There has been lots of evidence over the years about the many health benefits of flaxseeds, but in particular they can be good for constipation sufferers, and are easy to add to your diet.
Flaxseeds (also known as linseeds) are mainly known for their laxative effect on the bowels. Being full of soluble fibre, they help to create bulk in the stool and keep your bowel movements regular, thereby preventing any build-up or constipation.
Flaxseeds have a tough outer shell that makes them difficult to digest so I strongly recommend that you buy them pre-ground or if you do buy them whole, use a coffee grinder to break them down to benefit fully. They are easily found in good health food stores and some supermarkets, and are best kept in the fridge to keep them fresh.
So, how much flaxseed should I take?
When including flaxseed in your diet, start slowly and build up over a few weeks to prevent any unwanted side effects like bloating or gas, and to ensure that they don’t actually make your constipation worse.
You must also make sure you are drinking enough water when adding flaxseed to the diet. Flaxseeds actually absorb a lot of water, so if you do not drink enough, they can have the opposite effect and lead to constipation.
Start with ½ tablespoon a day and gradually build up to 2 tablespoons a day.
Ways to include flaxseed within your diet:
- Sprinkle it onto your cereal or stir it into your porridge or yoghurt.
- Add it to your baking recipes – see below for a delicious flaxseed muffin recipe!
- Add it to smoothies – click here for a great smoothie recipe for constipation
- Sprinkle it onto salads, stirfries or rice dishes as it has a nutty flavour
Make a muffin!
- 125g wholemeal self-raising flour
- 100g white self-raising flour
- 25g ground flaxseeds
- pinch of salt
- 40g soft brown sugar
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 egg
- 200ml milk/non-dairy alternative
- 85g raisins or other dried fruit
- Preheat the oven to 220C/Gas mark 7
- Mix everything together and then spoon into a muffin tray/muffin cases and bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown.
Flaxseeds are also good for keeping your cholesterol in check, reducing inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and eczema and also supporting healthy brain function, so get sprinkling!