In part one of this article, you learned that flax seeds contain many healthy antioxidants including vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids. While there is some controversy over whether or not consuming flax is helpful for preventing cancer, there is a good deal of research which demonstrates how flax seeds may benefit health in many other ways.
Flax seeds are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber may help lower blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of glucose through the small intestine, which prevents the rapid insulin spikes that can occur after eating.
Research also suggests that whole flaxseed (not flaxseed oil) is associated with a decrease in blood glucose and insulin, and it ultimately has significant effects on improving glycemic control.
Due to the combination of both healthy fats and the high fiber content in flax seeds, they are great for people who want to achieve healthy weight loss. Flax seeds are also very low in carbohydrates, so they are ideal for people who limit their intake of starches and sugars while following a low carb/low glycemic diet. In fact, many protestors of low carbohydrate diets argue that this type of diet is harmful as it hinders a person’s ability to consume an adequate amount of fiber. But, flax is a good alternative source of fiber that doesn’t cause the spike in insulin levels the way other fiber sources do (breads, cereals, etc.).
Lowering Cholesterol Naturally
Both flax seeds and flaxseed oil have been used to help reduce total blood cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels. The lignans in flax seed may also help slow the progression of plaques and decreasing oxidative stress that harms the lining of blood vessels. It is important to note that although flaxseed oil also contains omega-3 fatty acids, it doesn’t have the beneficial fiber that the seeds have.
Originally published in 2012, this blog has been updated.