Also known as linseeds, flax seeds come from flax, a type of crop rich in nutrients and fiber. The flax plant is grown from seed. Flax seeds can be ground to produce flaxseed powder, pressed into an oil, and spun into linen.
Flax seeds are tiny seeds that have a mild, nutty flavor with crisp, crunchy consistency. They are a versatile ingredient, which can improve the texture and taste of almost any recipe. Flax seeds are loaded with nutrients and are linked to countless nutritional benefits.
But when should you eat this superfood to get the most out of its impressive health benefits? Read on to find out.
What is the best time to eat flax seeds?
So far, there are no scientific studies regarding when you should eat them. But here’s what you should know when consuming flax seeds in the morning or at bedtime.
But one thing is for sure, you cannot eat flaxseed as whole seeds. You need to grind it for you to enjoy the benefits to your health.
Consuming Flaxseed in the Morning
Flaxseed oil is also known as heart-friendly oil and good oil. Studies suggest that flaxseed oil can be consumed for its alpha-linolenic acid or ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid derived from plants. Even flaxseed water or a “flaxseeds drink” can be consumed for its cardiovascular health benefits.
How and When to Consume Flax Seed Powder
To prepare a “flaxseeds drink”, grind the raw flax seeds and add them into a glass of water. Freshly ground flax seeds or flax seed powder mixed with water is a tasty and healthy recipe that works well with an empty stomach. Thus, you should drink it in the morning.
Consuming Flaxseed at Bedtime
Flaxseed comes in the form of a soft capsule or liquid. The University of Maryland Medical Center website praised flaxseed for their many health benefits.
Flax has 3 beneficial components such as:
- Dietary fiber
- Omega-3 fatty acids and
And while flaxseed offers many health benefits, eating flax seeds does not guarantee that it will treat or cure certain diseases.
Here are some health benefits of consuming flax seeds at bedtime:
Flaxseed has omega-3 fatty acids that may help lessen any inflammation throughout your body. Regular intake of flaxseed may help relieve inflammatory bowel diseases. It may also provide relief for inflammatory diseases such as lupus and arthritis.
While there are more concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids in fish oils, they are present in flax seeds, which may provide relief for ulcerative colitis. Further, omega-3 fatty acids help relieve inflammation caused by auto-immune disorders.
Bowel Cleansing and Constipation
The fiber component of flax seeds passes on its healing qualities and characteristics to the expressed oil supplements. This dietary fiber has the potential to eliminate constipation by regulating bowel movements and cleansing the colon.
Taken at bedtime, drinking or eating flax seeds can produce a gentle, natural daytime bowel movement. Likewise, it can be beneficial to those suffering from a painful inflammation of the colon (diverticulitis).
Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are flaxseed’s protective components. Taken at bedtime, consuming flax seeds can increase your levels of fatty acids, which may help in fighting heart diseases by regulating blood cholesterol and lowering blood pressure.
For athletes and fitness enthusiasts, flaxseed has musculoskeletal benefits, especially when consumed at bedtime.
Flaxseed combined with a protein shake can prolong digestion and protein breakdown. Prolonged protein breakdown allows muscle-building amino acids to remain in the digestive system overnight.
What happens if you eat flax seeds every day?
Flax seeds have been known to offer many health benefits since ancient times. Modern clinical studies and new research continue to validate these claims.
1.Reduces Your Risk of Cancer
Recent studies show that eating flaxseed may protect you from breast and colon cancer. One study involved over 6,000 women. Those who were regularly eating flaxseed every day have lower risks of breast cancer.
Interestingly, flax seeds have 800 times more lignans than other plants. Lignans have estrogenic and antioxidant properties effective at lowering the risk of cancer. Likewise, the omega-3 fatty acid ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) found in flax seeds are thought to prevent the occurrence and growth of tumors.
2. Lowers Your Blood Pressure Levels
A study found that hypertensive patients taking flax seeds every day have lower blood pressure levels than those who don’t. Additionally, daily flaxseed consumption can aid those who are already taking some form of medication.
A review of relevant studies suggests that a daily flaxseed intake for more than 3 months can decrease blood pressure by 2 mmHg. While it might seem a less considerable amount, it can lower the risk of dying from:
- Heart disease by 7%
- Stroke by 10%
3. Lowers Your Risk of Heart Attack
A study concluded that flaxseed consumption is directly related to a reduced risk of a stroke. A detailed analysis showed that a dietary intake of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) lowers the risk of heart disease by 14%.
Your body does not produce alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). And so, you must obtain this essential fatty acid through a healthy diet. ALA in flax seeds fights cardiovascular diseases by staving off cholesterol deposits in the blood vessels.
4. Improves Your Digestive Health
A tablespoon of flax seed has around 3 grams of dietary fiber, which is 8% to 12% of the prescribed daily fiber intake. Soluble and insoluble fiber are two types of dietary fiber.
Soluble fiber helps regulate cholesterol and blood sugar levels by slowing down the rate of digestion. On the other hand, insoluble fiber increases stool bulk, which results in softer stools.
5. Helps Control Your Cholesterol Levels
A 1990 and 2008 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that flaxseed intake can reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood. Surprisingly, women are found to benefit more from taking flax seeds regularly.
Flax seeds are known to contain high amounts of fiber. When taken into the body, fiber binds with bile salts, which are then discharged (by the body).
Your body replenishes bile salts by pulling off cholesterol from your blood. Cholesterol is then transported into the liver and converted into bile salts. This is how eating flaxseed helps lower cholesterol levels in your blood.
6. Reduces the Occurrence and Intensity of Hot Flashes in Women
A small Mayo Clinic study involved women having around 14 hot flashes per week in a month. Their diet consists of adding flaxseed to yogurt, cereal, fruit, or juice twice daily for 6 weeks.
The study concluded that the women’s daily number of hot flashes was reduced by 50%. Additionally, the intensity of the hot flashes decreased by 57%.
7. Lowers Your Blood Sugar Levels
Around 6% of the world’s population has type 2 diabetes, in which the high-risk group is women. A 2006 study was conducted to examine the effects of flax seeds in fighting type 2 diabetes.
The study involves adding flax seeds (20 grams) to the patients’ daily meals. After one month, the participants saw a drop of 8% to 20% in their blood sugar levels. Insoluble fibers present in the flax seeds are thought to help lower blood sugar levels.
8.Helps You Lose Weight
A study on flaxseed dietary fiber supplements aimed at suppressing appetite and food intake showed that flax seeds can help with weight loss. Adding 25 grams of ground flax seeds to a beverage can stave off hunger and reduce overall food intake.
This time, it’s the soluble fiber present in the flax seeds that slows down your digestion. This type of fiber also stimulates the hormones responsible for controlling your appetite.
How Do Flax Seeds Help You Lose Weight?
If weight loss concerns you the most, then a flaxseed meal can be an excellent addition to your diet. Flax seeds are rich in nutrients and are packed with impressive health benefits. These tiny nutrient-rich flaxseeds have become so popular, especially to those looking to lose weight.
1.Full of fiber
Eating flax seeds can make you feel full for longer. The dietary fiber in flax seeds helps suppress your desire to eat more. This is especially helpful if you want to cut down on calories for weight loss. Additionally, fiber-rich foods stimulate your digestive tract.
Consuming fiber is crucial to moving food through your digestive tract, which also helps keep your colon obstruction-free. Further, eating flaxseeds helps stabilize your blood sugar level as well as help you with weight loss.
2.Rich in protein
Flax is a good source of plant-based protein that can boost your metabolism. Also, these tiny nutrient-rich flaxseeds are low in calories, which helps prevent weight gain.
3.Source of essential fatty acids
Flax contains essential fatty acids such as linoleic acid and ALA, which are omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids respectively. These essential fatty acids help balance your metabolism and reduce inflammation in your body, which is known to contribute to heart disease.
Essential fatty acids can reduce the risk of cancer and help combat autoimmune diseases. While there are conflicting studies of essential fatty acids contributing to weight loss, many people claim that consuming foods with omega-3 fatty acids helped them lose weight a bit easier.
4.Rich in Potassium
Potassium is a mineral vital for cell and muscle function. Also, it helps control hypertension. Flax has more potassium content than bananas, which is popularly known to be rich in potassium.
5.Source of Lignin
Flax seeds are rich in lignin, a complex polymer present in most plants’ cell walls. It is a material that gives plants their stiff or woody nature. It is only recently that we are beginning to discover the many health benefits of lignins.
According to recent studies, lignins may help with weight loss as well as help reduce blood pressure levels in hypertensive patients.
6.Source of Lignans
Flax seeds also contain lignans, which are plant compounds rich in estrogenic and antioxidant properties. Lignans help with weight loss by enhancing the functioning of fat-burning cells.
How to Use Flaxseeds for Weight Loss
There are two ways to use flaxseeds for weight loss. But remember, interaction with flaxseed supplements will differ from person to person. Your results may vary with regard to weight loss.
While flaxseeds are considered superfoods, they aren’t magical ingredients. You need to incorporate them with exercise and a healthy diet.
Ground flaxseed drink for weight loss
You can make a weight loss flaxseeds drink in two ways. You can purchase whole flaxseeds and grind them or purchase ground flaxseed for your weight loss drink.
This tasty and healthy recipe can boost your metabolism. It can also help feel full for longer and improve your digestion. You can drink this once every day as you try to lose weight.
To prepare this weight loss drink, you’ll need:
- 6 to 8 ounces hot water
- 1 tsp. freshly ground flax seed
- 1 lemon juice
Combine the hot water with the ground flaxseed and stir well. Add lemon juice to give this weight loss drink some flavor and a boost of vitamin C.
Add flaxseeds to a cup of tea to help you relax while losing belly fat and preventing weight gain. Here’s how to make it.
- 1 tbsp powdered flaxseeds
- 1.5 cups water
- Lemon juice or honey (to taste)
- Boil 1.5 cups of water in a tea pan for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add flaxseeds powder and a pinch of cinnamon.
- Boil for another 5 to 8 minutes. Don’t forget to stir occasionally.
- Add lemon juice or honey.
Oral flaxseed supplements
Many oral flaxseed supplements contain its.nutrients. Compared to raw flax seeds though, flaxseed oil has lesser fiber content.
Precautions When Taking Flaxseeds for Weight Loss
When consumed in moderate amounts, flaxseeds are safe for most people. That said, there are things to consider before taking flaxseeds to lose weight.
- Don’t try to take raw or unripe flax seeds as they often cause indigestion. Besides, raw flax seeds contain toxic compounds.
- Since flaxseed supplements can trigger hormonal side effects, pregnant women should not be allowed to take them. So far, there have been no studies that confirm if flaxseeds are safe to use while you’re nursing.
- If you’re taking flaxseeds in any form, whether it’s a flaxseed powder or oil, make sure you are drinking plenty of water. You need to continually rehydrate yourself while taking flaxseed supplements. Dehydration will make it hard for you to properly digest excess fiber in your body, which could lead to constipation and stomach cramps.
Flax Seeds vs. Chia Seeds: Which is healthier?
Both flax seeds and chia seeds are well-known superfoods. They are incredibly packed with nutrients.
Also, they are linked to many health benefits including:
- a healthier heart
- protection against cancer and
- reduced blood sugar levels
But which of the two is the healthier choice? Here are science-based facts to answer this question.
What are the similarities between flax seeds and chia seeds?
Reduce the risk of heart disease
Both are rich in a variety of nutrients and are easy to mix with a variety of dishes. They contain sufficient amounts of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
Moreover, both may thin your blood and reduce blood clots. But make sure to consult a healthcare professional before consuming large amounts of these seeds if you’re taking blood thinners.
Help decrease blood sugar levels
Both seeds contain adequate amounts of fiber, which has been known to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Fiber helps in slowing down the absorption of sugar in your blood. It also helps in slowing down the digestion of carbohydrates.
Both seeds contain soluble and insoluble fibers. Insoluble fibers reduce the occurrence of constipation by acting as a laxative. On the other hand, soluble fibers prevent diarrhea from happening since their gel-forming properties help in binding digestive wastes.
What are the differences between chia and flax seeds?
Flax seed is slightly better at reducing the risk of certain cancers
While both seeds have cancer-fighting properties, flaxseeds have a higher antioxidant level than chia seeds. Moreover, flaxseed has 15 times more lignans than a chia seed. Lignans are known as cancer-fighting antioxidants.
Flax seed is slightly better at staving off hunger and appetite
Both seeds are excellent sources of soluble fiber. This type of fiber triggers hormones that control hunger, which can also result in reducing appetite.
Flaxseed has a higher soluble fiber content than a chia seed. And thus, it is a bit effective in staving off hunger and appetite.
How do these superfoods compare nutritionally?
- Has significantly more potassium and copper
- Contains more omega-3 fatty acids
- Has a higher concentration of soluble fiber
- Has higher levels of antioxidants
- Has slightly more grams of carbs and fiber
- Contains fewer calories
- Has more calcium content
- Has a higher fiber viscosity that promotes fullness
How many times should you eat flax seeds in a day?
How much flax seeds do you need in a day? Many of the health benefits discussed in several scientific studies were observed with just 7 grams (1 tablespoon) of ground flax seed per day.
The vitamins and minerals you’ll get in a tablespoon of ground flaxseed are:
- Calories: 37
- Fat: 3 grams
- Carbs: 2 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Protein: 1.3 grams
- Iron: 2% of the DV
- Folate: 2% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 2% of the DV
- Zinc: 3% of the DV
- Selenium: 3% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 4% of the DV
- Magnesium: 7% of the DV
- Manganese: 8% of the DV
- Copper: 9% of the DV
- Thiamine: 10% of the Daily Value (DV)
The recommended flaxseed consumption limit should be around 28 to 35 grams (4 to 5 tablespoons) per day. Taking flax seeds within this limit prevents you from getting too much fiber in your system while enjoying a healthy, balanced diet.
Too much fiber intake can cause:
- Abdominal pain
- Temporary weight gain
- Diarrhea or loose stools
Where to Buy Flaxseeds for Weight Loss
You can buy ground flaxseeds at many health food stores and groceries. Also, you can buy flaxseed products online.
The Bottomline: What is the best time to eat flaxseeds?
You can consume flax seeds at any time of the day. But keep in mind to consume them in moderate amounts. While they do offer many health benefits, they also have side effects.
Thus, make sure to take proper precautions with regards to your health condition while consuming these nutritious tiny brown seeds either in the morning or at bedtime. Looking for nutritious snacks and healthy recipes? Visit Amrita Health Foods today!