Flax Seeds For Weight Loss – How To Eat, Benefits, Precaution

Reviewed by Jess Wharton, Registered Clinical & Holistic Nutritionist
by Charushila Biswas
ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition

If you want to kick-start weight loss, add flaxseeds to your diet. These tiny seeds are loaded with omega-3, fiber, protein, and antioxidants that help mobilize fat. But flax seeds work best when they are consumed in the right form. This article tells you what’s the right way to eat flax seeds, how flax seeds aid weight loss, their benefits, and precautions. Scroll down!

How Do Flax Seeds Aid Weight Loss?

Flaxseeds (Linum usitatissimum) are low in calories and packed with omega-3 fatty acids, ALA, proteins, dietary fiber, and antioxidants. They may aid weight loss by boosting metabolism, improving digestion, reducing inflammation, and increasing satiety.

1. Flax Seeds Are Rich In Omega-3 Fatty Acid

Flax seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (1). Most diets are loaded with omega-6 fatty acids, which disrupts the normal omega-3 to omega-6 ratio (2). This leads to chronic inflammation in the body and consequent weight gain (3).

Consuming flax seeds helps balance the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, thereby reducing chronic stress and the possibility of weight gain.

2. Dietary Fiber In Flax Seeds Increases Satiety

Dietary fiber is a type of carbohydrate that humans cannot digest or absorb (4). It is mainly found in whole grains, nuts, veggies, and fruits and is of two types – soluble and insoluble.

Flax seeds contain both soluble fiber (mucilage gums) and insoluble fiber (lignin and cellulose) (5). The soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance, which slows down the absorption of food in the digestive tract. This, in turn, makes you feel full for a long time. The insoluble fiber promotes the growth of good gut bacteria (6). The gut bacteria then ferment the soluble dietary fiber, producing short-chain fatty acids. These short-chain fatty acids, in turn, help improve metabolism (7).

Dietary fiber also adds bulk to the stool, which helps prevent constipation (8).

3. Flax Seeds Are A Good Source Of Protein

Flaxseeds are rich in proteins, and 100 g of flaxseeds contains about 18.29 g of protein (9). Proteins help build lean muscle, which gives your body a slim and toned look (10), (11). Muscles also contain a higher number of mitochondria (cell organelles that help convert glucose to ATP), thereby giving your metabolism a serious boost (12).

4. Lignan In Flax Seeds Flush Out Toxins

Flaxseeds contain about 800 times more lignans than other plants. These phenolic compounds act as antioxidants that help scavenge free oxygen radicals (13). The free oxygen radicals are dangerous as they cause DNA damage, leading to chronic low-grade inflammation (14), (15), (16). This causes obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes (17), (18).

A study published by Nutrition Journal confirmed that consuming 40 g flaxseed powder helps reduce inflammation and insulin resistance (19).

5. Flax Seeds Are Low In Calories

A tablespoon of ground flaxseeds contains only 55 Calories (9). You also get 18 grams of protein and loads of dietary fiber to keep you satiated for a longer duration. This way, you can easily create a calorie deficit, giving your body a chance to use the stored glycogen and fat.

These are the scientific reasons flaxseeds so good for weight loss. Now the question is, what is the best way to eat flaxseeds for weight loss? Let’s find out!

How To Eat Flax Seeds For Weight Loss

For weight loss, flaxseed powder or ground flaxseeds work the best. Grinding flaxseeds helps separate the hull and the inner protein-rich seed part. The hull is usually rich in oils and dietary fiber. Both are good for human consumption (1). However, grinding it makes it easy to digest.

You may eat just the seed part or both the seeds and the husk to fine-tune your flaxseed intake to lose weight. Recently, flaxseed oil has also created a buzz in the market. Is flaxseed oil equally good for weight loss? Scroll down to find out.

Is Flax Seed Oil Helpful For Weight Loss?

Yes, flaxseed oil is good for weight loss. Here’s why:

  • Healthy Fat – Flaxseed oil (or linseed oil) is a reservoir of omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) (20).
  • Relieves Constipation – Flaxseed oil has laxative properties that can help you if you experience constipation regularly. It helps improve bowel movement, which helps support proper digestion (21).
  • Reduces Inflammation – Flaxseed oil also helps reduce C-reactive proteins that cause inflammation (22). This is good news for you as lower the inflammation, better the chances of losing weight.

Note: Do not heat flaxseed oil for cooking purposes. You may use it as salad dressing and in dips and shakes.

Flaxseeds are also known for other health benefits.

Other Health Benefits Of Flaxseeds

  • Lowers LDL Cholesterol: Omega-3 fatty acids and dietary fiber help improve heart health by reducing LDL or bad cholesterol (23).
  • May Prevent Constipation: Dietary fiber adds bulk to the stool, which makes bowel movement easy (24).
  • Boosts Immunity: The antioxidants present in flax seeds help boost your immunity, protect from microbial infections, and may decrease the risk of breast cancer (25), (26).
  • Anti-inflammatory Property: Flax seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids that are anti-inflammatory (27).
  • May Reduce Androgen Levels: Hormonal imbalance and poor lifestyle cause PCOS in women. Flax seeds may help reduce androgen levels and PCOS symptoms like hirsutism (28).
  • Acts As An Antidepressant: Flaxseeds may help improve mood and manage depression (29).
  • Is Gluten-Free: Flax seeds are gluten-free. Hence, if you are gluten sensitive, you can use flax seeds as a substitute for gluten-containing foods, such as wheat, flour, etc.

Here are a few yummy and quick flax seed recipes.

Yummy Flax Seeds Recipes – Ways To Eat Flax Seeds

1. Banana Oats Flaxseed Smoothie

Shutterstock

Prep Time: 7 minutes, Cooking Time: 1 minute, Serves: 1

Ingredients
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tablespoons instant oats, ground
  • ½ apple
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 date
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
How To Prepare
  1. Chop the banana, apple, and date and toss them into a blender.
  2. Add milk and ground oats to the blender and give it a spin.
  3. Pour the smoothie into a glass.
  4. Add one tablespoon of ground flaxseeds and stir well.

2. Spinach Tuna Flaxseeds Salad

Shutterstock

Prep Time: 3 minutes, Cooking Time: 5 minutes, Serves: 1

Ingredients
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • ½ cup smoked tuna
  • 1 tablespoon milled flaxseeds
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
How To Prepare
  1. Boil water in a high-rim saucepan. Add salt when the water starts boiling.
  2. Slice the cherry tomatoes into halves.
  3. Add the baby spinach and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Strain the spinach and garlic and add them to a bowl of ice-cold water.
  5. In the meanwhile, prepare the dressing by mixing extra virgin olive oil, lime juice, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  6. Transfer the baby spinach from the cold water to a bowl.
  7. Toss in the cherry tomatoes and smoked tuna.
  8. Drizzle the dressing and mix well.
  9. Sprinkle flaxseed powder on top, and enjoy a delicious and nutty flavored salad for lunch.

3. Lentil Soup With Flaxseeds Dinner

Shutterstock

Prep Time: 10 minutes, Cooking Time: 10 minutes, Serves: 2

Ingredients
  • ¼ cup yellow lentils
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chopped garlic
  • ¼ cup chopped tomato
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed powder
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • A handful of coriander leaves
How To Prepare
  1. Heat a soup pot and add extra virgin olive oil.
  2. After 30 seconds, add the chopped garlic and fry until it turns brown.
  3. Add the onions and cook for a minute.
  4. Add the chopped tomato, salt, and pepper. Mix well and cook for a minute.
  5. Add the lentils and mix well.
  6. Add a cup of water. Cook it with the lid on for about 10 minutes.
  7. Remove the soup pot from the flame and add flaxseed powder. Stir well.
  8. Garnish with a few coriander leaves.

Take a look at the following precautions and tips for using flaxseeds for weight loss.

Precautions And Tips

  • Talk to your doctor before consuming flax seeds for weight loss.
  • Avoid consuming flax seeds if you have an upset stomach.
  • Avoid flax seeds if you have IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) or IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease).
  • Be careful if you are experiencing hormonal imbalances or endometriosis as flax seeds can mimic the action of estrogen.
  • Do not consume flax seeds if you are pregnant or lactating.
  • Avoid consuming them if you are on blood-thinning medication as flax seeds slow down blood clotting.
  • Consume just 1-2 tablespoons of flax seeds per day. Do not overdose on flax seeds to lose weight quickly.
  • Drink 3 liters of water per day. Drink 4-5 liters of water if you work out.
  • Exercising is a must when it comes to losing weight. Work out at least 3-4 hours a week.

Conclusion

Flax seeds are amazing for weight loss and overall health. But you also need to monitor flax seed dosage and what you eat. Talk to your doctor before consuming flax seeds to lose weight. Keep up the enthusiasm and get fit.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much flaxseed to consume per day to lose weight?

Consume 1 tablespoon of flax seeds per day to lose weight. Pair it with healthy foods and a good workout routine.

Is flaxseed good for losing belly fat?

Yes, flax seeds are good for losing belly fat. It may not specifically target belly fat, but it aids overall weight loss, which also helps shed fat from the abdominal region.

Which is better for weight loss – chia seeds or flax seeds?

Both are great for weight loss. They are rich sources of protein, healthy fats, and dietary fiber. However, make sure you do not consume these in excess to prevent diarrhea.

What happens if you eat too much flaxseed?

Too much flaxseed in a day may cause stomach pain and diarrhea.

29 sources

Stylecraze has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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Charushila Biswas

Charushila Biswas is a Senior Content Writer and an ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition. She is an alumni of VIT University, Vellore and has worked on transgenic wheat as a part of her Masters dissertation from NRCPB (IARI), New Delhi. After completing her Masters, she developed a passion for nutrition and fitness, which are closely related to human psychology. This prompted her to author a review article in 2015. She has written over 200 articles on Fitness and Nutrition. In her leisure time, Charushila loves to cook and enjoys mobile photography.
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