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Sometimes adding or replacing one ingredient with another in our meals is enough to make them more nutritious and healthy. Have you heard about flax or flaxseed? Discover more details about the powers of this seed, easy to incorporate into your dishes, and also the cases in which you should avoid it.

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History of FlaxseedFlaxseed: a small but powerful ingredient
During the last years we have begun to know and to revalue the properties and the advantages that the seeds can bring to our body. Among them, flax or linseed can be a nutritious ingredient for your meals, whether you consume them whole, ground or in oil.

Linseed or flax seeds were cultivated in Babylon from the year 3,000 BC and already in the eighth century, King Charlemagne believed in the great benefits of these seeds for health, so much so that he passed a law in which he demanded his subordinates who consumed them. What was then known intuitively, is now being corroborated by science.

Flaxseed or linseed are an important source of the so-called omega-3 fatty acids, of the gamma-alpha linoleic acid type, which make up the group of so-called healthy fats, because they help to keep cholesterol under control and, thus, to take care of the health of the heart. In a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in patients who had high cholesterol who received a supplement of flaxseed extract in 2008, it was found that at 8 weeks, their bad cholesterol (LDL, for its acronym in English) was much less. The exact mechanism of how he does it is being investigated.
PropertiesFlaxseed: a small but powerful ingredient
Omega-3 fatty acids together with omega-6 fatty acids are known as essential fatty acids because the body can not produce them on its own and must obtain them from food.

In addition, flaxseed contains fiber, both soluble and insoluble, which helps normalize intestinal transit (and the possibility of suffering from constipation) and animal studies conducted at the University of Maryland Medical Center suggest that it could help delay the growth of some types of cancer (such as breast cancer and prostate cancer). But the studies that have been done so far in humans have had conflicting results and it is necessary to do more research in this regard.
NutrientsFlaxseed: a small but powerful ingredient
And these are just the main nutrients of flaxseed that make it a healthy alternative for your meals. Of course, as the seeds do not decompose during digestion, if you want to take advantage of all the nutrients it is necessary that you consume it ground (you must grind it at the moment of eating it or keep it in the refrigerator or refrigerator once ground so that it does not lose its properties) . If you prefer to eat whole, then you will only take advantage of some of its benefits, in particular to regularize the function of the intestines, but you will not take advantage of others.
MedicinalFlaxseed: a small but powerful ingredient
There are people who use flaxseed in a medicinal way. In these cases, you should be careful with the amount you consume and the possible interactions with other medicines or with your health since, for example, it may delay the blood clotting (the National Institutes of Health mention it among their risks). And while its consumption is safe for most people, it is not recommended for pregnant women or during breastfeeding.
Benefits to healthFlaxseed: a small but powerful ingredient
In addition, not all the benefits attributed to these seeds are proven. The Comprehensive Database of Natural Medicines (Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database) considers that flaxseed is "possibly effective" for:

Lower a measure of the average blood sugar level over the past 3 months, called hemoglobin A1c (but not the fasting blood sugar level, insulin levels or blood fats), in people with diabetes type 2
Lower the level of cholesterol, in people with high cholesterol, and significantly reduce total cholesterol and the so-called "bad" cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein or LDL, for its acronym in English), in people with normal levels of cholesterol. But, it does not have much effect on "good" cholesterol (high density lipoprotein or HDL, for its acronym in English) or affect the level of triglycerides (although the partially defatted flaxseed, without so much content of alpha linoleic acid, can increase triglycerides).
Improve the function of the kidneys, in people with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Alleviate the mild symptoms of menopause. Here, the amount is important: take 40 grams of flaxseed a day seems to decrease hot flashes (hot flashes) and night sweats, but less than 25 grams a day does not seem to work.
BewareFlaxseed: a small but powerful ingredient
On the other hand, the American Association Against Cancer, on its website, mentions that caution should be exercised with products that are sold as supplements because, unlike the companies that manufacture medicines, those that manufacture the supplements do not have to check that they are safe and / or effective, or that they prevent, treat or cure any disease. It also says that many products do not contain the amount of the herb or the substance or ingredients mentioned on the label (which may vary from batch to batch) and may contain contaminants, even though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) He tried to change the regulations in 2007. And they can interact not only with other medicines and other herbs, but even with food. And for these reasons, the information we have is incomplete.
ChangesFlaxseed: a small but powerful ingredient
It is easy to think that flax is like a magical food, but unfortunately, for the moment there is no such thing. It is worth nothing to add a portion of seeds to your diet if you do not follow a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Of course, changes are not achieved from one day to the next but they are achieved over time, and the ideal is to add new nutrients to your meals and replace less healthy foods with others that are more nutritious. In this sense, flax seeds can be your great ally to start.
AnimateFlaxseed: a small but powerful ingredient
Cheer up! You can spread them whole or in powder over your salads or in liquid or solid preparations, such as stews, soups or yogurt, as well as in your recipes for breads and other baked goods.
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