In the form of oil to season salads or as ground whole seeds added to yogurt and fruit salads, flax seeds are a tasty, and healthy, enrichment for our diet. In fact, these seeds are a precious source of proteins, fibers, fatty acids, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances, mineral salts such as potassium, calcium, phosphorus and iron, vitamin A and group B, which give flaxseeds anti-aging, immunostimulating, anti-obesity and cardioprotective properties (Kajla et al, J Food Sci Technol, 2015). But let's understand better on the basis of the most recent scientific research.
Flax seeds, inflammation and immune system
Flax seeds, thanks to their content in alpha linolenic acid, fibers and lignans, are able to reduce circulating pro-inflammatory substances, such as interleukin 6 or tumor necrosis factor alpha. Chronic inflammation, when not countered, can increase the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, infections and cancers and lower the immune system. Flax seeds, both in the form of ground whole seeds and in the form of oil, can reduce inflammation with obvious health benefits. It should be emphasized that linseed oil contains, compared to ground seeds, the greater amount of alpha linolenic acid (Rahimlou et al, Adv Nutr, 2019). As mentioned, flax seeds contribute to the well-being of the immune system since, by reducing chronic inflammation, they prevent this condition from weakening our natural defenses. But that's not all. In fact, flax seeds are also able to stimulate the action of particular cells of the immune system, the T-h1 lymphocytes, responsible for the elimination of viruses from the body (Hussell et al, Journal of general virology, 1996). An even greater antiviral action was observed by combining flaxseed oil with probiotics, which can be taken as supplements or by enjoying yogurt and drinks that have their probiotic content on the label (Chytilova et al, Res Vet Sci, 2013).
Flax seeds and anti-aging properties
Flax seeds counteract free radical damage and aging processes thanks to their antioxidant properties. In particular, the anti-aging action of these precious seeds is given by a substance, secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (Parikh et al, Nutrients, 2019). Flax seeds are also anticancer, showing to be protective, for example, against breast cancer (Parikh et al, Nutrients, 2019).
Flax seeds against obesity
Flax seeds, when integrated into a healthy and varied diet, can help fight overweight and obesity. First of all, in fact, flax seeds, when consumed ground, provide fibers, which help you feel full for longer (Goyal et al, J Food Sci Technol., 2014). Then, flax seeds, both ground and in the form of oil, counteract chronic inflammation, which, as we have seen, in the long run can increase the risk of overweight. Not only that, flax seeds help keep blood sugar and insulin resistance under control, conditions that would pave the way for the accumulation of fat. In addition, the alpha linolenic fatty acids in flaxseed work by increasing a substance, leptin, which is a protein that controls hunger and energy expenditure. When leptin decreases, the signal is sent to the brain that it is necessary to ingest more food and increase the accumulation of fat, on the contrary, when the leptin values increase, then the sense of hunger and the accumulations of fat, which is instead used to produce more energy, decrease (Goyal et al, J Food Sci Technol., 2014). Finally, it has been observed that flax seeds included in a healthy and varied diet can support cognitive function and counteract mental fatigue in overweight or obese children. In fact, in these cases, flax seeds attenuate the inflammation caused by overweight and thus allow the brain to function at its best (Gjolami et al, Br J Nutr, 2021).
Flax seeds, heart and diabetes
Flax seeds have a cardioprotective action. In fact, the intake of flax seeds, thanks to their alpha linolenic acid content, has been shown to help reduce blood pressure as well as exert an antithrombotic action (Parikh et al, Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol, 2018). Not only that, flax seeds lower bad LDL cholesterol and also help lower blood sugar in people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes (Parikh et al, Nutrients, 2019).