Flaxseeds – Mini Yet Mighty
And packed with the good stuff.
Also known as linseeds, flax is one of the oldest crops in civilization. First grown in Egypt and China, they’ve had a place in ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Not so coincidentally, the Latin name Linum usitatissimum means “very useful”.
Health Benefits of Flaxseeds
Flaxseeds are minuscule seeds that have three components thought to have health benefits.
Flaxseeds are made up of 29% carbohydrates, of which 95% is fibre! Fibre is great for gut health in several ways. Firstly, it keeps your digestive tract regular, this is important for proper clearance of excess compounds (including hormones and cholesterol!). It also helps to slow the absorption of digested carbohydrates into the bloodstream – this better regulates your blood sugar levels (1). Fibre also helps your good gut bacteria thrive – so that they can continue to do their job and manage bad bacteria build-ups (2). Lastly, fibre helps you stay fuller for longer – unlike other carbohydrates, fibre doesn’t break down into simpler sugars while in the gut – it stays intact, adding bulk (without the calories) and keeps those pesky ‘hangry’ feelings away (3).
What actually is fibre? Fibre refers to any part of plant-based foods that cannot be absorbed or broken down by our digestive system when consumed. Unlike simpler carbohydrates, fibre is a complex carbohydrate that does not raise blood sugar levels. Fibre can either be soluble (dissolves in water and broken down to a gel-like substance in the gut) or insoluble (remains intact in and back out of the gut!). Both types provide their own health benefits. Flaxseed contains both soluble and insoluble fibre.
ALA is an essential fatty acid. This means your body can’t produce it and so, for proper growth and development, we must get it through our diet. It is one of many omega 3 fatty acids – you may have heard of EPA and DHA – these are also omega 3 fatty acids, however, these are mostly found in oily fish, while ALA is mostly found in plants. Flaxseeds are one of the highest natural sources of ALA! ALA is known best for its protective effects on heart health and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Lignan secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG)
We know, it’s a total mouthful – but to put it simply, lignans are precursors to phytoestrogens (which produce effects similar to that of estrogen). On top of that, they also have antioxidant qualities. SDG is a certain type of lignan that has a wide variety of health benefits including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory effects, protection against conditions such as cardiovascular disease by lowering blood glucose and lipid concentrations as well as blood pressure and even protect against the development of hormone-sensitive cancers, like certain types of breast and prostate cancers (4)! Talk about a multi-tasker.
Pro Tip: Studies show that to get the full benefits of flaxseeds, it’s best to consume them ground – as much of the good stuff is locked into whole flax seeds which the body can’t break down.
Some studies have also suggested that flaxseeds may help regulate a healthy, strong menstrual cycle. Firstly, consuming ground flaxseed may help to produce an ovulatory cycle (yes, you can have a period but not ovulate!). Secondly, it may help to prolong women’s luteal phase (time between ovulation and starting a period) (5).
If you’re having issues with a short luteal phase or irregular cycle, a daily flaxseed supplement could help even things out!
Other studies looked into the benefits of flaxseeds on stress perception (how you and your body deals with stress!). A study suggested that consumption of flaxseeds may help to decrease hormones epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol (6) – all key controllers of your stress response. Another study looked at menopausal women’s blood pressure changes in response to doing a stressful task which indicated that flaxseed consumption helped to control blood pressure when under environmental pressure. Also, blood cortisol levels were decreased compared to controls (7).
Feeling stressed, a bit wired or on edge? It could be worth trying a flaxseed supplement to keep you cool as a cucumber.
Pro You Organic Flaxseed
Your health comes first and so the ingredients we choose are under strict instructions to be the best sources possible to find. After all, we can only expect a good quality product if every single ingredient is the best quality possible. And you deserve no less than the best!
While New Zealand has a lot of incredible ingredients, it doesn’t have everything under the sun. Thankfully there are flaxseeds! By sourcing local, New Zealand flax seeds our economic footprint is reduced as we aren’t having to fly or ship it in from overseas.
They are processed here too. Whole flaxseeds are processed to produce oil and flaxseed flakes through a cold extraction process. These flaxseed flakes are then milled to create flaxseed fibre – which is what we use in our Protein blends! We use flaxseed fibre as opposed to whole flaxseeds because much of their goodness is encased on the inside – which your body can’t otherwise get.
On top of this, Pro You flaxseeds are certified organic, meaning they have grown free of pesticides and other nasty sprays.
Flaxseeds don’t have a strong taste – you may not even notice them there – however your body will and it will thank you for it!