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Ayurvedic Benefits of Flaxseed and FAQs

You must have heard a lot about the new nut in the nutritional foods market - flaxseeds. Flaxseeds, commonly known as alsi ke beej, is a minuscule, flat, brownish-red superfood full of nutritional goodness. More and more nutritionists recommend a flaxseeds meal for a range of purposes - arresting hair fall, spurring hair growth, lowering bad cholesterol, managing blood sugar levels, and more. Making them a small part of your daily intake is more than enough to fulfil your nutritional requirements. Be mindful, however, of the way you eat this wholesome superfood. It needs to be adequately chewed to extract maximum nutritional benefit, but owing to its rigid, crunchy texture, many people prefer to soak it in water first or crush it into a fine powder before eating it. 


Flaxseed Benefits in Ayurveda

According to Dr Aparna K, one of the leading Ayurvedic experts in the world with a PhD in Ayurveda, flaxseeds provide the following Ayurvedic benefits:

  • Ayurveda regards flax seeds as Balya - a provider of strength. They are an excellent natural source for boosting muscular strength and vigour. They keep the Vata element (qualities reflecting the elements of space and air) in balance and are ideal for treating Vata-related disorders.
  • In Ayurvedic circles, flaxseeds are referred to as Medhya (brain booster). The omega-3 and omega-6 rich superfood supercharge brain functions and can help treat epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, hypertension, and other bipolar disorders. 
  • Due to the large concentration of mucilage, they have enormous laxative properties for easing constipation and smoothening bowel movements.
  • However, be careful not to binge on flaxseeds as they can spoil the Pitta (qualities reflecting the elements of water and fire) and Kapha (qualities reflecting the elements of earth and water) doshas owing to their hot and heavy nature.
  • In Ayurvedic medicine, flaxseeds maintain the skin’s pH balance, thus protecting it from multiple dermatological ailments like dryness, premature wrinkling, soreness, and more. 

Other Medical Benefits

  • Reducing Carcinogenic Risks - Research claims that the omega-3 fatty acid content in flaxseeds can help stunt the growth of cancer cells. A 2013 study found a correlation between flaxseeds, the richest source of dietary lignans, and lower occurrence of breast cancer
  • Minimizing Arthritis Symptoms - The Arthritis Foundation claims that flaxseeds may help soothe joint pain and inflammation.

FAQ’s

  • How do you eat flax seeds? How do I add flaxseed to my diet?

    • You can grind flax seeds and add it to whole grain cereals, salads, hummus, nut butters, and more. You can also combine it with cinnamon and use as a fruit dip or mix it in super shakes.
  • Can you eat flax seeds raw? Can I eat flax seeds raw? Do I have to grind flaxseed before eating?

    • Because of their hard, rigid nature, it is best to eat ground flaxseed before. Raw, unripe flax seeds contain toxic chemicals and may cause constipation. The excess fiber in flax may lead to difficulties in the digestion.
  • What is flaxseed good for?

    • Apart from the benefits mentioned above, flaxseed protein helps strengthen the body’s immune response, prevent tumours, and fungal infections. It also prevents hardening of arteries, checks premature ageing, mitigates the risk of a stroke and other cardiac disorders. For women, including flax seeds as a regular part of their diet can lower menopausal symptoms, battle period irregularity, and alleviate menstrual uneasiness. 
  • What can I cook with flax seeds? Can you sprinkle flaxseed on food? How do you eat flaxseed for breakfast?

    • You can have a healthy start to your day by adding flax to regular breakfast items like protein cereal, porridge, pancakes, muffins, omelettes and wash it down with a flax smoothie. You can sprinkle ground flax over berries and cooked vegetables.  
  • Does flaxseed help lose belly fat? Does flaxseed help you lose weight? How much flaxseed should I take daily for weight loss?

    • Firstly, flax seeds are fibre-rich, which makes you feel satiated longer, thereby managing your appetite. It’s also a source of lignin, which may aid in weight reduction. Nutritionists recommend 2-4 tablespoons of flax seeds for weight loss on a daily basis.
  • Is it OK to take flaxseed every day? Can we eat flax seeds at night?

    • Yes, it is perfectly fine to include flax seeds as a part of your daily diet. Moreover, they boost serotonin secretion, which is great for regulating sleep. They are also rich in magnesium, famous for relieving stress, and inducing a peaceful night’s sleep. 
  • How do you fry flax seeds?

    • You can put the flax seeds in a hot, dry skillet and turn up the heat to medium. Gently stir them for 6 to 8 minutes so that they don’t burn or scorch.
  • How do you eat flax seeds with water? How long should you soak flax seeds? Do flax seeds need soaking? Can you soak flax seeds overnight?

    • If you’re planning to use whole flax seeds in your recipe, it’s advisable to soak them in water. You can either soak them in warm water for 10 minutes or room temperature water for a couple of hours. You can also keep them soaked overnight and consume it in the morning as a detox beverage.
  • Can you leave flaxseed gel in your hair overnight? How long do you leave flaxseed gel in your hair?

    • You can leave flaxseed gel on for up to fifteen minutes, after which you can rinse and shampoo as usual. Flaxseed hair gel is perfectly safe to be left on overnight till your next shampoo session, unlike a face mask which you need to rinse out.  
  • Do flax seeds go bad? Do you have to refrigerate ground flaxseed? How long will flax seeds keep in the freezer? How long does flaxseed last?

    • Flax seeds spoil quickly when kept at room temperature. With proper care (cold storage), whole flax seeds can stay fresh for 2 years while ground flax seeds have a shelf life of a year. Refrigerating ground flax seeds can extend its shelf life by upto two months past its listed expiry date. In the freezer, this goes up to 3 months.
  • Who should not take flaxseed?

    • Since it acts as a laxative, steer clear of flax seeds if you’re suffering from bowel disorders. It slows down the formation of blood clots and increases bleeding, so consult a doctor if you’re on blood-thinning medications. For women, avoid taking it if you have hormonal imbalances, are pregnant or breast-feeding. 
  • How much flaxseed should I eat in a day?

    • Experts recommend not more than 5 tablespoons (50 grams) of flax seeds as optimal daily intake.
  • Should I buy whole or ground flaxseed? 

    • Ground flaxseed is more readily digestible than whole flax, which may pass through your intestine without being assimilated, depriving you of its major benefits.
Anveshan sources fresh Organic Roasted Flaxseeds from small farms in India directly to your doorstep. You can read more about our Flaxseed story here

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