Superfoods: flaxseed

A superfood that is currently becoming increasingly popular is flaxseed. This is not surprising, because it contains a high level of important nutrients. For example, it contains a high level of Omega 3 fatty acids, which is good for the eyes, brain, skin and hair, and which has a preventive effect against cardiovascular disease. This little seed can give a big boost to your health. But what exactly does this do for your health? How do you use it? And what about any harmful effects? This article answers all these questions and shows why this seed is rightly called a superfood.

What is it?

Linseed is a seed of the flax plant, hence the English name flax seed. This plant occurs naturally in the temperate and subtropical regions of the world. It is used for food but also for fiber for clothing, for example, and the plant is also grown as an ornamental garden plant. Here, linseed is often better known because it is fed to birds in the winter, but nowadays more and more people are using linseed in their daily diet because of its high health value.

Nutritional value and health

Flaxseed is good for your body in several ways. Although there is no conclusive scientific evidence for a positive impact on health, there is strong evidence that it has many beneficial properties. For example, linseed contains a high level of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are good for your brain, eyes and hormone balance, among other things. It also improves the quality of hair, skin and nails. Furthermore, linseed also contains vitamins B1 and 2, magnesium, zinc, potassium and calcium. Flaxseed also contains a high level of dietary fiber, which ensures better bowel movements and a feeling of satiety, which is beneficial for weight management.

Flaxseed can have a cholesterol-lowering effect and can also lower blood pressure, which reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Flaxseed is also said to have a preventive effect against arthritis and cancer, and is said to help against the symptoms of arthritis and asthma. Another special thing about linseed is that it has a purifying effect on the intestines. This is due to mucus released from the seeds that form a layer in the intestines that helps remove waste products. This is also one of the reasons that flaxseed is used for detoxing. Finally, linseed can also have a hormone-changing effect, which can be beneficial against hormonal fluctuations.

Harmful effects

As with all nutritional supplements, it is wise to consult a doctor before use if someone is taking medication or suffers from a condition. Flaxseed can ensure a faster breakdown of medicines, which can ensure that the medicines cannot be fully absorbed by the body. This can, for example, cause problems with blood thinning medications, blood sugar lowering medications and perhaps also the contraceptive pill.
Flaxseed should also not be used by pregnant women and bedridden patients.

People with irritable bowel syndrome should not use flax seeds, as they can worsen the symptoms. Even people who do not suffer from this condition sometimes cannot tolerate linseed well because of its possible laxative effect. It is therefore advisable to start with small amounts and stop when complaints occur. Furthermore, caution is advised in women with hormone-sensitive conditions and women who are pregnant, as flaxseed may have hormone-altering effects.

Usage

Linseed is available in different forms. This way you can get the seeds whole, but also broken. To absorb all the nutrients from the seeds, it is best to consume them broken. It is best to buy them whole and grind them just before use. But the broken linseed from the store still has a high nutritional value. The seeds have a fairly neutral, slightly nutty taste. They can be eaten in many ways, for example with yogurt, in a salad, in a smoothie or incorporated into cookies or muffins. Linseed is also processed into so-called linseed oil. This oil has a slightly musty taste and can be used for salad dressing, for example. The oil should not be heated because then it will lose all the good nutrients.

There are guidelines for the use of linseed. For linseed oil, it is recommended to consume no more than one tablespoon per day. For flaxseed, it is recommended to consume no more than three tablespoons per day. In addition, it is important to drink enough when using flaxseed, otherwise it could cause constipation. The healthiest way to consume is to use broken flax seeds.

Flaxseed should be stored dry and airtight, and whole linseed has a longer shelf life than broken. Linseed oil should be stored in a cool, dark place. Linseed and linseed oil are available in organic and health food stores, in many supermarkets in the organic department and of course also online.

Please note: If you are taking medication, always consult your doctor before using nutritional supplements. If you develop complaints when using nutritional supplements, stop taking them immediately.