5 Top Benefits, Uses & Side Effects Of Flax Seed | Linseed | Alasi For Weight Loss, Skin, Hair & Health
Flax seed have been around for a long time and they are the seeds of flax plants. It's botanical name is Linum Usitatissimum and because of it's botanical name it is also called as linseed. Flax seeds are called "Aali Vithai" In Tamil and "Alasi" in Hindi. I haven't eaten or knew about flax seed when I was growing up. A few years back, I was trying out different recipes for healthy smoothies and one of the recipes that I liked called for flax seed. That was the also the time our local town super market started selling flax seed and I got a small packet for making the smoothy. I thought I won't like the taste but when I made my berry smoothy, it tasted really good. I have been stocking a small packet of flax seed in my pantry from then on. Though many use flax seed only for eating, it has wonderful uses for hair and skin care too. For example, flax seed hair gel made using flax seeds and water is quite an effective homemade hair product. Flax seeds can be added to bread, desserts and even in sauces. Flax seeds are one of the best sources of omega 3 fatty acids and it is also very high in fiber. Here in India, we get whole flax seeds in health stores and it is available very cheap. After buying the flax seed, I like to sun dry it spread on a plate, let it cool and then store in an airtight box. The best way to consume flax seeds is in the form of a powder. The grinding helps to break the outer seed coat where all the nutrients are stored as it is impossible break it by simply chewing on the seeds. When we grind flax seed, our body can digest and absorb it better. I would suggest grinding it fresh each time you use it. Side effects: Though flax seed have very good health benefits, it also has some side effects. In my humble opinion I think we should never over consume any food even if it is labeled the worlds best health food and it applies to flax seeds too. As flax seeds are high in fiber, it's over consumption will lead to abdominal discomfort and diarrhea. People with stomach problems should definitely avoid consuming too much of flax seed. Pregnant women and lactating mothers should never consume flax seed in large amount. People who are on blood thinning medications should be cautious while taking flax seed. Diabetic patients and people who are on on pressure medications should monitor their glucose and pressure levels, if consuming flax seed on a daily basis as it can lower them. Always drink enough water if consuming flax seeds on a daily basis else you will suffer from flatulence.
1. Flax Seed For Weight Loss: Flax seeds are high in nutrients and keeps one satiated longer which makes it the perfect weight loss food. If you are on a weight loss plan, try including flax seeds in your diet. The best way to include flax seeds is by making smoothies as it masks the flax seed flavor completely. Try this low fat, low calorie and yet very tasty flax seed smoothie. This smoothie is full of nutrients yet very filling and keeps one satiated for a long time. Take 1 cup of low fat, unflavored and unsweetened yogurt, 2 tsp of flax seed powder, few drops of pure vanilla and 3/4 cup of your favorite berries in a blender and blend till smooth. You can sweeten with honey if you prefer. Try to slowly increase the flax seeds in your diet else it will cause stomach problems. If you find it is causing stomach discomfort, decrease the amount. 2. Flax Seed For Constipation: Since flax seeds are full of fiber, it is very good for people who are suffering from constipation. But please remember to drink lots of water while taking flax seeds and like I mentioned before, slowly increase the dosage. It will be difficult to eat the flax seed powder as it is but with little creativity, it is very easy to include flax seed powder in our diet. Another delicious way of eating flax seeds apart from smoothie is by using it on toast, toast a whole wheat bread with little bit of butter. Spread a layer of your favorite jam and then sprinkle ground flax seeds on top and eat your toast. Flax seed powder can also mixed in our dosai batter. You can also include it along with the regular ingredients while making chutneys, homemade powders and even in baked goods. 3. Flax Seed For Blood Pressure & Breast Cancer: A study done for a year long on the effect of flax seeds on blood pressure proved conclusively that flax seeds indeed reduces the blood pressure. For the study, 110 patients of almost the same age, same weight, same body mass index were selected. All the patients were suffering from peripheral arterial disease and almost 75 % of the patients were suffering from high blood pressure and 80 % of the patients were taking medications for blood pressure. The group were divided into two, one group were given placebo and the other 30 mg of milled flax seeds mixed with food. The results after a year was significant, the flax seed consuming group has significantly lowered both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to the placebo group. This study has proven beyond doubt that flax seeds is indeed very good for pressure patients but please monitor your pressure levels closely and often if you are planning to take flax seeds on a day to day basis. Another important benefit to note is that flax seeds have been reported to decrease breast cancer in women and even in women who are suffering from breast cancer, mortality rate is greatly reduced. An easily available ingredient preventing breast cancer is very good news for us women... 4. Flax Seed For Hair: Hair Gel Now for the fun part of making hair gel with flax seeds! Flax seed hair gel is one of the easiest and also one of the most cost effective hair gels you can make at home. If you are looking for a natural hair gel then you will probably like this very much. To make the gel, boil around 500 ml of water with 1/4 cup of flax seeds till the water turns into a gel. The full gelling will occur somewhere around 7 to 8 minutes in medium flame. But it also varies slightly depending on the size of the pan so keep checking. Once it has gelled, remove from fire and strain using a soup strainer. Wait for it to cool till look warm and add 6 drops of your favorite essential oil. This is also a very good gift for men, for men citrus essential oils, vetiver, patchouli, cedar wood and nutmeg essential oil are all good choices. Store this gel in the refrigerator and it should last well for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator, this hair gel can be used like a regular hair gel to style the hair. 5. Flax Seeds For Skin: Poultice Flax seeds make an amazing poultice for skin. Flax seed poultice are best used for treating saggy skin. Since ground flax seeds are rich in mucilage, it helps tighten saggy skin very effectively. This poultice is also very gentle on the skin and can be used for treating double chin, cellulite and to reduce puffiness. To make the poultice, grind the flax seeds in a mixer and mix the ground flax seed meal with enough hot water, it will immediately form a thick paste. Spread the paste onto one half of a thick cotton cloth and fold the other half to seal it. To use, place the poultice over the problem area. Take a thick towel and dip it in hot water, squeeze the water and place it over the poultice. This treatment can be done weekly twice or thrice for best results. Flax seed poultices can also be used to draw out the infections and also to ease the pain if there is a swelling or pain. This is a very simple home remedy that can be used for both children and adults alike.