Flax (linumustiatissimum) is a plant which belongs to the family of linaceae with seeds commonly known as flaxseeds or linseeds. Flaxseeds is used to describe flax when consumed as a food by humans while linseeds is used to describe flax when it is used in the industry and food purpose. Brown flax and golden flax (also called yellow flax) are the two basic varieties of flax with similar nutritional composition. The yellow flaxseeds also known as solin (linola) is low in omega-3 fatty acid. Various edible forms of flaxseeds are available in the food market- whole flaxseeds, milled flaxseeds, roasted flaxseeds and flaxseed oil.
Flaxseeds contains 23.4% protein, 45.2% lipids and 3.5% minerals. Flaxseeds is an important source of omega-3 fatty acids, especially ALA (Alpha linolenic acid) can help to protect the blood vessels from inflammatory damage.
Numerous studies have shown that the ability of dietary flaxseeds to increase blood levels of alpha linolenic acid, even when those flaxseeds have been ground and incorporated into baked goods like bread or muffins.
When flaxseeds are consumed, two other omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to increase in the bloodstream namely Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Decosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Increase in EPA and DHA also helps in the inflammatory protection.
Research also suggest that plant omega-3 fatty acids helps prevent hardening of the arteries and keep plaque from being deposited in the arteries partly by keeping white blood cells from sticking to the blood vessels inner lining.
Flaxseeds also contains lignans, lignans can inhibit the formation of Platelet Activating Factor (PAF), which increases the risk of inflammation when produced in excessive amounts. Lignans in flaxseeds have been shown to reduce atherosclerotic plaque buildup by upto 75%. Because plant omega-3 fatty acids may also play a role in maintaining the heart natural rhythm, they may be useful in treating arrhythmia and heart failure.
Eating flaxseeds daily may also help your cholesterol levels. The level of low density lipoprotein(LDL) or bad cholesterol in the bloodstream has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
Flaxseeds also contains soluble fibre that helps to reduce cholesterol level by trapping fat and cholesterol in the digestive system so its unable to be absorbed. Soluble fibre also traps bile which is made from cholesterol in the gall bladder. The bile is then excreted through the digestive system, forcing the body to making more, using up excess cholesterol in the blood and therefore lowering cholesterol.
Research studies shows that 30 grams of flaxseeds daily for 40 days helps for improving cardiovascular health.
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