To those who are not familiar with it, flaxseed can sound as exotic as quinoa, acai berries, noni fruits or any other health food making health headlines recently. Flaxseed certainly counts as one of the most nutritious foods around, with its rich fiber and omega 3 fatty acids content, but if you’re not careful, the flaxseed benefits can lead to side effects. Let’s find out what the flaxseed side effects are so you will know how to avoid them and experience only the many health benefits.
Nausea, diarrhea, appetite loss, and stomach pains are some of the digestive problems associated with eating flaxseed, and it can be rather confusing, for isn’t the high fiber content of flaxseed supposed to treat gastrointestinal disorders? In the right amount and when taken correctly, the dietary fiber in flaxseed can do wonders to treat and prevent digestive problems, just as incorrect and excessive amounts can lead to said problems. Too much fiber leads to a laxative effect and diarrhea, but in some cases, very high doses may even cause intestinal blockage and constipation. To prevent this, stick to the dose approved by your doctor or nutritionist, such as one to two tablespoons of flaxseed a day, and never consume more than five tablespoons at a time. To help your body use and dispose of the fiber properly, drink plenty of water and eat a healthy diet with water-rich foods like berries, tomatoes, and leafy green vegetables.
Although whole flaxseeds are said to be the healthiest, you may be better off enjoying flaxseed oil or ground flaxseed benefits, both of which are easier for our bodies to digest. However, take care not to exceed the maximum dose for these flaxseed varieties, for they may still cause gastrointestinal problems in large amounts.
Decreased Blood Coagulation
The normal act of blood clotting is essential for open wounds to stop bleeding, but when the blood starts clotting inside the body, this can lead to serious problems, including heart attack and stroke. This is why some people need to take medicines like Warfarin to keep blood clots in their veins from developing and growing larger.
Unfortunately, flaxseed is just one of the healthy foods that inadvertently affect the circulatory system, much like how the side effects of hibiscus tea can lower blood pressure. Large doses of flaxseeds are known to give an anticoagulant effect on the blood. This is why consuming flaxseeds in high doses should be avoided by those on anticoagulant medication and who are going through surgery in a matter of days. Flaxseeds may cause the blood to “thin” out and keep the cells and platelets from naturally clotting, so consult your doctor first before taking flaxseeds if you are taking special medication or have surgery coming up.