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How are Flax Seeds and Immunity Linked ?

Boosting our immunity is the need of the hour. In a non-COVID world, a lot of what we eat, our physical activity and our lifestyle choices determine how strong our immunity is. 

Many foods contain immunity-boosting components that not just strengthen but also boost our body’s immunity, enabling it to fight infections and prevent lifestyle diseases. 

These foods include a wide range of seeds, some of which are also called as superfoods, such as chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds etc.

How do Flax Seeds Boost Immunity?

Among these seeds, flax seeds are more commonly eaten– as a whole or their flour is eaten by mixing into whole wheat flour, jowar or bajra flours. But, what do flax seeds contain that makes them essential for immunity? 

Well, there are two components present in them that are said to have a direct influence on our body’s immunity– Alpha Linolenic Acid(ALA) and lignans

ALA is an essential omega-3 fatty acid whereas, lignans is a type of phytoestrogen. These are said to have an effect on the immune cells as well as mediators of immune response. For instance, ALA is seen to suppress the proliferation of peripheral mononuclear lymphocytes as well as takes part in delayed hypersensitivity response to certain infectious agents.

Studies have also showed that the lignans present in flax seeds also modulate the immune response in the case of autoimmune diseases.

What do Flax Seeds do to the Immune System?

So far we have learnt that the flax seeds positively affect the immune system and its responses, thereby protecting our body. Together, ALA and lignans reduce the production of proinflammatory chemicals and suppress the production of lymphocytes, and their proliferation. The lignans also inhibit platelet-activating factor, which mediates inflammatory reactions in the body.

Due to these effects, these components of the flax seed are being considered for the treatment of disorders like SLE(Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), psoriasis, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and nephritis.

While these chemicals found in flax seeds protect our body from the above mentioned diseases, they also defend it from infectious agents like bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungus and diseases caused by them.

The food we eat should always be able to strengthen our body’s defenses and the immune system. Flax seeds are very versatile and easy to add to your daily meals. A hand full of roasted flax seeds make for a crunchy, healthy snack, a crunchy element to your salads and the flour is a tasty addition to your regular flour rotis.