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Flax seeds: What makes them so special?


a bowl of flax seeds on a table

You have probably heard of flax seeds, but do you know all of its benefits? First let’s look at what they are made of. Flax seeds are rich in soluble fiber, lignans (which are a phytoestrogen that mimics estrogen), protein, and alpha lioplic acid (which is a type of omega 3 fatty acid). Let’s break these down a bit more.


● We need fiber every today to help us feel satiated, support regular bowel movements, support the growth of beneficial bacteria in our gut, assist in our detoxification process, reduce cholesterol levels, support heart health, and so much more! As a fiber rich source, it binds to toxins in the body and helps eliminate them through the detoxification process. When we are not passing bowel movements effectively, those toxins can stay in our intestines, which can increase the likelihood of them being reabsorbed in our body again, and that can have negative effects on our overall health.


● As a phystoestrogen, they are considered to be a “mild estrogen”. Flax seeds can help balance estrogen levels in the body by affecting estrogen metabolism. In perimenopause, 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds have been shown to reduce vaginal dryness and hot flashes. But it doesn’t stop there! Flax seeds can also be helpful in other reproductive health conditions such as PCOS, where they can reduce androgen levels.


● Flax seeds are a great source of protein and fiber, which are both needed to promote satiety. This can help reduce cravings, prevent over eating, and help support weight loss goals.


● Its use in chronic conditions has been well known for years. Having a chronic condition can make activities of daily living hard and can affect your quality of life. There are many treatment options available, but flax seeds can play a huge role! Flax seeds have been shown to support blood sugar management in diabetes, reduce blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, reduce the risk of heart attacks, lower the risk of breast cancer, and reduce the severity of arthritis symptoms.


It is best to prepare flax seeds as a grounded powder. I often recommend to grind flax seeds at home (you may grind enough for the whole week if that is easiest), and keep it in the fridge to prevent them from going bad. If you buy flax seeds pre-ground, ensure you look at the expiry date and don’t buy sources that have been on the shelves for multiple days.


If you don’t know where to start to add ground flax seeds into your diet, let me give you some tips:


● Add it on top of your oatmeal or yogurt

● Add them into your recipe for baking cakes and bread

● Incorporate them into your nutrient dense smoothie

● Add a tablespoon on your toast with nut butter


Let’s show some love to flax seeds!


Dr. Ishani Patel is a board certified Naturopathic Doctor who has a clinical focus in women’s health, hormones, digestive health, and autoimmunity. She is dedicated to helping her patients determine the root cause of their health concerns, help them find balance in their life, prevent disease or a worsening of their health conditions, and help them live their optimal state of health.


You can connect with Dr. Patel through her website drishanipatelnd.com, by email at ishanipatelnd@gmail.com, or reaching out to her on Instagram @drishanipatel.nd.

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