Flaxseed is often mentioned when it comes to digestive problems that are supposed to be alleviated with the help of the diet. Often this already helps and so you can do without medication and instead use gentle, natural home remedies such as flaxseed.
However, there are often uncertainties, for example when it comes to how the flaxseed should be integrated into the diet, how and when it works best and in what form you should consume it. This article is intended to help you answer these questions.
the essentials in brief
- Flaxseeds are suitable for supporting a healthy digestive system without putting a strain on the body. So it is quite possible to relieve symptoms with flaxseed and thus to be able to do without medication
- Flaxseeds can be easily integrated into your everyday life by being ingested with everyday food. In some dishes they can even be used as a tasty ingredient and thus be associated with enjoyment
- Because flaxseed can hold many times its volume in water, it can help with both constipation and diarrhea problems. This regulates digestion, which has a positive effect on your well-being.
Use of flaxseed in the diet: what you should know
When the gut is out of balance, it can be physically and mentally stressful. However, before resorting to medicines that may further burden the body, you can first try home remedies such as flaxseed. These are a purely natural product and can be quite effective when it comes to reconciling and calming the digestive system.
Flaxseeds can easily be mixed into batters and baked because they harmonize well with other grains. (Image Source: Catkin / Pixabay)
Linseed can be easily integrated into everyday life because it has to be ingested through food. There are hardly any limits to the imagination. Flaxseed can be taken in drinks such as smoothies or pure with plenty of water, but can also be integrated into meals. For example, you can bake them as grains in bread or sprinkle them over the salad.
What are flaxseeds?
Linseed is obtained from the linseed or flax plant, a plant that has been cultivated for thousands of years and, above all, is a regional plant that was already popular with our ancestors. The small, teardrop-shaped seeds are brown or yellow in color and are commercially available whole, crushed or in capsules for easier consumption.
They are rich in fiber and therefore have a digestive effect. The swelling substances in the husk of the linseed also contribute by absorbing water from their environment and thus being able to swell many times their own size. For this reason, they also have a satiating effect. In addition, they provide healthy omega-3 fatty acids , vitamins B1, B2, B6 and E as well as folic acid. This means that there is a lot of potential in the small seeds, especially with regard to cell protection and the promotion of healthy digestion (1).
When can flaxseed help?
Flaxseeds are generally beneficial for health, as they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, the important vitamins B1, B2, B6, E and folic acid and thus have a positive effect on the body's own cell protection and the cardiovascular system and lower blood pressure in the long term . The high amount of fiber also has a positive effect on digestion and intestinal health (2).
Flaxseed is best known among the general public for its effects on digestion. Because they swell and retain water, they help with both diarrhea and constipation problems. In the case of constipation, the mucilage contained in the shell of the flaxseed ensures faster digestion and in the case of diarrhea, the intestine benefits from the ability of the flaxseed to absorb and transport water that is many times its size.
They also bind pollutants, which can thus be excreted more easily, which also has a positive effect on digestion and general well-being.
For whom is flaxseed suitable?
Basically, flaxseed is well suited for many people who first want to try to deal with the digestive problems in a natural way and do not want to resort to medication immediately.
Of course, it should be clarified by a doctor beforehand that there is no serious illness behind the symptoms that requires medication in order to be cured.
For whom is flaxseed not suitable?
Despite the fact that flaxseed is a gentle natural product, children under the age of 12 are advised not to consume it. This is because flaxseed can begin to swell in the throat if there is insufficient fluid intake and thus pose a choking hazard. This has to be assessed individually for each child, but should be kept in mind.
Flaxseeds are small, brown seeds, but their effects should not be underestimated. (Image Source: Pezibear / Pixabay)
Furthermore, flaxseeds are not suitable if there are severe intestinal diseases such as an intestinal obstruction. You should also not use flaxseed if you have difficulty swallowing, as this can cause additional irritation. Flaxseed should also not be taken in combination with previously taken anti-diarrheal agents, as this can lead to intestinal obstruction (3).
How can flaxseed be integrated into the diet?
Nutrition is fundamental to stable health and a functioning immune system. When consuming flaxseed, it should always be noted that a daily dose of 15g per meal should not be exceeded. In addition to the risk of constipation, this is due to the fact that linseed contains small amounts of cyanide, a hydrocyanic acid salt. However, as long as this amount is not exceeded, the consumption of linseed is harmless (4).
Flaxseeds are very reserved in taste and size and can therefore be integrated into the diet in many ways. This can, for example, be in the form of drinks such as smoothies, in which they are mixed and also baked into bread - preferably in combination with other grains - or sprinkled over salads. There are hardly any limits to your imagination.
|As a topping on salad||smoothie|
|pudding||Pure with water|
Can flaxseed cause side effects?
Side effects can also occur when consuming flaxseed. If more than 3 tablespoons of flaxseed are consumed daily, it can have a laxative effect, since intestinal activity would be extremely stimulated (5).
Drug interactions should be considered.
Taking medication in combination with flaxseed should also be viewed with caution. Because of the mucilage contained in the flaxseed, which binds substances in the intestine, there can be insufficient absorption of the active ingredients in the medication from the intestine, which can have a negative impact on their effectiveness. For this reason, at least one hour should elapse between taking flaxseed and medication to rule out such risks (6).
Basically, in combination with flaxseed, it must always be ensured that these are taken with sufficient water so that they do not already begin to swell in the throat and thus get stuck there and pose a risk of suffocation.
What alternatives are there to flaxseed?
In addition to flaxseed , there are other ways to gently deal with health problems or digestive problems. We have listed some of these alternatives here so that you can try out what works best for you.
In addition to flaxseed, there are various other and comparable seeds that can be easily integrated into the diet and may have a positive effect on intestinal health and well-being. Chia seeds and flea seeds are particularly important. All three seeds have a supporting effect on digestion, as they all contain mucilage, which binds water.
Chia and flaxseed score particularly well with a high content of omega-3 fatty acids , while psyllium provides a lot of dietary fiber, which is also beneficial for a healthy, functioning digestion.
Using chia seeds can be a little more direct than is the case with flaxseed and psyllium. These must be crushed before consumption, since only then can the valuable ingredients and mucilage be released. Otherwise, they pass through the digestive system with little effect. This is different with chia seeds - these can be used directly and develop their positive rating even without being crushed.
Flax seeds are a locally available product.
From the point of view of ecological sustainability, linseed is particularly recommended, as it comes from the regional, native linseed or flax plant. Flea seeds, on the other hand, have to be imported from India or Pakistan, and chia seeds often come from Mexico, Bolivia or Peru (7).
The amount of water consumed throughout the day also plays a major role in functioning, healthy digestion. In the case of diarrhea in particular, it is essential to drink enough water to compensate for the loss of liquid. In general, drinking enough water helps with digestion by keeping the stool supple so it can pass through the intestines easily. If you drink too little, you risk hardening of the stool and thus constipation.
About 2.5 liters of water should be drunk daily, but this can also vary depending on age, gender, weight or physical exertion (8).
Digestion runs more evenly if you pay attention to regular exercise. The movement and contraction of the abdominal muscles simultaneously stimulates intestinal activity, which supports the intestines and thus promotes digestion. This can prevent constipation in the long run (9).
Flaxseeds are a gentle, natural way to deal with digestive problems. They can be integrated into the diet in many ways, for example in smoothies, in baked goods or sprinkled over salads as a topping. There are hardly any limits to the imagination. The only thing that should be ensured is that enough liquid is taken in with the flaxseeds so that they do not get stuck in the throat or cause constipation, as they remove too much water.
Even if there are various other seeds that also have a positive effect on intestinal activity and well-being and also provide a lot of valuable fiber and vitamins, flaxseeds offer the unbeatable advantage that they are grown regionally in Germany, as they are not tropical or warm need climate.
Especially against the background of the debate about ecological sustainability, this is an important point when it comes to having to import as little food as possible from distant countries and thus having to accept long transport routes (10).
- Mihir Parikh, Thane G Maddaford, J Alejandro Austria, Michel Aliani, Thomas Netticadan, Grant N Pierce (2019): Dietary Flaxseed as a Strategy for Improving Human Health Source
- Delfin Rodriguez-Leyva, Wendy Weighell, Andrea L Edel, Renee LaVallee, Elena Dibrov, Reinhold Pinneker, Thane G Maddaford, Bram Ramjiawan, Michel Aliani, Randolph Guzman, Grant N Pierce (2013): Potent antihypertensive action of dietary flaxseed in hypertensive patients Source
- Astrid Clasen (2018): Linseed: Notes Source
- Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (2015): New data from the BfR human study: No cyanide risk when consuming marzipan and Persipan Source
- Gesundfit (2018): Linseed: 5 effects + 3 risks of healthy seeds Source
- dr medical Monasterio (2021): Linseed - Effect Source
- Hannah Frey (2014): A comparison of chia seeds, linseed and psyllium husks Source
- Giuseppe Iorfida (2018): Why You Should Drink More Water Source
- MedizInfo (2021): Causes of Constipation Source
- Johanna Feichtinger (2018): Superfood - regional and nutrient-rich Source