For centuries flaxseeds have been touted as one of the most powerful plant foods on the planet. That's a pretty big call for such a tiny seed. But, evidence shows it may help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Plus, it's proven helpful for our all-important beauty needs too!
Believed to have been cultivated in Mesopotamia as early as 4500 BCE, it was a common crop used in the production of nets, cloth, linseed oil, and even pharmaceuticals. Fibers from flax were found in linen used to wrap mummies in ancient Egypt. In the 8th century, King Charlemagne believed so strongly in the health benefits of flaxseeds that he passed a law requiring his loyal subjects to consume them!
Gut Health & Beauty
The gut plays a massively important role in the healthy function of our body. The digestive tract houses around 70% of the immune system and is where we absorb all of the essential nutrients we need from the food and supplements we consume. And when it comes to the skin, hair and nails, everything starts in the gut this mean optimalto produce healthy skin cells and synthesize collagen that keeps the skin looking youthful and healthy. Dr. Robynne Chutkan, author of Gut Bliss and The MicroBiome Solution, says “Your digestive tract is like the soil, and your hair and skin are like the plants: if the soil isn’t healthy, the plants won’t bloom properly.” By understanding that the gut and skin are interconnected, it can help us in dealing with skin conditions or just improve our skin by consuming the right "beauty nutrients".
6 Benefits of Flax Seeds For Skin, Hair and Nails
1. MINERAL CONTENT
Rich source of manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium, which are all important minerals for things like healthy cell growth, free radical protection, enhancing hydration, reducing inflammation, boosting elasticity and collagen, and even balancing hormone/oil production.
2. VITAMIN CONTENT
Packed with vital vitamins for skin health like; Vitamin E, B-complex vitamins –riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 and folate.
Flaxseed is one of the richest sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Plant based ALA is considered a heart-healthy fat that has been associated with reducing inflammation, promoting skin health and hair growth.
Flaxseed lignans are polyphenols (micronutrients) that provide antioxidant benefits for the skin by preventing free radical damage and by stimulating collagen synthesis. Phytochemicals like plant polyphenols have been widely studied and are generally considered to have anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antimicrobial effects.
5. PROTEIN CONTENT
A nutrient essential for the maintenance and repair of cells, tissue and organs. Flax protein is also extremely rich in amino acids.
6. FIBER CONTENT
Just one tablespoon will provide 8% of your daily value of fiber. But whole flax seeds are so small they can pass straight through your digestive tract leaving the nutrients unabsorbed. For the best benefits either buy ground flax or get yourself a dedicated coffee grinder.
DIY Flaxseed Gel Recipe
I'm not going to tell you this is a quick and easy DIY. Because it's not! It must also be stored in the fridge and only lasts for a week or two, due to the water content. But, if you have the time, it's so worth it. Especially if you have curly hair!
A Quarter Cup of Organic Flaxseeds
600ml Bottled water
Lavender Essential Oil (optional)
*A stocking to strain the gel from seeds*
*8oz Bottle (applicator bottle)*
Place seeds and water into a saucepan and bring to the boil.
Lower the heat to medium and let the seeds boil away for at least 10 minutes. You will know when the gel is ready because the water becomes stringy like mucus. Use a spoon to keep checking the consistency.
Turn heat off and let cool (very important) so you don't burn your hands straining!
Pour all the contents of the pan into a stocking and squeeze the gel out into a bowl. This is the messy bit! Store in an airtight container in the fridge for no more than 2 weeks.
I try to make this flaxseed gel as often as possible and use it everywhere. My hair, nails, brows, lashes and skin. It's a very economical part of my beauty regime as I buy a 1kg bag of organic flaxseeds for around £6 and it lasts for ages.
Skin: It may be a pain in the backside to make, but my skin loves flaxseed gel. It completely absorbs into the skin in seconds leaving no residue at all. I apply it after toner and before face oil/moisturiser. I use it on my body after a shower before lotion/body oil. It is especially good for scaly spots like my shins!
Nails: If you have weak, brittle nails you could be deficient in omega-3. This essential fatty acid nurtures the cells in the nail bed, prevents inflammation and aids in the absorption of other nutrients. I massage homemade flaxseed gel into my nails to keep them strong and healthy.
Lashes + Brows: Flaxseed gel makes the best eyebrow gel! Get yourself a packet of spoolies and brush on lashes + brows daily
Hair: If you have curly/wavy hair I highly recommend giving flaxseed gel a go. It works great as a curl defining, leave-in conditioner.
Smoothie: I use this coffee grinder to mill flaxseeds to keep in the fridge for a week or two. A spoonful of flax meal a day keeps my hair and nails in good condition. Add 1 Tbsp. to smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal or granola.
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