FlaxSeed: Possible Health Benefits and Side Effects

Written by - Reviewed by Consumer Health Digest Team

Published: Aug 22, 2014 | Last Updated: Sep 27, 2018


Flaxseed is obtained from a plant by the botanical name Linum usitassimum. The oil from the seed is extracted for medicinal purposes. Commonly, people use flaxseed in treating several issues concerning gastrointestinal tracts, such as constipation, damaged colon due to overconsumption of laxatives, diarrhea, and inflammation of large intestines, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammation of the large and small intestines.

Additional uses of flaxseed include treating disorders like heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and coronary artery disease. Acne, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), kidney problems, menopausal symptoms, and breast pain are also dealt with by flaxseed. Recently, it was found out that flaxseed can help people in dealing with weight loss, depression, obesity, HIV/AIDS, bladder problems, malaria and rheumatoid arthritis.

How it Works?

Flaxseed is a reliable source of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. If taken before meal, the high-fiber content helps in making a person feel less hungry, such that you end up eating less food. In reference to studies, it is alleged that the fiber binds with cholesterol in the intestines preventing it from being absorbed by your body. Additionally, flaxseed makes platelets that are less sticky. The combined role that flax seed play on cholesterol and blood clotting lowers the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

What Flaxseed Contain?

Flaxseed comes with plenty of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which happens to be a plant-derived omega-3 fatty acid, commonly found in fish oils. Additionally, flaxseed has lignans, which contains phytoestrogenic and antioxidant properties plus high fiber content. Lignans are renowned to help the heart gain anti-cancer properties.

Benefits of Flaxseed

  • Reduces severity of diabetes by controlling blood-sugar levels.
  • Maintains healthy cholesterol levels and blood pressure
  • Averts plague formation in arteries
  • Has anti-cancer properties
  • Prevent tumor formation
  • Helps in weight loss

Side Effects

Although flaxseed promotes the healing of inner testiness, the laxative effects of flaxseed can cause diarrhea, frequent bowel movement, or abdominal discomforts. There have been cases of severe allergic reactions, though rare, from the use of flaxseed oils and other Linacea plant products. If you suffer from narrowing of the esophagus or intestines, and bowel obstruction, avoid flaxseed.

Final Verdict

The high fiber that flaxseed contain helps in weight loss by improving satiety levels. Another advantage of flaxseed is its role in lowering cholesterol levels in the blood stream, which is linked to heart disease, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. It is recommendable to consult your physician before resorting to any supplements, let alone flaxseed.

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