Indeed, flaxseed has been around for centuries. It is believed that the seed was cultivated somewhere east of the Mediterranean around 3000 BC. Initially, flax (or linum usitatissimum), was used to make linen because of the plant’s strong and flexible fiber within its stem. The consumption of flax seed is a relatively new concept, catching on in the United States in the late 1990’s.
An interesting piece of history: around the 8th century King Charlemagne passed a law that required people to consume flaxseed. Now, that may be a bit excessive, but the sovereign King did have an altruistic reason for doing so, in that he wanted to pass the tremendous health benefits of flaxseed to his people.
Flaxseed is considered a “superfood,” or a food so densely packed with nutrients that it should be consumed every day. The seed is tasty, small, and can be included with a number of different foods: oatmeal, rice, yogurt, cereal, potatoes, smoothies…the list is practically endless.
Here Are 9 Reasons You Need To Eat Flaxseed Every Day:
Some call it one of the most powerful plant foods on the planet. There’s some evidence it may help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. That’s quite a tall order for a tiny seed that’s been around for centuries. –WebMD
1. It’s an excellent source of nutrients
As mentioned prior, flaxseed is a superfood because of its sheer amount of packed nutrients. Flaxseed contains omega-3 fatty acids for heart and brain health; lignans, which have antioxidant and cancer-fighting properties, and both soluble and insoluble fiber for digestive and gastrointestinal health. In addition, flaxseed is also a rich source of macronutrients, manganese, and vitamin B. Flaxseed also contains a good amount of protein, and is known in fitness circles as a powerful addition to one’s diet.
2. It reduces hypertension
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that approximately 68 million Americans (one-third of the population) has hypertension, or high blood pressure. Flaxseed is shown to be a promising remedy for this epidemic. Those that include flaxseed oil in their daily diets tend to sustain normal blood pressure readings and lower the blood pressure of those with hypertension. (As a reference, normal blood pressure is considered around 120/80.)
3. It may help fight skin cancer
We all love to be out in the sun, and perhaps the only concern is rising numbers of skin cancer.
As it turns out, according to The US National Library of Medicine, dietary flaxseed supplementation enhanced the cancer-fighting properties of mice by as much as 63% while reducing the number of cancerous tumors discovered.
4. It may help ward off depression
Depression is an extremely difficult illness to understand.
Those afflicted with the condition are often in desperate need of some kind of help. According to one Japanese study, consuming flaxseed may help balance the complex network of neurotransmitters within the brain and provide much-needed relief. In addition, depressed people are more likely to have lower levels of omegas in their body, which flaxseed may also help to correct.
5. Helps to lower cholesterol
Having high cholesterol levels is not only unhealthy, but it’s also dangerous. Those with high cholesterol are more likely to suffer from a heart attack or stroke. According to an Iowa State University study, flaxseed is effective at lowering cholesterol levels. Flaxseed may also help serve as great preventative food for warding off high cholesterol.
6. Promotes healthy hair and skin
The good fats and B vitamins within flax help reduce dryness of the hair and skin. It is also believed that these properties are effective in improving the symptoms of acne, eczema and rosacea. In addition, flaxseed may be helpful in alleviating dry eyes.
7. Promotes weight loss
In an article published in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers discovered that flaxseeds (along with walnuts) may help fight obesity and promote weight loss. The reason is that flaxseed is packed with fiber and healthy fats, which helps increase feelings of fullness (or satiety). Further, healthy fats contained within flaxseeds may also reduce inflammation.
8. Contains important antioxidants
Consuming flaxseed is one of the best ways to get all-important antioxidants. Flax contains potent polyphenols, which provide terrific benefits such as anti-aging and cellular health. Flaxseed may also help correct hormonal imbalances. Polyphenols also help stimulate the growth of probiotics in the gut, which plays an important role in the elimination of harmful bacteria in the body.
9. Contains anti-viral and antibacterial properties
Everybody despises cold and flu season and nothing (regardless of what some commercials may tell you) is a surefire preventative solution. That said, flaxseed contains some of the most potent anti-viral and antibacterial properties of any food on the market. Simply including a small amount in your morning oatmeal, smoothie or cereal may just be the edge needed to get through another dreadful cold and flu season.