Linseed are tiny flax seeds, whose health and nutritional properties should be appreciated especially by people with gastrointestinal complaints. Linseed, also ground, has many other health applications, including protects against breast cancer and lowers blood cholesterol. What other properties does linseed have? How to drink and use linseed?
History of Linseed
Linseed are small, flat seeds of brown or golden linseed, which swell significantly in water and are surrounded by a large amount of mucus.
Linseed has numerous health properties and nutritional values that have been appreciated for thousands of years – flax was grown in ancient Egypt, China and Babylon around 3,000 BC
Currently, linseed is a fairly popular diet component easily available in many stores and pharmacies. Interest in him is intensified by the fact that linseed is included in superfoods.
Linseed – nutritional properties
The health properties of linseed are due to the presence of fiber, lignans and omega-3 fatty acids. One tablespoon of linseed provides 3 g of fiber, which is 8-12 percent. recommended daily portion of dietary fiber.
Seeds contain both types of fiber – soluble (20-40 percent) and insoluble (60-80 percent). Soluble fiber has gelling properties, causes binding of digestive tract content and delays gastric emptying, which results in satiety after meals for longer.
This type of fiber has been shown to have a beneficial effect on lowering blood glucose and cholesterol. Insoluble fiber increases the volume of fecal masses by binding water, thanks to which intestinal peristaltic movements are stronger and bowel movements more regular.
This type of fiber helps prevent constipation, but when taking it with a diet, you need to drink large amounts of water. Otherwise, constipation gets worse.
Lignans are plant bioactive compounds with antioxidant activity and properties of sex hormones – estrogens. They are included in the group of phytoestrogens. Linseed is the richest source of lignans and contains several hundred times more than other plants.
Lignans have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system, reduce the risk of developing coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis. Gently regulate the endocrine system, which is why they are recommended for women during menopause.
They can also reduce the risk of hormone-dependent diseases, e.g. breast and ovarian cancer.
Lignans also contribute to reducing the level of bad LDL cholesterol and blood glucose, protect against osteoporosis and inhibit the growth of pathogenic microorganisms.
In addition, linseed is one of the best vegetable sources of omega-3 fatty acids. It contains ALA.
This fat cannot always be used by the body, because not everyone produces an enzyme that converts ALA to other essential animal-derived omega-3 fatty acids – EPA and DHA.
Still, linseed is an important source of omega-3 in the diet. These fats support cardiovascular health, reduce inflammation, reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and blood clots, have a positive effect on brain function and memory, and protect against cancer. 100g of linseed contains 22.49 g of ALA fatty acid.
Linseed lowers cholesterol
Research published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism shows that including linseed in the diet can naturally lower blood cholesterol.
A small study was conducted on 17 people, divided into 3 groups, using 3 different diets for a week – low fiber, with a linseed fiber drink (3 times a day) and with bread with linseed fiber (3 times a day).
In the group with fiber drink a decrease in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol was found by 12-15 percent, and in the group eating bread – by 7-9 percent. compared to the control group.
The amount of fat excreted with feces also increased significantly. These results confirm experiments conducted longer and in larger groups.
One study published in 2014 conducted on a group of 50 people with dyslipidemia for 3 months showed that taking 30 g of ground linseed every day reduces BMI, blood pressure and improves the lipid profile. The above results are confirmed by many other studies.
Linseed supports digestive health
Alleviation of gastrointestinal complaints is the most well-known property of linseed. Fiber contained in linseed when drinking large amounts of water prevents constipation, as it improves intestinal peristaltic movements.
It is also a breeding ground for good intestinal bacteria that support cleansing. The consistency of jelly, which takes on seeds flooded with water, is responsible for the protective effect and alleviating gastrointestinal pain.
ALA is a very important ingredient for stomach and intestinal health. It has been shown to protect the mucosa, improve the condition of people suffering from Crohn’s disease and reduce intestinal inflammation.
Linseed – how to drink and use?
Linseed can be used as whole grains or ground. From the ground, nutrients are more available to the body, however, remember that the ground should be ground just before consumption, e.g. in a coffee grinder.
The fat contained in it is easily oxidized, and flaxseed loses some of its properties. Grains can be poured with water and drunk after swelling, added to porridge, yogurt, smoothies and salads.
They are great as an ingredient in cakes, muffins and bread. Ground linseed can be used as a substitute for eggs in dishes, e.g. meatballs, mixing 1 tablespoon of flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water to the paste.
Linseed has health properties at a dose of 10 g per day. You should not eat more than 50 g each day.
Linseed protects against hormone dependent cancers
Scientific research confirms that consumption of linseed may have protective effects against breast, endometrial, ovarian, prostate and colorectal cancer.
The ingredients responsible for anticancer activity are ALA fatty acid, which, by antioxidant activity, inhibits the development of tumors and lignans blocking enzymes involved in hormone metabolism and accelerating the growth of cancer cells.
One large study of 1122 women lasting 10 years showed that consuming 0.3 mg of lignans daily reduces mortality significantly, including due to breast cancer. A Canadian study of 6,000 women has shown that eating linseed at least once a week reduces the risk of breast cancer by 18 percent.
Linseed is also indicated for men. Eating a 30-gram serving per day reduces the risk factors for prostate cancer.
Linseed helps control blood glucose levels
The effect of linseed on diabetes requires more thorough research, but it is suggested that lignans and insoluble fiber lower blood glucose levels. In people with type 2 diabetes, it has been shown that consuming 10-20 g of ground linseed daily for a minimum of one month with a diet causes a decrease of 8-20% in glucose levels.
Can linseed harm?
Linseed is recommended for healthy people and in many disease states, but there are exceptions. The effect of linseed on pregnant women is poorly studied, but most doctors advise against consuming it because of estrogenic effects, as plant hormones can affect pregnancy.
It should also not be used by people with severe constipation, because a large amount of fiber in this case will aggravate the problem. Side effects associated with the consumption of linseed may include