Flax seeds are a trend on our plate and in our beauty products. Can they help us lose weight, fight constipation, hydrate our skin? In what form to consume them and in what quantity? The answers of our expert, dietician-nutritionist.
Origin: where do flax seeds come from?
Flax seeds come from flax (Linum Usitatissimum), a plant in the Linaceae family (Linaceae). Flax is native to Eurasia. In France, flax is cultivated in Calvados, Eure, Picardy, Pas-de-Calais, Seine-et-Marne and Seine-Maritime.
Flax seeds are harvested in July. They are oil seeds.
Nutritional composition: what do flax seeds contain?
“These small oil seeds contain many substances essential to the body,” says Aurore Lavergnat, dietician-nutritionist.
- Omega-3: “These essential fatty acids are not synthesized by the body, warns the dietitian. They must therefore be provided by food. And we are not consuming enough. With 2 tablespoons of flax seeds daily , we have 100% of the recommended nutritional intake of omega-3 . “
- Fiber: flax seeds are very rich in fiber. They contain 30 g per 100 g! Or all of the daily needs.
- Lignans: “These are phytoestrogens that mimic natural estrogens,” explains the dietitian. Flax seeds are very rich in them. However, lignans reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. “
- Vitamin B 9 (folate): flax seeds contain 93.7 micrograms of vitamin B9 per 100 g. The daily requirement is 300 micrograms for adults and 400 micrograms for pregnant women.
- Selenium: it is an antioxidant. There are 28 micrograms per 100 g in flax seeds when the daily requirement is 60 micrograms.
- Calcium: flax seeds provide 228 mg of calcium per 100 g when the daily requirement is 1000 mg.
- Magnesium: flax seeds contain 372 mg per 100 g, and the recommended daily intake is 6 mg per kilo of weight and per day, that is, on average, between 360 mg and 420 mg.
- Manganese: flax seeds contain 2.48 mg / 100 g of this antioxidant. The recommended daily intakes are between 1 and 2.5 mg.
- Iron: flax seeds contain 10.2 mg of iron per 100 g. The daily requirement is 9 mg for adults, nursing mothers, and postmenopausal women. They drop to 16 mg for regulated women and 25 mg for pregnant women. “Be careful,” warns the dietician, “it is non-heme iron, less well absorbed than heme iron. “
The health benefits of flax seeds
Thanks to their exciting nutritional composition, flax seeds have many health benefits. Hence the interest in consuming it very regularly.
“Flax seeds contain both soluble fibers which swell on contact with water in the body, form mucilage and have a double effect: ballast and satiating,” explains Aurore Lavergnat, and insoluble fibers undigested by the body and which therefore have a beneficial effect on transit.
We can do flaxseed cures of 4, 5, to 6 days until the transit is regularized. To see the effectiveness of flax seeds, it takes 24 to 48 hours. “
As part of a slimming diet
“Flax seeds promote flatter stomachs and reduce bloating and gas ,” says the dietitian. Composed of good fats, they can facilitate weight loss, provided they are included in a balanced diet. So don’t worry, even though they provide 534 calories per 100g.
To limit the risk of breast cancer.
“Flax seeds are rich in lignans , these phytoestrogens reduce the risk of developing breast cancer , especially in postmenopausal women ,” says Aurore Lavergnat.
To maintain the cardiovascular system.
“Flax seeds contain antioxidant phytosterols,” informs the dietitian. These promote a drop in bad cholesterol and blood pressure. Without also forgetting omega-3, which reduces cardiovascular risks, such as heart attack, for example. “
For pregnant women
“Flax seeds provide a significant amount of vitamin B9, or folate, essential for pregnant women, even as soon as pregnancy is planned,” explains Aurore Lavergnat. This vitamin is essential for limiting the risk of malformations of the nervous system in the fetus, such as spina bifida. It is also necessary for the development of the brain of the future baby. “
“Flax seeds provide iron , even if it is vegetable and less well absorbed by the body. They are also appreciable for their protein content, of the order of 23 g per 100 g. “
An anti-aging benefit
“Thanks to their good fats – omega-3s – flax seeds promote cell renewal,” says the dietitian.
Flax seeds: dangers?
There are specific contraindications to the consumption of flax seeds. Aurore Lavergnat details them.
- In case of irritable colon.
- In the case of intestinal diverticula.
- In case of intestinal obstruction.
- When taking medication because the flax seeds absorb the molecules, which reduces the effectiveness of the medicine. Remember to consume flax seeds at least two hours away from a drug intake.
- – Flax seeds are not suitable for children under three years old. In juniors, it should not exceed 1 teaspoon per day, and in adolescents, 1 tablespoon.
- – They are not recommended in breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, uterine fibroids, etc.
How to eat flax seeds: ground, oil?
Flax seeds come whole, ground, or as an oil. Is there a better way to consume them? Yes! Aurore Lavergnat’s explanations.
“Flax seeds must be ground to benefit in particular from their fatty acids when the body does not assimilate eaten whole, the fatty acids in flax seeds. On the other hand, if chewed well, whole grains can have a little satiating effect.
“In the form of oil, we benefit from their omega-3 fatty acids, but more from their fibers! “
How to keep them?
Flax seeds are highly oxidizable due to the presence of Omega-3 fatty acids. Ground, they keep for seven days in the refrigerator. Linseed oil, 3 months. Beyond that, they become rancid.
How many flaxseeds daily?
Rich in fiber, flax seeds should be introduced gradually into the diet to limit the risk of intestinal disorders. “We start with one teaspoon per day and increase gradually without exceeding two tablespoons per day,” advises Aurore Lavergnat.
- Pesto: put half almonds (or pine nuts) and half linseed (1 to 2 tbsp) / olive oil + basil. Mix everything.
- Dressing: Emulsify 2 tbsp. To s. olive oil with 1 tbsp. To s. vinegar, 1 tbsp. To c. mustard and 1 tbsp. To s. of flax seeds. Pour over green salads, mixed salads, avocado …
- Breadcrumbs: mix oatmeal with flax seeds, spices, herbs and sprinkle on a mash just before serving.
- Crunchy yogurt: Add 1 to 2 tbsp. To s. of flax seeds in a natural yogurt + a few cubes of seasonal fruits, and a pinch of cinnamon, vanilla, or tonka bean.
- Smoothie: mix one banana with one orange juice and sprinkle with flax seeds.
- Compote: stew two pears and two diced apples with 1 tbsp. To s. of liquid honey. Blend or mash with a fork. Just before serving, sprinkle with flax seeds.
- Soup: cook diced seasonal vegetables (carrot, turnip, celery, leek…) with thyme, bay leaf in a large pot of salted boiling water. When cooking, add 1 to 2 tbsp. To s. of flax seeds.
- Vegetable puree: carrot, celery, sweet potato, zucchini puree… Before serving, sprinkle with flax seeds for a bit of crunch.
Good to know: the flax seeds are added after cooking. The reason? They are rich in essential Omega-3 fatty acids, which, when cooked, convert into trans fatty acids. These promote an increase in cholesterol levels and increase the risk of blood clots. So, we avoid it!
The beauty benefits of flax seeds
Flax seeds are also helpful in the bathroom.
Flax seeds can therefore be used to make beauty products.
How to make your linseed gel?
Pour two tablespoons of flax seeds in 250 to 300 ml of mineral water. Boil 10 to 15 min, stirring regularly to prevent the flax seeds from sticking to the bottom of the pan. When cooked, filter the preparation through a cheesecloth. Store the linseed gel for a maximum of 7 days in the refrigerator.
Moisturize the hair
After shampooing, wring out the hair well. Take a nut of linseed gel in your hand. Apply it to the lengths. Leave on for about 15 to 20 minutes while the linseed gel dries. Rinse or, more quickly, brush the hair to remove the linen gel.
Redraw hair curls
Linen gel is also applied to curly hair to draw the curls well. It does not rinse. It is enough to style your hair after application.
Dry skin mask
Take a tablespoon of linseed gel. Add a few drops of almond vegetable oil. To mix. Apply a thick layer on the face. Leave on for 15 minutes before rinsing.
And now, it’s your turn!