There are several different circumstances in which adding flaxseed can support your health, so today we are breaking down whether you are a good candidate to enjoy flaxseed and what that could look like in your daily meals.
Some men may be alarmed to see that flaxseed contains something called phytoestrogen; however, research has shown that moderate consumption of plants with phytoestrogen such as grains, nuts, fruits, and seeds, does not have a significant effect on the body’s estrogen levels or activity (1).
Looking to learn more about how flaxseed impacts men? You can learn more here.
Flaxseed has shown to have a slightly different effect on women’s bodies and acts differently in menstruating women and post-menopausal women.
In a study of menstruating women, those who ate one tablespoon of flaxseed each day had more regular ovulation cycles and progesterone to estrogen ratios (2). However, in post-menopausal women, flaxseed supplementation may help protect against disease due to hormonal imbalance (3).
Despite the variance among hormone response to flaxseed among men and women, there are still several benefits of flaxseed for all genders to reap.
For more information on how flaxseed affects women’s hormone balance, check out a full post here.
Those With Irregular Bowel Movements
It’s not the most glamorous topic — but hey, everybody does it! Adding flaxseed to your diet can help you reach your daily fiber goal and aid in keeping your bowel movements regular.
Do you know how much fiber you need? The average recommendation is about 25 grams for women and 34 grams for men each day (4). Manitoba Milling Co. Smooth Whole-Milled Flaxseed contains 4 grams of fiber per serving. Gastroenterologist, Dr. Sharma recommends starting with ½ to 1 Tablespoon per day and gradually increasing.
Now that you know how much to aim for, check out these five ways you can start adding more fiber to your meals!
Note: This does not apply to individuals with known gastrointestinal issues. Consult with your doctor for any specific concerns or before making changes to your lifestyle.
Those Concerned with Heart Health
Sure, flaxseed can help your digestion, but can it really help keep your heart healthy too? In short: yes — that’s what makes flaxseed so special!
Flaxseed is packed with soluble fiber that has been shown to lower total and LDL cholesterol levels as well as lower blood pressure.
You can find even more information about what makes flaxseed heart healthy here.
Individuals With Diabetes
Bodies impacted by diabetes are challenged to manage their blood sugar because their insulin may not function properly or it’s in short supply. It becomes imperative for these individuals to consume fiber, fat, and protein to help slow simple carbohydrate digestion.
Studies have shown that flaxseed consumption can improve constipation, triglyceride levels, and LDL cholesterol levels in people with Type 2 diabetes (5).
Do you or does someone at your table have diabetes? Check out our list of diabetes-friendly holiday recipes to manage your blood sugar while enjoying holiday classics.
Flaxseed contains both soluble and insoluble fiber — both types can help your child’s health. These fibers work together to promote safe cholesterol levels, lower risk of heart disease and diabetes, and keep your child’s bowel movements regular.
Fiber also helps keep your child full after eating and prevents blood sugar spikes. But how do you know that your child getting the fiber they need?
Children need about 14 grams of fiber for each 1000 kcal of food they consume each day. On average, this equates to ~14 grams for children ages 1-2, ~18 grams for children ages 4-8, and ~23 grams for children ages 9-13 (4).
Note: Make sure to start slowly and offer fluids to them often. Consult with your child’s doctor before making changes to their diet or if you have any concerns.
Those Who Eat Plant-Based
Not only does flaxseed make a delicious alternative to eggs, it can be a great way to make sure you are getting the nutrients your body needs.
There are plenty of plant-based sources of protein including soy, legumes, whole grains, and seeds. Manitoba Milling Co. Smooth Whole-Milled Flaxseed has three grams of protein per serving, so adding flaxseed to your meals or snacks can give you an extra boost of protein to get through the day.
You can find more information on which nutrients to pay attention to when following a plant-based diet in this post.
Flaxseed can make a wonderful addition to help several different types of people care for their bodies. Whether you are looking to care for your heart or gut, flaxseed can help you stay regular and keep you feeling your best.
If you are interested in adding more flaxseed to your diet, check out these simple ways to add flaxseed to any recipe!
As a reminder, it’s important to always consult your healthcare provider before making any dietary changes. This post and website are not meant to be a substitute for individual nutrition recommendations.
(1) Patisaul, Heather B, and Wendy Jefferson. “The pros and cons of phytoestrogens.” Frontiers in neuroendocrinology vol. 31,4 (2010): 400-19. doi:10.1016/j.yfrne.2010.03.003
(2) Phipps, W.R., Martini, M.C., Lampe, J.W., Slavin, J.L., Kurzer, M.S. (1993). Effect of flax seed ingestion on the menstrual cycle. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 77(5):1215 – 1219
(3) Brooks, Jennifer D, et al. “Supplementation with Flaxseed Alters Estrogen Metabolism in Postmenopausal Women to a Greater Extent than Does Supplementation with an Equal Amount of Soy.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 79, no. 2, 2004, pp. 318–325., doi:10.1093/ajcn/79.2.318.
(4) Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes: The essential guide to nutrient requirements. Washington (DC): The National Academies Press; 2006.(5) Parikh, Mihir et al. “Dietary Flaxseed as a Strategy for Improving Human Health.” Nutrients vol. 11,5 1171. 25 May. 2019, doi:10.3390/nu11051171