7. Improves blood sugar levels
It is believed that lignans and other phytoestrogens help reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, due to an anti-inflammatory effect. Several researchers have concluded that the daily intake of foods rich in lignans stabilizes blood sugar levels. This is possible by improving insulin sensitivity. This is also due to the presence of their high levels of antioxidants.
In 2013, a study was conducted in men and women with prediabetes. The men were overweight and the women were menopausal. Those who took 13 g of flax seeds had lower levels of glucose and insulin and improved insulin sensitivity.
In people with type 2 diabetes, studies show favorable results with supplements of 10 to 20 g / day of Flaxseed powder. It was carried out for 1 to 2 months reducing blood sugar fasting, up to 19.7%.
8. Reduce hot flashes
A study published in 2007 found that consuming 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds in women could reduce their hot flashes in half. Flaxseed is a potential aid in the management of perimenopausal and postmenopausal symptoms. Lignans, a species of phytoestrogens in flaxseed, appear to reduce the frequency of hot flashes in menopausal women, without serious side effects.
9. Favors the healing of wounds
The omega 3 fatty acids present in flax seeds increase the speed at which wounds heal. Flaxseed is best known for its high levels of anti-inflammatories.
It can successfully minimize skin irritation, rashes, inflammation and redness by regular consumption of flax seed. Therefore, the benefits of eating flax seeds are many for the skin. It also reduces the possibility of acne, dermatitis and psoriasis.
10. Reduces the appearance of dandruff
The anti-inflammatory properties of flax seeds reduce the possibility of dandruff, eczema and other scalp conditions. The consumption of flax seeds, stimulate the production of sebum in the scalp. This prevents flaking and dandruff.
11. Prevents cicatricial alopecia and male baldness
Including flax seeds in your diet can help improve various hair and scalp conditions. The anti-inflammatory properties of flax seeds prevent cicatricial alopecia, a condition of permanent hair loss.
Scarring alopecia severely damages hair follicles, preventing the growth of healthy hair. In addition, linolenic acid and oleic acid present in flax seeds help treat male pattern baldness.
- Food is not only meant to satisfy hunger and provide basic nutritional requirements. But also to prevent diseases related to nutrition and to improve the physical and mental well-being of consumers.
- The demand of consumers for foods with greater beneficial effects led the food industries to increase the production of functional foods. Within them, from a time to here, whole flaxseed, linseed flour and defatted flaxseed flour are commercialized internationally. This now represents a significant part of the new food products.
- The therapeutic effects of flaxseed and its components increase every day, its potential for use as a functional food and as a food ingredient. Flax seeds have been linked to health benefits, such as improved digestive function, a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
There is information that will continue to feed our knowledge, which, like that those expressed in this post, will allow us to enhance our health.
“As long as man continues to seek the healing of diseases and ailments in chemical substances, they will continue to shout plants until they are heard”
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