Flax seeds have been respected for their health benefits since Ancient Greek times. The father of medicine, Hippocrates, encouraged patients to eat flax seeds for abdominal trouble1 .
Later, during the medieval period, St Hildegard of Bingen – nun, mystic, and visionary – encouraged parishioners in her care to eat flaxseeds to promote healing2 .
We’re going to investigate if the ancients were right about flaxseeds. First, we’ll see what science has to say about these delicious seeds’ health benefits and then look at their nutritional content. We’ll advise you how to enjoy more flax seeds in your diet, and, finally, warn of any side effects.
Benefits of eating flax seeds
Flax seeds offer a whole host of health benefits, including:
- Support heart health. Flax seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, which support you heart health.3 .
- Support bowel health. Flax seeds contain fibre and support bowel health4 .
- Lower cholesterol. High cholesterol is linked to a wide variety of adverse health outcomes. Flax seeds can help to maintain normal blood cholesterol levels5 .
- Lower blood pressure. Flax seeds can help to lower blood pressure6 .
- Normalise blood sugar.7 . Happily, those who eat flax seeds are more likely to have blood sugar within the normal, healthy range8 .
Flax seeds nutrition
A 14g portion (2 tablespoons) of flax seeds contains9 :
- 133% of your daily omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fats support hearth health.10 .
- 19% of your daily recommended thiamin. Thiamin contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism and keeps the nervous system healthy11 .
- 19% of your daily recommended copper. Copper contributes to normal iron transport in the body12 .
How to get more flax seeds in your diet
Flax seeds are an incredibly versatile ingredient, that can be used to make vegan and keto-friendly food.
Enjoy adding flax seeds to your diet, with these ideas for tasty dishes:
- Flaxseed bread. Make keto-friendly bread with only flaxseed meal, baking powder, salt, and water.
- Flaxseed cookies. Enjoy grain-free cookies by combining flaxseed meal with raisins or cacao nibs, and sweeteners of your choice.
- Flaxseed smoothies. Add a tablespoon of flax seeds to your favourite smoothie for a nutrient hit.
Flax seeds side effects
Make sure not to eat too many flax seeds, as excessive consumption has been linked to diarrhoea13 .
If you’re on blood thinners, only enjoy flax seeds in consultation with a medical professional. Flax seeds may negatively interact with blood-thinning medication14 .
If you begin to itch or experience swelling after eating flaxseeds, you’re likely allergic and should stop eating them immediately15 .
Last Updated: 4th November 2020