8 Reasons why Flax is the ideal Weight Management Superfood
Flax seeds also known as linseeds is indeed a super food due to the diverse health benefits it confers such as weight management, blood sugar control, cholesterol reduction, improved gut health, pre-menopausal symptoms and much more. Several studies reveal various functional food qualities of flaxseed which promote weight loss such as lignans, high soluble and insoluble fiber, high-quality proteins, and high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA).
The 2 Magic Components of Flax that support Weight Management
- The Fiber: Flax contains 35–45 % of fibre out of which two-thirds is insoluble and one-third is soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber consists of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. Most of the soluble fiber of flaxseed appears to be the mucilage of the seed coat. Adequate fiber intake is one of the factors that help weight loss by increasing satiety.
- The Good Fats: Flaxseeds contain 35-45% oil which consists of 9-10% of saturated fatty acids (palmitic and stearic), about 20% monounsaturated fatty acids (mainly oleic acid), and more than 70% alpha-linolenic fatty acids acid. The protein content in seeds of flax varies from 20-30%.
What makes Flax is the Ideal Superfood for Weight Management
- Flaxseed as a high fiber snack (35–45 % fiber) , especially between main meals, may induce a reduction in calorie intake. Dietary fiber increase fullness by enhancing the sensation of satiety and aid the early signalling of satiation.
- Flaxseed gums reduce body weight and body fat by regulating gut microbiota.
- Flax contains Lignin, a complex polymer (woody texture) found in the cell walls known to aid in weight loss.
- It contains Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) that aids in weight loss as a result of reduced appetite and satiety. PUFA-rich meal suppresses ghrelin secretion and results in appetite reduction.
- Lignans in Flax lowers glucose levels which contribute towards weight loss. Flaxseeds contain 8 times more lignans than sesame seeds.
- Flaxseed contains SDG (secoisolariciresinal diglucoside) as an antioxidant and phytoestrogen which have been related to weight reduction.
- Protein present in flaxseed contribute to weight reduction. It has been found that a higher intake of protein results in appetite reduction and promotes satiety.
- Studies indicate that people with depressive symptoms are at greater risk of hyperphagia (extreme unsatisfied drive to consume food) and weight gain. Omega-3 fatty acid in flax seed modifies overeating and there by alleviates depression, stress, and anxiety.
Best ways to include Flax in your Daily Diet
- While there are no specific recommendations for flaxseed intake, 1-2 tablespoons a dayis considered healthy accompanied by diet and exercise. It is better to start with 1 teaspoon per day to avoid any stomach problems.
- Raw flaxseed may have toxins that may be harmful in high doses. So toasting, cooking or baking the flaxseed is a better option to inactivate these toxins. Ground roasted flaxseed is much easier to digest and more effective for complete nutrient absorption than whole flaxseed. Tough outer shell of whole seeds may not be easy to break down in the intestine.
- Add it to your salads, soups or use it for baking. Flax seed chutney powder can be prepared in small batches (can be stored in air tight containers) which can be sprinkled on bread, roti or even on sabji or any side dish.
Precaution: Flaxseed is high in fiber and may cause digestive issues if eaten in large amounts, better to start with a small amount (half teaspoon). It may interact with certain medications so consult your physician before consuming it.