Flax seed has been used as a weight loss aid for centuries. It has tremendous health benefits and is renowned for improving digestion and increasing metabolism. In this article, we’ll cover the most important uses of flax seeds and how to use them effectively to promote weight loss.
The Nutritional Benefits of Flax Seeds
Flax seeds, also known as linseeds, are tiny brown or golden-colored seeds that are rich in nutrients and have many health benefits. Flax seeds have been used for thousands of years for their medicinal properties and are now gaining popularity as a superfood. Here are some of the nutritional benefits of flax seeds:
- High in Fiber: Flax seeds are an excellent source of dietary fiber. A tablespoon of flax seeds contains about 3 grams of fiber, which is 12% of the daily recommended intake. Fiber helps to keep the digestive system healthy and prevent constipation.
- Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Flax seeds are one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids. A tablespoon of flax seeds contains about 1.8 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, which is more than the daily recommended intake. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for heart health, brain function, and reducing inflammation in the body.
- Contains Lignans: Flax seeds are a rich source of lignans, a type of phytoestrogen that has antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. Lignans help to balance hormones in the body and reduce the risk of breast cancer.
- Low in Calories: Flax seeds are low in calories and can be a great addition to a weight loss diet. A tablespoon of flax seeds contains only 37 calories.
Flax Seeds and Weight Loss
Flax seeds have many health benefits, and weight loss is one of them. Here are some ways in which flax seeds can aid weight loss:
- Suppresses Appetite: Flax seeds are high in fiber, which can help to keep you feeling full for longer periods. The fiber in flax seeds slows down digestion, which can reduce hunger and prevent overeating. This makes flax seeds a great addition to weight loss diets as they help to curb cravings and keep you feeling satisfied.
- Boosts Metabolism: Flax seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to boost metabolism. Omega-3 fatty acids increase the production of a hormone called leptin, which helps to regulate metabolism and reduce appetite. By increasing metabolism, flax seeds can help the body burn more calories and aid in weight loss.
- Lowers Insulin Resistance: Flax seeds contain lignans, which have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity. Insulin resistance is a condition where the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin, which can lead to weight gain and other health problems. By improving insulin sensitivity, flax seeds can help to reduce the risk of weight gain and promote weight loss.
- Reduces Inflammation: Inflammation in the body can contribute to weight gain and other health problems. Flax seeds are a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is an omega-3 fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory properties. By reducing inflammation, flax seeds can help to improve overall health and promote weight loss.
How to Incorporate Flax Seeds into Your Diet
Incorporating flax seeds into your diet is easy and can add a healthy boost to your meals. Here are some ways to incorporate flax seeds into your diet:
- Ground Flax Seeds: Ground flax seeds are a great way to incorporate flax seeds into your diet. Ground flax seeds can be added to smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, and baked goods. You can purchase ground flax seeds at most health food stores, or you can grind them at home using a coffee grinder or food processor.
- Flaxseed Oil: Flaxseed oil is another way to incorporate flax seeds into your diet. Flaxseed oil can be used as a salad dressing or added to smoothies. Flaxseed oil should not be used for cooking as it is heat-sensitive and can become rancid quickly.
- Flaxseed Meal: Flaxseed meal is a ground form of flax seeds that can be used in baking. Flaxseed meal can be used as a replacement for eggs in recipes as it acts as a binding agent. Flaxseed meal can also be added to bread, muffin, and pancake recipes.
- Flaxseed Flour: Flaxseed flour is a gluten-free flour alternative that is high in fiber and protein. Flaxseed flour can be used in baking, but it should be mixed with other flours to improve the texture and taste.
When incorporating flax seeds into your diet, it is important to start slowly and gradually increase your intake. Consuming too many flax seeds at once can cause digestive issues. It is recommended to consume up to two tablespoons of flax seeds per day.
Recipes for Flax Seed Weight Loss
Here are some delicious and healthy recipes that incorporate flax seeds for weight loss:
- Flaxseed Smoothie: Ingredients:
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 banana
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Pour into a glass and enjoy!
- Flaxseed Crackers: Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup ground flax seeds
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 cup water
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- In a bowl, mix together the ground flax seeds, almond flour, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder.
- Add the water and mix until a dough forms.
- Place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out to 1/8 inch thickness.
- Cut into crackers using a pizza cutter or knife.
- Bake on a lined baking sheet for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.
- Let cool and enjoy with your favorite dip!
- Flaxseed Muffins: Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup ground flax seeds
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a bowl, mix together the ground flax seeds, almond flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, applesauce, honey, and vanilla extract.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until well combined.
- Pour the batter into a lined muffin tin, filling each cup 3/4 full.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cool and enjoy!
- Flaxseed Salad Dressing: Ingredients:
- 1/4 cup flaxseed oil
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
Precautions and Side Effects
Although flax seeds are generally safe for most people, there are some precautions and side effects to consider when consuming them:
- Digestive Issues: Consuming too many flax seeds at once or not drinking enough water with them can cause digestive issues such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea. It is important to start slowly and gradually increase your intake of flax seeds.
- Possible Allergic Reactions: Some people may be allergic to flax seeds, and consuming them can cause an allergic reaction. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include hives, itching, swelling, and difficulty breathing.
- Blood Thinners: Flax seeds contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which can act as blood thinners. If you are taking blood-thinning medications such as aspirin or warfarin, it is important to talk to your doctor before consuming flax seeds.
- Hormonal Effects: Flax seeds contain lignans, which are compounds that can have estrogen-like effects on the body. If you have a history of breast cancer, it is important to talk to your doctor before consuming flax seeds.
- Rancidity: Flax seeds can become rancid quickly if not stored properly. It is important to store flax seeds in an airtight container in a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator.
We wrote this article from the perspective of a diet and exercise expert, so I will keep this short. Flax seeds (also known as linseeds) are rich in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Typical menu plans in the weight loss world usually involve including foods rich in fiber, with omega-3’s being one of the most common sources. Both of these nutrients have been shown to reduce risks for heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, cancers, and more. In other words, flax seeds are one of the best weight loss foods you can include in your diet!