5 Side Effects Of Flaxseeds You May Not Be Aware Of

5 Side Effects Of Flaxseeds You May Not Be Aware Of

Flaxseeds have hit the headlines for all the right reasons, with the goodness of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidant lignans (the naturally occurring form of estrogen), micronutrients such as copper and magnesium, vitamins B1, B2, and B6, and mucilage packing a punch in every seed.

Also Check: Serious Side Effects Of Eating Too Many Almonds

Doctors and nutritionists are recommending flaxseeds as a dietary supplement. Numerous studies vouch that they can help lower cholesterol, aid weight loss, and even lower the risk of cancer. They can also help keep your skin, nail, and hair healthy.

Is the picture all rosy though? While flaxseeds are mother nature’s answer to many of our ailments, there are a few possible side effects you need to look out for.

1. Diarrhea Or Constipation

One likely effect is on the digestive system. Eating flaxseeds can have gastrointestinal side effects and can significantly increase the number of bowel movements you have in a day. This means multiple trips to the bathroom to alleviate bloating, stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, and the like.

There are two reasons why things could go a bit off track with flaxseeds, especially when you overdo them. One, the high fiber content of flaxseeds can be too much at times for some of us with a more delicate digestive system. Second, the mucilage in flaxseeds can have a strong laxative effect. As much as it can help in both diarrhea and constipation, flaxseeds can also backfire (pun unintended!) and have the reverse effect.

Flaxseeds should ideally be had with water or other fluids – else, it could worsen constipation and even cause an intestinal block.

2. Estrogen Imbalance

The phytoestrogenic nature of flaxseeds can have a downside. It’s often a mixed bag for some women – flaxseeds can help treat hormonal imbalances and ease menopausal difficulties like hot flashes on one side but they can also significantly alter the menstrual cycle on the other. The estrogen content can even interfere with sexual development and fertility if taken in excess.

Side Effects Of Flaxseeds

3. Allergic Reaction

If you are prone to allergies, especially related to cereals or grains, check for any possible allergic reaction to flaxseeds before you include them in your diet. The seeds have been known to cause vomiting, nausea, and allergic reactions, even leading to life-threatening anaphylaxis in some cases. It can truly be an occupational hazard if you work in close proximity to flaxseed powder, maybe as a chef or baker (the powder is a great egg substitute too). It has been found to cause mild rhinitis – that is, stuffy nose due to the swelling of the mucous membranes in the nose – or asthma when inhaled regularly.

4. Increased Risk Of Premature Birth

Pregnancy is a time to exercise extra caution about what you eat and don’t eat. Even seemingly harmless natural foods can cause an untoward reaction; so it’s best to check with your doctor if are veering off your regular diet. As it turns out, flaxseed oil is to be avoided by pregnant women, especially in their second or third semester – the risk of premature birth and low birth weight has been found to increase almost four times.

5. Reaction With Other Medication

We know that flaxseeds are high in fiber and tend to block the digestive passage in a way. They can also reduce the absorption of other medicines or supplements and are best avoided when you are taking other oral medication. They may also interfere with or modulate the effects of certain medication like blood thinning or blood sugar medicines. So talk to your doctor before you add them to your diet.

More Than 1 Spoon Of Flaxseeds May Have Side Effects

More Than 1 Spoon Of Flaxseeds May Have Side Effects

Doctors recommend just a spoonful a day for the seed to work its magic. It’s best that the seeds are soaked or powdered before eating for easier absorption by the body. In fact, flaxseeds in whole or oil form can be quite difficult for the digestive tract to process and can lead to severe gastrointestinal issues when consumed regularly.

The Benefits Outweigh The Risk

So is this one more superfood flying out the window? Not necessarily! The goodness of flaxseeds far outweighs the possible downsides. Add the powder to just about anything – flour, batter, cereals, smoothies, or just plain yogurt, and your body has a lot to be thankful for – cardiovascular protection, a healthy digestive system, and hormonal balance being key. So do get in those flaxseeds, but remember, moderation is the operative word!



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