7 Health Benefits of Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds are used in everything from smoothies to baking, but why, exactly, should you eat them? This superfood is loaded with all sorts of benefits, ranging from heart health to improved mood.

Flaxseeds contain omega-3 fatty acids

Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a polyunsaturated fatty acid that can help fight inflammation and keep cholesterol levels in check. “Research has also shown that omega-3s can help boost your mood and help improve mood disorders like depression,” says Brigitte Zeitlin, MPH, RD, CDN. “Use flaxseed oil as the basis for your salad dressings, and reap these mood-elevating benefits.”

Flaxseeds are a good source of plant protein

“Flaxseeds are a good source of plant-based protein,” says Zeitlin. “Protein will keep your muscles and bones strong, while helping to boost your cognitive function to keep you feeling alert and focused. Use them in your smoothies or sprinkle onto of your sautéed vegetables to boost you protein intake.”

Flaxseeds contain soluble fiber

In addition to protein, flaxseeds are a good source of fiber, which can promote better intestinal health. “Soluble fiber can help to lower LDL (the unhealthy) cholesterol levels in the blood,” says Daniela Novotny, RD. “It can also decrease how quickly foods are absorbed, which helps with satiety as well as blood sugar control.”

Flaxseeds contain insoluble fiber

Not only does flax contain soluble fiber, but it is also full of insoluble fiber as well, which serves a slightly different purpose. “Insoluble fiber helps to add bulk to stool, which helps the contents of the gastrointestinal system move through efficiently,” says Novotny. “As a result, insoluble fiber has been helpful for individuals suffering with constipation.”

Flaxseeds are high in antioxidants

“Flaxseeds are high in lignans, a type of antioxidants that can help fight off chronic illnesses,” says Zeitlin. “It can also help fight premature signs of aging like wrinkles and lines on your skin. Sprinkle ground seeds in your morning oatmeal or Greek yogurt parfait to get a dose of these antioxidants at the start of your day.”

Flaxseeds lower your cancer risk

“Some research has suggested that flax can help protect against breast and prostate cancers,” says Novotny. This is thanks to its lignan content, which acts as phytoestrogens and antioxidants to help protect against these cancers. “Food sources with lignans are rare, and flaxseeds are one of the best sources,” says Novotny. “The omega-3 fatty acids have also been found to help lower the risk of cancers.”

Flaxseeds lower your risk of heart disease

Incorporating flaxseed benefits your heart health. “The omega-3 fatty acids can help lower blood pressure, as well as improve cholesterol levels,” says Novotny. “Both can help fight against heart disease.”

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