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Flax Seed: The Superfood For Glowing Hair And Healthy Skin (And Other Benefits!)

Flax Seed: The Superfood For Glowing Hair And Healthy Skin (And Other Benefits!)

Want an easy and delicious way to boost your daily nutritional intake? Look no further than flax seeds, your new go-to miracle food. These stellar seeds are severely misunderstood as they are considered to be bland and dry. They are loaded with nutrients and have incredible binding properties which is a must-have for vegan baking. With the correct preparation, you will start to realize that they are a pantry essential.

It’s so versatile, you can wear flax as well as eat it!

Flax seed was originally cultivated in the Middle East around the era of 2000 B.C.[1] Through the effects of foreign trade and demand, flax production has dispersed throughout the globe, with Canada being it’s leading producer; followed by Russia, France, and Argentina.

Because flax seed was recognized for its abundance of fiber early on, it has always been used for both culinary and textile purposes. The flax seed market has been steadily increasing in recent years due to its long over-due recognition for its nourishing properties, as well as it’s textile durability.

Flax seed is little in size but it contains many nutrients!

Just 1 ounce of flax seeds (equal to 3 tablespoons) will provide you with:

• Omega-3

• Fiber 8g

• Protein 6g

• Vitamin B1 31% RDA

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• Mangenese 35% RDA

Don’t be fooled by their teeny tiny size, these little suckers pack quite a beneficial punch. In addition to the nutrients listed, flax seeds are also abundant in phosphorus, selenium, vitamin B6, iron, potassium, copper and zinc. To ensure that you are getting enough flax, add at least 2 tablespoons to your daily routine!

Flax offers way more than just fiber!

If you are familiar with flax seed, then you may already know that it’s packed with fiber which is vital for regulating cholesterol levels as well as blood sugar levels. But what else do these helpful little seeds have to offer?[2]

Healthy Skin and Hair

Flax seeds contain ALA fats which benefit the skin and hair by providing essential fats and B vitamins which reduces flakiness and dryness which can lead to dandruff. It can also help to decrease the appearance of acne, rosacea and eczema. Flax has also been found to reduce dry eyes.

High in Anti-Oxidants

The antioxidants found in flax seeds are known as Lignans. These are fiber-related polyphenols that provide us with anti-aging benefits, as well as hormone balance and cellular health. Polyphenols support the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut, and can help to eliminate candida or yeast growth. But that’s not all! They also contain anti-viral as well as anti-bacterial properties; strengthening your immune system.

Digestive Health

One of the reasons why flax is so beneficial is because of its high concentration of mucilage which is a gel-forming fiber that is water soluble and helps to aid in nutrient absorption. The ALA fats help to protect the lining of the digestive tract and maintaining overall GI performance.

Reduce the Risk of Some Cancers

It has been speculated that flax seeds can reduce the risk of breast cancer, and in some cases reverse the effects. The three lignans (antioxidants) found in flax seed naturally balance hormones, and are therefore extremely important for women’s health. Flax also has been reported to aid in battling colon, prostate, and ovarian cancer.

Alleviate Menopause

Because of its hormone balancing capabilities, flax and its derivatives are the elixir of life for women going through menopause because it contains estrogenic properties. It has shown successful results for the reduction of hot flashes.

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Cardiovascular Benefits

The ALA fats present in flax have extraordinary anti-inflammatory properties and can protect blood vessels from damage. Because it also helps to greatly reduce the presence of cholesterol, flax helps to keep the arteries clear of any clogging.

Treat Carpel Tunnel Syndrome

When applied directly to the wrist, flax seed oil can greatly reduce the progression of carpel tunnel, and perhaps even reverse it.[3]

Is there such a thing as too much flax?

Adding flax seeds to your diet could increase bowel movements, and in some cases cause gastrointestinal distress with symptoms such as: bloating, gas, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, stomachache and nausea.[4] Pregnant women are not recommended to consume flax because of the presence of estrogen.

There’s more than one way to eat a flax

Flax can be consumed in a few different ways:[5]

• There is brown flax seed which can be consumed whole as either raw or toasted.- To consume this, just sprinkle it on top of your granola, yogurt, salad, or literally anything.

• There is also golden flax seed, which like it’s brown counterpart can be eaten either as toasted or raw. – Serving instructions are identical to that of the brown flax.

• Flax is commonly ground into a meal, and incorporated into shakes or mixes for baking or cooking. It is a great base for raw breads and wraps, as well as an excellent binder and egg replacement.

• Lastly, flax seed oil is also readily available. Flax oil is more commonly used for topical purposes, but serves just as well as a food item.

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Some yummy flax seed recipes you need to try!

Flax Seed Crackers

    A crispy, satisfying way to add more flax to your snacks!

    Flax Seed Oatmeal Pancakes

      Start your day off right with a nutrient dense breakfast.

      Blueberry Super Smoothie

        After trying this recipe , you’ll be putting flax on everything!

        Keto Wraps

          An easy guilt-free addition for a low- carb meal!

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          Gluten-free Muffins

            You’re spoiled for choice with 25 muffin recipes!

            Banana Bread

              A classic favorite, with a hidden healthy twist!

              Apple Cinnamon Cookie Energy Bites

                A simple snack to chow on when you need a healthy pick-me-up.

                Too much of a good thing is bad, be aware of over-consumption!

                Because the over-consumption of flax seeds can lead to GI problems, it is not recommended that you exceed more than 50g of flax seed daily.

                To safely (and comfortably) reap the benefits of this miraculous seed, consume 2 tablespoons of ground flax, or 3 tablespoons of whole flax seeds daily.

                Reference

                [1] The World’s Healthiest Foods: Flaxseeds
                [2] Dr. Axe: 10 Flax Seed Benefits and Nutrition Facts
                [3] Green Med Info: External Flaxseed Oil Treats Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
                [4] WebMD: Flaxseed
                [5] Health Castle: Flax Seeds – Which Kind to Choose and What Health Benefits?

                More by this author

                Jenn Beach

                Traveling vagabond, freelance writer, & plantbased food enthusiast.

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                Last Updated on February 21, 2019

                12 Best Brain Foods That Improve Memory and Boost Brain Power

                12 Best Brain Foods That Improve Memory and Boost Brain Power

                Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

                But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

                I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

                Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

                1. Nuts

                The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

                Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

                Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

                Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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                2. Blueberries

                Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

                When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

                3. Tomatoes

                Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

                4. Broccoli

                While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

                Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

                Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

                5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

                Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

                The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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                Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

                6. Soy

                Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

                Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

                Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

                7. Dark chocolate

                When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

                Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

                15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

                8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

                Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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                B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

                Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

                Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

                To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

                9. Foods Rich in Zinc

                Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

                Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

                Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

                10. Gingko biloba

                This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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                It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

                However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

                11. Green and black tea

                Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

                Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

                Find out more about green tea here:

                11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

                12. Sage and Rosemary

                Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

                Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

                When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

                More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

                Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                Reference

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