Can Flax Seed Help With Constipation? – Our Guide!
Flaxseed is very popular in the health industry, known for its anti-oxidants and benefits on cholesterol levels, but can flaxseed also help with issues such as constipation?
Flax seeds can indeed help with constipation thanks to having a high amount of soluble fibre which can help to speed up and promote bowel movements.
To find out more about flax seeds and their benefits, we’ve composed a guide below, discussing what flax seed is, how it can help bowel issues, its benefits, how to eat them and other remedies.
What Is Flaxseed?
Flaxseed meal and flaxseed come from tiny sesame seeds, they have been used in cooking for a long time historically with ground flaxseed proving to be a popular nutritional supplement to boost fibre in meals and have nutritional benefits such as omega 3.
One tablespoon of ground flaxseed daily can provide up to 2 grams of fiber.
We’ve listed the nutritional facts of flaxseed below for a 28g serving.
- Calories – 150 calories.
- Carbohydrate – 8g.
- Fiber – 8g.
- Sugar – 0.5g.
- Fat – 12g.
- Protein – 5g.
Can Flaxseed Help Bowel Problems?
Flaxseed can be proven to help intestinal blockage and can also help with bowel problems such as diarrhoea.
This is because flaxseed is high in soluble fiber which helps to soften stool and help it pass through the body, it can also help to form stools if you are taking flaxseed meals to help with diarrhoea.
What Are The Benefits Of Ingesting Flaxseed?
Apart from helping with bowel movements, flaxseed has plenty of other nutritional benefits once ingested, we’ve listed some of the benefits you can get from adding flaxseed into your diet down below.
- Source of omega 3 fatty acids – Flaxseeds are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids and ALA, this can help heart health and lower the risk of heart disease.
- Blood pressure – Consuming flaxseeds can help to lower blood pressure, you would need to consume ground flaxseed consistently in order to gain these benefits.
- Can help with weight loss – Soluable fibre can be beneficial for weight loss since it helps you to suppress your appetite. This was seen in people who were consuming around 30g of ground flaxseed daily.
- Good for cholesterol – Flaxseed can be beneficial in lowering bad cholesterol levels when a dose of flaxseed is consumed alongside cholesterol-lowering medication. This is thanks to the shiny seeds being high in fibre.
- Good source of vitamins – Flaxseeds are a great source of vitamins having copper, phosphorus, thiamine and copper. They can also help to stabilise and control blood sugar levels.
How Do You Eat Flaxseed?
To get the benefits of flaxseed for your digestion and health then you want to be eating flaxseeds consistently, but how do you eat this seed? Do you have to eat it ground?
Flaxseed is available as a whole seed, as flaxseed oil and as ground seed, to consume flaxseed in a simple way you can put one tablespoon in a tall glass of water, but there are plenty of other ways which we have listed below.
- Add to porridge – Flaxseed into oatmeal blends well, berries can be added to the meal to add sweetness and more fiber.
- Use in a smoothie – Ground flaxseed can be sprinkled into or on top of smoothies, boosting the soluble fiber content of your smoothie.
- Mix into yoghurt – Ground flaxseed to yoghurt mixes surprisingly well into yoghurt for a nutritional brekky.
- Put it in baked goods – From flaxseed muffins to pancakes, flaxseed can be a healthy addition to baked goods.
- Sprinkle on your salad – For a savoury healthy twist, why not sprinkle some flaxseed on top of the salad? This adds texture and a nutty flavour too.
Side Effects Of Consuming Flaxseed
Although flaxseed has a lot of positive effects on the body, there are some side effects you should be aware of when consuming flaxseed.
- It can cause bowel issues – When excessive amounts of flaxseed are consumed, they can cause constipation or diarrhoea issues in the body and decrease or increase bowel frequency.
- Can interact with medications – Flaxseed can interact with medications such as diabetes medications and blood-thinning medications and could also affect the absorption of meds due to them being high in dietary fiber.
- Could cause hormonal imbalance – Flaxseed can cause hormonal problems such as hot flashes and menstrual cycles when not consumed in moderation.
- Not good for pregnant women – Since flaxseeds can affect hormones and the thyroid system, it is not recommended as part of a pregnant woman’s daily diet.
- Can affect blood sugar – Due to the omega-3 fatty acids, there is a possibility that flaxseeds could affect and increase blood sugar levels in the body.
Other Foods & Remedies For Constipation
If you’re not keen on flaxseed, you might be curious about other foods and remedies to naturally treat constipation, we’ve listed some alternative foods and methods down below.
- Fruits – Pears, grapes and prunes are all good sources of insoluble fiber.
- Pulses – Beans and lentils are very high in fiber making them great for constipation.
- Liquids – Clear soups and water are essential for helping constipation and moving bowel movements.
- Probiotics – Probiotics such as kefir and yoghurt can help with constipation and better gut health.
Frequently Asked Questions About Flaxseed & Constipation
Is flaxseed oil good for you?
Flaxseed oil is beneficial to consume daily, effects of flaxseed on the body are good omega 3 fatty acid levels and can help digestion.
What is the normal frequency of bowel movement?
There is no specific bowel regularity for the average person, it is often suggested that someone should have 3-4 bowel movements a week, infrequent bowel activity is classed as going more than 3 days without a bowel movement.
What is soluble fiber?
Soluble fiber is the type of fibre found in plants which cannot be broken down in the body, also known as roughage and is good for adding bulk into your diet and stool. It’s important to drink lots of water when upping your soluble fiber intake.
How much flaxseed should I consume each day?
It is suggested that you have one tablespoon of ground flaxseed per day or two daily in your diet, if it’s your first time taking this supplement build up slowly overtime so as your body can get used to the fiber in flaxseed meal.
To conclude, flaxseed can help with digestive movements and the seed is full of healthful nutrients for the body such as omega 3 fatty acid and can lower cholesterol. We would recommend having flaxseed in moderation however since it can cause constipation, stick with one tablespoon per day to start with.