Is this all flaxseed?

They’re a superfood that doesn’t have quite the same star power as kale or kombucha, and are often viewed as little more than a close cousin of the famous chia seed.

Flaxseed recently went viral on TikTok, with a post suggesting that applying flaxseed to your face can reduce wrinkles like a Botox injection. While their skin-care benefits are questionable at best, their nutritional value deserves more praise, experts say.

Dr. Selvi Rajagopal, assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, said flaxseed is one of the richest sources of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid found in plants that is known to be heart-healthy. Healthy fats. University Medical School. She said that while some studies suggest omega-3s may help regulate cholesterol and blood pressure and reduce inflammation, most people don’t get enough.

Seeds are also rich in soluble fiber, which absorbs water from the body and forms a gel in the intestines, slowing down digestion and helping the body gradually absorb the nutrients from the food you eat. Julia Zumpano, a registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, says fiber-rich foods can stabilize blood sugar and keep you fuller longer. Two tablespoons of ground flax seeds contain about as much fiber as a small apple, and one tablespoon of ground flax seeds has more fiber than a cup of raw spinach. This fiber also helps reduce the amount of cholesterol absorbed into the blood.

Additionally, soluble fiber provides energy for the trillions of bacteria and organisms in our gastrointestinal tract, which can aid our digestion and gut health, Dr. Selvey said.

These seeds also contain some of the highest natural concentrations of dietary lignans, fiber-like compounds in plants that may help reduce inflammation. Joanne Slavin, a professor of food science and nutrition at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, said lignans may also have antioxidant effects that may help reduce DNA damage. Ms. Zumpano added that flaxseeds also contain a moderate amount of protein, which means adding them to meals can help you feel full.

Dr. Isaac Neuhaus, a dermatologic surgeon at UCSF Health, says that despite all their benefits, flaxseeds aren’t a cure-all, and they certainly won’t eliminate fine lines like Botox. He said it was a bunch of crap.

They can form a moisturizing gel and help soften the skin because they are rich in antioxidants and fatty acids, said Dr. Joshua Zeichner, associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital. But there is no data to show that flaxseed is more effective than the flaxseed found in the cosmetics aisle.

For health benefits, try adding flaxseed to your diet, mixing it into smoothies or batters for baked goods, or mixing it with water as an egg substitute. Because flaxseeds form a thick gel when you add them to liquids, they also work well in overnight oats and porridge, Ms. Zupano said.

Dr. Rajagopal says ground flax seeds are easier to digest than whole flax seeds. But keep in mind that eating too much fiber too early may cause an upset stomach. Eating too much can lead to problems such as bloating and having frequent bowel movements. Ms. Zupano recommends that people gradually increase their intake, starting with about one teaspoon a day and working up to about two tablespoons a day.

Sometimes people think that once something is magical, it should be taken in large quantities, Dr. Slavin said. Flax is one of those things that you can definitely overdo.

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