Unlock the Power of Flax Seeds to Naturally Lower your HbA1c
Flax seed known as Alsi (Hindi) is one of oldest cultivated seeds consumed for various health benefits. Research has confirmed that it is a functional food due to its nutraceutical value. It is well-known for weight loss, but does it alleviate diabetes? Let’s find out.
Why is Flaxseed considered a functional food?
Flax seed is considered as functional food owing to the presence of exceptionally high content of bioactive components—Omega-3 fatty acid (alpha-linolenic acid - ALA), lignans -Secoisolariciresinol diglycoside (SDG), and dietary (soluble and insoluble) fiber (25-35%). Composition depends on variety and growing conditions. The seeds comprise about 45% oil, 35% carbs, and 20% protein with exceptional nutritional and functional characteristics. The lipid content of flaxseed varies from 37 to 45 g/100 g of the seed.
Apart from this, it has quality protein (21%), potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, Vitamin, A, E, B1, B2, Niacin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, biotin, folic acid. Nutritionists all over the world suggest the incorporation of omega 3 fatty acid sources in the diet and flax seed is a vegetarian option for non-fish eaters. Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid which means the body cannot produce and has to be consumed as food, it plays a major role in the production of hormones, brain health and heart health.
Can Flax seed also help in blood sugar control and how?
It has been reported that Flaxseed's potential mechanisms of action on glucose metabolism and insulin resistance may be due to its bioactive compounds such as alpha-linolenic-acid (ALA), secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG), and high fiber content. The lipid content of flaxseed consists of 32–45% of ALA, with the right ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. The fatty acid has anti-inflammatory properties and may also have a protective role against the progression of diabetes.
Slow digestion, Insulin sensitivity, HbA1c level and cholesterol
One-third content of flaxseed fiber is soluble fiber which confers anti-diabetic effects by forming a gel-like substance which slows down digestion, delaying sugar and nutrient absorption in the small intestine. This stimulates the release of Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 (GLP-1), a peptide significantly decreases appetite, increases pancreatic beta-cell growth, and improves insulin production. It is reported that omega-3 (ALA) plays a role in improving insulin sensitivity. Recent studies show that flaxseed consumption significantly decreased values in individuals with HbA1c ≥154 mg/dl. In addition, flaxseed supplementation significantly increased good cholesterol (HDL) and reduced total cholesterol and bad cholesterol.
Other benefits of flaxseed in diabetes
High fiber quality of Flax promotes a feeling of fullness and helps in weight management which is crucial in preventing many other complications in diabetes. It improves digestion and eases constipation. Due to various phytoestrogen compounds, inflammation is reduced, reducing the risk of complications.
Which form of flax – whole, powder, raw, roasted or oil and How much to consume per day?
Powdered flax is easier to digest than whole seeds, and roasting is known to reduce antinutritional compounds. Several studies have compared flax seed powder and oil for benefits in diabetes. Oil is beneficial for heart health and is also reported to alleviate diabetes, but since it is devoid of fiber and protein, powder form is more beneficial in blood sugar control. Studies are inconclusive about the exact dosage and benefits are reported for varying dosages. One of the studies found that an intake of 10 g (about 2 teaspoons) of flaxseed powder/day lowered fasting blood sugar level by 20%. Consumption of 2 tablespoons of flax seed powder was beneficial in prediabetes as well and may delay the onset of diabetes. Dosage ranging from 10 g to 40-50 g has been researched.
It is recommended that one should consult your doctor before making it a part of your diabetes management and also notes the calories to meet everyday nutrition.
Another way to prevent diabetes complications is by including a 100% natural, high-fiber supplement like Actifiber Natural Sugar Control in your diet to avoid blood sugar spikes. Add a sachet of ActiFiber to each of the 2 main meals that have the goodness of fiber and prebiotic which helps in regulating blood glucose levels and keeps you energized between meals too. It dissolves easily with no taste, odour or colour thus blending into your regular diet effortlessly.