Flax (also known as common flax or linseed) is a member of the genus Linum in the family Linaceae. It is native to the region extending from the eastern Mediterranean to India. Flax seed are a rich source of micro nutrients, fibre and the essential fatty acids .In Hindi, it is known as alsi.
Every 100 g (3.5 oz) of flax seed contains about 30 g of carbohydrate, 43 g of fat, 20 g of proteins and in fairly good amounts of vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.
Flax Seeds provide an effective protection against cancer. Its omega -3 fatty acids disrupt malignant cells from clinging on to other body cells.
- It decreases the ratio of LDL to HDL and increases the level of lipoprotein. This property helps curbing Cholesterol levels and also helps in treatment of Heart related ailments.
- It helps to prevent hot flashes during menopausal period for women.
- It improves blood sugar levels & helps in prevention of diabetes.
- It contains Omega-3 which is important for helping you feel satiated and the fibre and protein in flax seed takes a long time for your digestive system to process, which makes you full longer.
- It contains lignans (anti-inflammatory properties) which are required in the body to heal skin inflammation.
- Flax seed contain both soluble and insoluble fibre. The insoluble fibre adds bulk to your digestive tract and helps to move things through quickly.
Flax seed as a whole should be stored in a cool, dark and dry place. Flax meal should be stored in the freezer and used up within a few weeks.
HOW TO CONSUME
One should drink plenty of water while consuming flax seed as due to its high fibre content ,it may lead to intestinal obstruction.Always start slowly.If you purchase the whole seeds, you need to grind them up to get the benefit. You can eat it raw by adding it to other foods or roast it to consume as it is.
During pregnancy, women should avoid eating flaxseed because of its oestrogen like properties. Drinking less water while consuming flax seed may lead to various gastric complaints like flatulence, stomach pains, nausea, constipation, diarrhoea, bloating and most of all lead to intestinal obstruction.
Ritu Bansal is a Homeopathy Consultant. She can be reached at bansalritu75[at]gmail.com