Diabetes is a chronic condition that inhibits the body’s ability to process blood glucose. If this condition is not managed carefully, it can lead to an accumulation of sugars in the blood. This increases the risk of dangerous complications such as stroke or heart disease. Flaxseeds are one of the best natural remedies when it comes to managing diabetes. The seeds contain many health-promoting compounds that have also been shown to reduce blood sugar levels and slow down the development of type 2 diabetes. Adding flax seeds to your diet as well as making lifestyle changes can greatly help to manage diabetes.
Flax seeds are a great source of alpha-linolenic acid which is an omega-3 fatty acid. The body cannot synthesize Omega-3 fatty acids and thus they have to be obtained from dietary sources. Flaxseeds also contain a high amount of digestible proteins and amino acids. Here are some of the health benefits of flax seeds that may help people with diabetes manage the condition.
Flax seeds help regulate blood sugar levels
Keeping blood sugar levels under control is very important for people with diabetes. Flax seeds contain a high amount of fiber which plays a significant role in controlling blood sugar. Taking a lot of fiber prevents spikes in blood sugar and instead makes them rise steadily. This is particularly due to the soluble fiber content in flaxseed which slows down digestion. When soluble fiber is mixed with water, it forms a viscous mass which reduces the rate of absorption of certain nutrients including sugar. The insoluble fiber content is also beneficial as it prevents constipation by increasing fecal bulk.
Flax seeds increase insulin sensitivity
Insulin is a hormone that is made in the pancreas and is used to keep blood sugar levels from getting to high or too low. When there is excess sugar in the body, insulin helps store it in the liver and releases it when blood sugar falls or when the body needs more sugar. As the blood sugar rises the pancreas produces more insulin. If the body is unable to respond to insulin, it requires greater amounts to be produced in order to lower blood sugar levels. This is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Improving insulin sensitivity in the body can prevent and treat type 2 diabetes.
Flax seeds contain lignans which largely consist of secoisolariciresinol diglucoside. These compounds act as antioxidants and have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, thus slowing down the development of diabetes. Studies have shown that secoisolariciresinol diglucoside has the ability to delay the development of both types and type 2 diabetes. Flaxseeds also contain alpha-linoleic acid which has been linked with improved insulin sensitivity in diabetics. Taking flax seeds to boost insulin sensitivity works in a dose-dependent manner thus the larger the dose, the greater the improvement.
Flax seeds reduce the risk of developing heart disease
Heart disease and stroke are to a great extent brought about by diabetes. Taking flax seeds has been shown to help protect against these conditions. The seeds have a high fiber content that slows down fat metabolism and absorption of cholesterol. They also contain phytoestrogens which are important in reducing blood pressure. Flaxseeds also have anti-inflammatory properties which can prevent diabetes risks such as heart disease and stroke.
It is advisable to take ground or milled flax seeds as whole seeds are harder to digest. They are a great source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Flax seeds can significantly improve blood glucose control, insulin sensitivity and lower the risk of heart disease.