• Dr. Kate Ricciardi

4 Fantastic Flax Seed Benefits (for women's digestive health)

Good things come in small packages and ground flaxseed / flaxseed meal is one of them, as it's a nutrient powerhouse known for it's fiber and omega 3 content.


Flaxseed will also provide small amounts of B vitamins, unsaturated fat, protein, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Ground flaxseed meal is provides better access to the nutrients in it vs whole flaxseeds, are whole flaxseeds are unable to be broken down by the intestines. Learn more ways to incorporate them into your diet.



Omega 3s


If you're vegetarian or vegan, adding flax seed is a great way to get your daily dose of Omega 3s, especially Alpha Linoleic Acid (ALA) which is an essential fatty acid that only comes from food. ALA is beneficial for preventing cholesterol build up (it can bind to bile salts and then shuttle cholesterol from the blood to the liver, reducing cholesterol levels in your blood) and promote reduced inflammation.


In a large study of 250,000+ people, there was a 14% lower risk of heart disease associated with ALA intake.


Fiber


One Tablespoon of ground flaxseed provides between 2 grams of fiber (soluble fiber and insoluble), which is an easy way to add more fiber into your diet. Soluble fiber helps to regulate blood sugar and lower cholesterol, slows digestion. As digestion is slowed, it helps to trigger appetite hormones that can help you feel fuller, longer. Insoluble fiber allows more water to bind to stools, increases bulk and helps soften stools, which is beneficial for constipation. The benefit to flaxseed on digestive health is promoting regular bowel movements and reducing the risk of constipation through fiber. Adding more fiber to your diet may also help with feeling fuller longer.


Blood Pressure and Heart Health


Studies have shown flaxseed may have the ability to lower blood pressure in those both on medication and in those not taking medication. This is a benefit for not only heart health but also for stroke risk, as a 2mmHg reduction can reduce the risk of dying from stroke by 10% and heart disease by 7%.



Lignans

Lignans are plant compounds (found 800x more in flax than other plants) that may help lower the risk of cancer and improve health, due to their antioxidant and estrogen properties.

Some studies have shown that postmenopausal women who consume flax may have a lower risk of breast cancer. There have been some studies that have shown the potential impact in colon cancer, also but not enough research has been done at this point for confirmation of this benefit.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22305169

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17079126

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24869971

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24869971

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4375225/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25342643

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24126178

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21802266

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23076616

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25740909

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12493255

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1541-4337.2009.00105.x

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     Dr. Kate Ricciardi, DPT RDN CLT     919-797-9296       rdnutritionconsulting.com      info@rdnutritionconsulting.com

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