How to Eat Flax Seeds for Weight Loss: 5 Health Benefits of Using Them

How-To-Eat-Flax-Seeds-For-Weight-Loss
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By Robert James

Hoping to shed those stubborn pounds? You may have heard that flex seeds can help you lose weight naturally and now you are curious to know how to eat flax seeds for weight loss. 

Flax seed is a fiber-rich, plant-based ingredient with loads of healthy fats. Discover how to eat flax seeds for weight loss and hair growth, plus their health benefits and recipes.

We’ll also explore alternatives to flax seed, such as top supplements like PhenQ, which can help you reach your weight goals fast.

What Are Flax Seeds?

Flax seed (a.k.a. linseed) is the seed of a plant used as a food item and to spin into linens. It was one of the first crops ever cultivated thanks to its versatility in providing food and fiber.

To be clear, the name “flax” is used when the seeds are sold as human food, while it’s called “linseed” when those seeds are meant to be used as animal feed [1]

With its remarkable benefits and nutritional value, flax seed is sometimes listed as a “superfood.” These seeds are very low in net carbs and high in omega-3 oils, protein, fibers, and antioxidants. 

But is it worth learning how to eat flax seeds to lose weight? A review of studies shows that flaxseed supplements could lead to an average weight loss of almost one kilogram across 45 trials [2].

This may sound small, but many trials were quite short—with durations of 12 weeks or less. In addition, there were greater benefits among longer trials and those focusing on people with a BMI over 27.

Another study featuring defatted flax flour (and no other intervention) reveals that the group that used flax flour lost around 800 grams of body weight, while the group that didn’t gained almost 800 grams. The flax group also had an average BMI drop of 0.3 points, and their abdominal fat dropped by one percentage point [3]. Even better, their triglyceride levels also went down.

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Health Benefits of Flax Seeds Beyond Weight Loss

There are several benefits of flax seeds—for both females and males—that you might experience. Aside from helping you shed pounds, it also boosts your health in more ways than one. 

1. Rich Source of Nutrients

Flax seed is a great source of both vitamin E and B3. Vitamin B3 is needed to produce energy, and vitamin E is one of the most powerful antioxidants that can protect your brain and heart. 

Flax also contains other nutrients—such as lignans and phenolic acids. These have antioxidant effects that help the seeds reduce inflammation and fight cancer [4]. Some lignans can behave like a gentler version of estrogen, with research showing they could relieve one’s menopausal symptoms. 

2. Cardiovascular Health

One of the best reasons to discover how to eat flax seeds for weight loss is their cardiovascular benefits. These address some of the most common obesity-related diseases. 

A clinical trial testing 30 grams a day of ground flax seed suggests that it may reduce systolic blood pressure (the top number) by 10 mm Hg and diastolic pressure (the bottom number) by 7 mm Hg. When the trial started, those with high blood pressure saw an even greater drop in systolic blood pressure (SBP) by 15 mm Hg. The amino acid arginine—which widens blood vessels—may be partly responsible for this [5].

Another study shows that flax seed could lower total cholesterol levels by 36.9 mg/dL, which includes a 21 mg/dL drop in LDL. The “good” HDL cholesterol rose by 6mg/dL. This may be partially because the fiber in flax binds to cholesterol in your gut.

Overall, most clinical research shows an average drop in total cholesterol by 5-17% and a 4-10% drop in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in folks with high cholesterol [5]

3. Digestive Health

One of the benefits of eating flax seeds on an empty stomach is better digestion. Since they are packed with fiber, flax seeds can help relieve constipation and improve the consistency of your stool. Over time, the fiber may also increase “friendly” gut bacteria [4]

A clinical trial involving perimenopausal women found that flax seed greatly reduced intestinal permeability (meaning your gut is “leaky”) and the inflammation that it causes. Intestinal permeability makes your stomach swell even more by allowing immune cells to “see” undigested food particles, which they may count as foreign [6]

4. Anti-Inflammatory Effects

How do flax seeds reduce inflammation? Well, they improve your intestinal bacteria populations and provide you with antioxidant support. Research reveals that people whose kidney disease is severe enough to require dialysis showed a sizable drop in signs of inflammation after they started consuming flax oil [4]

5. Cancer Prevention

If you’re overweight or obese, the risks of certain cancers might be higher for you. Clinical studies typically show that flax seed could lead to an 18-25% drop in breast cancer, with stronger results seen in overweight women.

Long-term research estimates a 33% to 70% reduction in mortality risks. These benefits may be due to reduced inflammation and improved estrogen regulation [7].

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Why Flax Seeds Are Effective for Weight Loss

Curious to know why flax seeds are effective for weight loss? These seeds may help bring down your body weight through their fiber content, anti-inflammatory effects, and potential to promote hormone balance. 

Fiber-Rich Seeds and Their Role in Promoting Satiety

Whole flax seeds contain fiber, with 25% of it being soluble fiber. This can make you feel full longer by taking up space in your gastrointestinal tract, absorbing water, and slowing down transit. If you’ve become used to eating very large meals, these effects can help you form new habits [2].

The fiber content could feed “good” gut bacteria and contain short-chain fatty acids in your gut, which can boost your metabolism and prevent you from overeating. Fiber also catches onto bile acids and fat, possibly helping your body absorb less dietary fat as a result [4]

Omega-3 or n-3 Fatty Acids and Their Impact on Metabolism

Half of the fatty acids in flax are alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), which is called an “essential” fat because your body cannot make it on its own. However, your body uses ALA to make other anti-inflammatory fatty acids—such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) [4]

These fatty acids in flaxseed oil may help you shed extra pounds and keep obesity-related diseases from growing worse.

The inflammation caused by obesity may maintain excess body weight by reducing adiponectin, a substance that improves insulin sensitivity. As a lack of insulin sensitivity can make you gain weight, reducing inflammation may, therefore, help you keep your weight in check [8]

A study on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease reveals that volunteers taking flaxseed oil saw the grading of their condition fall by 0.68 points. Those using sunflower oil only had a 0.29-point improvement [9]

Lignans and Their Potential Benefits in Weight Management

Flax seeds abound in lignans—with one of them being secoisolariciresinol diglycoside (SDG), are found to have levels that are 100 times higher than other foods. Lab studies suggest that SDG could reduce triglyceride production and make it easier for your muscles to burn fat for energy production. You could have more energy to exercise thanks to this [2]

Additionally, some lignans, which act as estrogen, may combat menopausal weight gain. However, more research is needed to see if they are potent enough.

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Different Forms of Flax Seeds

Before using flax seeds for weight loss, you should know the difference between the various types of flax seeds: whole seeds, ground seeds, and flax seed oil from the flax seed extract. 

Whole Flax Seeds

Whole flax seeds are the most stable, so they won’t oxidize and go rancid for months. However, whole seeds have tough shells and may be harder to digest and absorb. 

You would have to crush, grind, or chew them thoroughly; otherwise, each raw seed will do little more than occupy space in your digestive system. 

Ground Flax Seeds (Flax Seed Meal)

Flax seeds may be ground and sold as a flax meal. Why can you absorb more nutrients from them? That’s because ground flax has a higher rate of nutrient absorption as the shell is pulverized. 

If you’re interested in learning how to eat ground flax seeds for weight loss, remember that they can go rancid within a week of being exposed to air [10]. If you want to use a pre-made flax seed meal, it’s a great idea to keep it in the refrigerator in an airtight container. You could also buy whole seeds and pulse them in a food processor for a flax meal as needed. 

Flax Seed Oil

Flax seed oil (or linseed oil) is made from ground and pressed flax seeds. Most of the benefits of these active oils come from the omega-3 fatty acid. Flax seed oil is ideal for salad dressings, and keeping it away from too much heat exposure can preserve its benefits.

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Best Ways to Eat Flax Seeds for Weight Loss

If you’re looking for tips on how to eat flax seeds for weight loss in your everyday diet, simple ideas include adding these seeds to smoothies, salads, and baked recipes. 

Adding to Smoothies

If you don’t want to taste flax seeds, you can easily add flax seeds to smoothies. Here are some examples of what to combine in these shakes: 

  • Orange, banana, mango, carrot, plain yogurt, and milk with one tablespoon of flax seeds
  • A banana, almond butter, milk, yogurt, and cocoa powder with a spoonful of flax seeds
  • Peach, apple, banana, yogurt, and honey with flaxseed oil or meal
  • One cup of frozen strawberries, a banana, and vanilla yogurt, plus a tablespoon of flax seeds and water or milk to adjust the consistency

Add protein powder or nuts to make these more of a meal than a treat. If you want a hint of spice, you can also blend together cinnamon and flaxseed for weight loss.

Sprinkling on Salads

Looking for lower-calorie, nutrient-dense food options? Salads can be satisfying meals that may help you lose weight by lowering your calorie intake. You can try these ideas when using flax seeds in salads:

  • Seed salads with almonds, flax, pepitas, sunflower seeds, apple, and cranberries
  • Cooked lentils and rice with carrot, salad greens, radish, sprouted beans, and avocado, plus a tablespoon or two of ground or crushed flax 
  • A chickpea salad with peppers, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, flax seeds, spring onions, chili, chopped curry leaves, and coriander 

If you want an even more nutritious meal, try eating chia and flax seeds in a salad.

Baking With Flax Seeds 

Flax seeds can also be baked into sandwich bread, muffins, cookies, granola, and crackers. Many flaxseed baking recipes you can find are gluten-free, low-carb, or even keto-friendly

A quick and easy alternative is the keto-famous mug cake. Here, flax seed meal is used thanks to its low net carbs. Then, it’s combined with egg, coconut oil, baking powder or soda, and a sugar-free natural sweetener (like stevia). Cacao powder, sugar-free chocolate chips, raspberries, vanilla, and cinnamon are some examples of effective flavorings to use.

In case you’re interested in learning more about how to use flax seeds, Reddit users share more recipes and food prep ideas on r/nutrition.

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Precautions When Using Flax Seeds

Flax is generally safe to eat for most healthy adults. However, while synonymous allergies are rare, they are possible. Rancidity is the main issue with flax seeds. If you buy a flax meal, keep it in a cool, dark place, and do not open the package until you are ready to eat it. Once you open it, consume the flax meal within a week so it won’t go rancid. 

If you have diverticulosis—where small pouches form on your colon or large intestine—it has now been disproven that flax seeds could exacerbate the symptoms[11].

Alternatives to Flax Seeds

Don’t have time to try flax seed recipes? Or maybe you just need a little extra help on top of loading up with flax seeds? These weight loss supplements are a convenient alternative to flax seeds as a weight loss solution. Check out a few supplements to help shred body fat naturally.

1. PhenQ

PhenQ
Image from In-house graphic team

If flax seeds help with weight loss by improving your digestion, PhenQ works in several ways to turn the weighing scale pointer in the right direction. This all-purpose supplement burns body fat, curbs hunger pangs, and boosts your energy. It combines natural ingredients like capsimax, nopal cactus, and caffeine in user-friendly capsules.

One happy customer praises PhenQ in her Trustpilot review, saying that she loves the product because it gives her amazing results.

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2. Capsiplex BURN

Capsiplex Burn
Image from In-house graphic team

You might need more than flax seeds if you’re undergoing a cutting cycle. In this case, Capsiplex BURN could make it easier for you to shred fat while keeping your muscle mass so you can build a leaner figure. This cutting supplement comes in the form of tablets, which blend together B vitamins, ginseng, arginine, caffeine, black pepper, and tyrosine.

One Reddit user recommends Capsiplex BURN as one of the best fat burners for men on r/bestfatburnerformen.

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3. Hunter Burn

Hunter Burn
Image from In-house graphic team

Do you need more energy than flax seeds can give you? Hunter Burn can uplift your energy levels but without the jittery feeling since it’s virtually caffeine-free. As a weight loss supplement that targets belly fat, these capsules include plant-based extracts such as white kidney bean extract, konjac root, matcha green tea, and cayenne pepper.

It’s no wonder that Hunter Burn is also counted among the top fat burners for men on r/bestfatburnerformen.

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FAQs on How to Eat Flax Seeds for Weight Loss

Got more questions about flax seeds and how they can help you drop those extra pounds? Check out our answers to some popular questions about flax seeds.

What Is the Best Time to Eat Flax Seeds for Weight Loss?

The best time to eat flax seeds for weight loss is any time that suits your preferred recipes. After all, their benefits when it comes to metabolic health are mostly long-term; you don’t need to consume these seeds at certain times of the day, as any time works. 

How Do You Eat Flax Seed to Lose Belly Fat?

To lose belly fat, you can use flax seeds, freshly crushed or ground, alongside flax seed oil. Flax seed oil can be a good substitute for more inflammatory fat sources and refined grains.

What Happens to Your Stomach When You Start Eating Flax Seeds Daily?

If you include flax seeds in your diet every day, the fiber in these seeds might make you feel less constipated. Additionally, they may help you maintain a healthy balance of your gut bacteria

Do Flax Seeds Flatten Your Stomach?

It depends. While flax seeds have the potential to support your digestive health and reduce belly fat, the exact results may vary. Whether your stomach will be flatter or not will depend not just on your flax seed intake but also on your overall diet, exercise routine, body metabolism, and which supplements for weight management you’re taking to help aid the process.

What Is the Best Way to Consume Flax Seeds?

One of the best ways to prepare and consume flax seeds is to pulse whole seeds in a food processor to make a fresh flax meal, then add it to salads, porridge, or smoothies. Another great idea is to soak flax seeds in water; benefits include better digestion and more nutrient absorption.

Can I Boil Flaxseed and Drink It?

You can, but it will likely taste terrible and have an odd texture. There are far more delicious ways to eat flax seeds to lose weight, such as in smoothies or mug cakes. 

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Final Thoughts: How to Eat Flax Seeds for Weight Loss

Flax seed is more than a simple seed from a common plant. Thanks to its nutrient content, it has many potential benefits, including better cardiovascular health. 

If you’ve been wondering about how to eat flax seeds for weight loss, there are a lot of creative ideas you can try, as we’ve discussed, like mixing them with smoothies, salads, and baked foods. They are a healthier substitute for higher-calorie, less nutrient-dense foods

Whether you plan on eating flax seeds for weight loss or not, remember you can always try supplements like PhenQ instead to reach your ideal weight faster.

>>Check the latest prices for PhenQ here

About the Author

Robert James is a full-time freelance writer and editor specializing in the health niche and its ever-expanding sub-niches. As a food and nutrition scientist, he knows where to find the resources necessary to verify health claims.

References

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  2. Mohammadi-Sartang, M et al. “The effect of flax seed supplementation on body weight and body composition: a systematic review and meta-analysis of 45 randomized placebo-controlled trials.” Obesity reviews : an official journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity vol. 18,9 (2017): 1096-1107. doi:10.1111/obr.12550
  3. Kuang, Xiaotong et al. “Defatted flax seed flour improves weight loss and lipid profile in overweight and obese adults: a randomized controlled trial.” Food & function vol. 11,9 (2020): 8237-8247. doi:10.1039/d0fo00838a
  4. Nowak, Wioletta, and Małgorzata Jeziorek. “The Role of flax seed in Improving Human Health.” Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 11,3 395. 30 Jan. 2023, doi:10.3390/healthcare11030395
  5. Parikh, Mihir et al. “flax seed: its bioactive components and their cardiovascular benefits.” American journal of physiology. Heart and circulatory physiology vol. 314,2 (2018): H146-H159. doi:10.1152/ajpheart.00400.2017
  6. Sant’Ana, Cíntia Tomaz et al. “Brown and golden flax seed reduce intestinal permeability and endotoxemia, and improve the lipid profile in perimenopausal overweight women.” International journal of food sciences and nutrition vol. 73,6 (2022): 829-840. doi:10.1080/09637486.2022.2052820
  7. Calado, Ana et al. “The Effect of flax seed in Breast Cancer: A Literature Review.” Frontiers in nutrition vol. 5 4. 7 Feb. 2018, doi:10.3389/fnut.2018.00004
  8. Ellulu, Mohammed S et al. “Obesity and inflammation: the linking mechanism and the complications.” Archives of medical science : AMS vol. 13,4 (2017): 851-863. doi:10.5114/aoms.2016.58928
  9. Rezaei, Shahla et al. “flax seed oil in the context of a weight loss programme ameliorates fatty liver grade in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a randomised double-blind controlled trial.” The British journal of nutrition vol. 123,9 (2020): 994-1002. doi:10.1017/S0007114520000318
  10. Alpers, L, and M K Sawyer-Morse. “Eating quality of banana nut muffins and oatmeal cookies made with ground flax seed.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association vol. 96,8 (1996): 794-6. doi:10.1016/S0002-8223(96)00219-2
  11. Hawkins, Alexander T et al. “Diverticulitis: An Update From the Age Old Paradigm.” Current problems in surgery vol. 57,10 (2020): 100862. doi:10.1016/j.cpsurg.2020.100862

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