This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT
Putting together your weight loss diet can get confusing. What about flax seeds, are they good for your weight loss meals?
Flax seeds are seeds from the flax plant which are mainly cultivated in colder regions of the world. Fibers from the same plant get used to make linen.
Like many seeds, flax seeds contain a nice amount of nutrients but is that enough to make them good for weight loss?
Micronutrients in flax seeds
The first thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in flax seeds.
Micronutrients are a group of nutrients your body absolutely needs to survive and thrive. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. These are involved in basically every aspect of your health, including weight loss.
100 grams of flax seeds provides you with approximately (1):
- Manganese: 124% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Thiamin: 110% of the DV
- Magnesium: 98% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 64% of the DV
- Copper: 61% of the DV
- Selenium 36% of the DV
- Iron: 32% of the DV
- Zinc: 29% of the DV
- Calcium: 26% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 24% of the DV
- Potassium: 23% of the DV
- Folate: 22% of the DV
- Niacin: 15% of the DV
And a few others in smaller amounts. Flax seeds are a micronutrient powerhouse. If you combine them with a healthy diet your micronutrient levels will most likely be great.
Flax seeds also contain anti-oxidants. These are substances that help your body deal with oxidative stress, damage that occurs from day to day.
Fiber in flax seeds for weight loss
Another very important factor for weight loss is the amount of fiber in your food.
Flax seeds contain around 27.3 grams of fiber per 100 grams. This is an enormous amount compared to most other foods. And this is a good thing for most people.
Fiber has multiple benefits. First of all, it feeds your microbiome, the microbes that live in your intestines. The health of your microbiome influences your body’s health and weight. Feeding it well is usually not a bad idea.
Fiber also helps you feel less hungry without adding a lot of calories to your diet. Hunger and cravings can be a big pitfall for people trying to lose weight, so avoiding this is a big plus.
With such a large amount of fiber you can drastically reduce the time you spend craving for food.
Protein in flax seeds for weight loss
Another thing in food that can help you on your weight loss journey is the amount of protein in it.
Flax seeds contain about 18.3 grams of protein per 100 grams. To compare, this is decent compared to the 25.4 grams per 100 grams in salmon (2). This makes flax seeds in general a good source of plant-based protein.
Protein is considered to be the most filling of the 3 macronutrients. Eating enough protein will also help you prevent muscle loss. Since, muscle helps you burn extra calories throughout the day this is a big plus for protein and flax seeds for weight loss.
Do keep in mind that overdoing it with protein isn’t good either.
Do flax seeds help you lose belly fat?
Since losing belly fat is about total calorie intake, you still need a final piece of the puzzle. The amount of calories in flax seeds.
534 calories per 100 gram. 118 of these calories come from the carbohydrates (28.9 g per 100 grams of which 27.3 g fiber).
Since the amount of netto carbohydrates is so low, flax seeds are good for a low carb diet.
However, the amount of calories in flax seeds is on the large side.
One the one hand you have these awesome amounts of micronutrients, fiber and plant based protein but on the other hand you have this large amount of calories.
How much flax seed do you need to eat to lose weight?
The message is that it might be hard to fit in these calories in your daily diet plan but it might be worth it.
You also don’t have to go for the full 100 grams every day. 30 grams could be enough to provide you with some great nutrients without skyrocketing the amount of calories you consume everyday.
If you overdo it, flax seeds can make you gain weight due to the high amount of calories in it. The amount of flax seeds you should eat a day is very individual. It depends one the rest of your diet, your activity levels, the amount of calories you naturally burn each day,…
Possible side effects of eating flax seeds
Some people should think twice before increasing the amount of flax seeds they consume:
- Pregnant women
- People who get digestive problems by increasing fiber intake
- People with thin blood or who already take blood thinning medication
- People who are deficient in calcium, zinc, magnesium, copper, and iron
When to eat flax seeds
Eating too much too late at night can possibly reduce sleep quality. Sleep is extremely important for weight loss so you want to avoid this.
You can eat flax seeds both in the morning and in the evening. Preferably you would eat them in the morning to make sure you don’t mess up your sleep quality.
How to eat flax seeds
Make sure you chew enough or ground them. Otherwise they can go through your system rather unused.