Linseed love: A small seed with large benefits!

linseedLinseeds, also known as flax or flaxseeds, are flat, oval-shaped seeds with a pointed tip, with a light nutty taste, that range in colour from deep brown to light yellow (golden). Brown and golden linseeds have a similar nutrient profile and differences between them are probably a result of differences in environmental and growing conditions rather than seed colour¹.

Here I list 7 amazing benefits:

  • Good source of vitamins and minerals– including most of the B vitamins, magnesium, and manganese².
  • Good source of protein²– therefore, it is a great alternative to animal protein sources.
  • Source of dietary fibre (both soluble and insoluble) –Due to this, linseed has been found to reduce wind & bloating and constipationr¹ .
  • Great source of omega 3 fatty-acids (especially alpha-linolo-3enic acid), which could help to:
    • Lower risk of heart disease due to its cholesterol lowering effects³. Whether or not linseed can lower blood pressure however, remains inconclusive.
    • Lower blood glucose-Studies have found that ingestion of flaxseed can improve blood glucose profiles. For example, one study found that 12-week supplementation of a flaxseed-derived lignan complex, statistically significantly reduced HbA1c concentrations in type 2 diabetic patients as compared with the placebo.
    • Alleviate Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms– Linseed has been argued to improve the estrogen to progesterone ratio implicated in the aetiology of PMS. Approximately, 2000-3000 mg would need to be consumed per day.
  • Linseeds are a good source of phytochemicals¹. There is evidence to suggest that consuming foods rich in phytochemicals, decrease the risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
  • Hair styling– You can make gel for hair which is inexpensive and doesn’t flake.
    • Pour 2 cups of water and 1/4 cup of  linseed into a pot, on low/medium bring it to a boil. Stir until a white frothy gel like liquid forms (it will have a raw egg white consistency). Then turn off the heat.
  • Linseed can also be used as a natural moisturizer and also increases the strength of nails .

Where to purchase

You can buy linseeds from health foods shops, supermarkets, farmer’s markets and on the internet for e.g. amazon.

Usage:

Storage-Store in a cool, dry place, as they go rancid quickly. To keep them fresh, store airtight in the fridge.

Preparation

  • Soak the linseeds-A good way to get the best from them is to soak them first. Put one heaped dessertspoonful of seeds into a glass, cover with water and leave overnight.
  • Grind linseeds-You can grind them in a blender, pestle and mortar or coffee grinder before adding them to food.
  • Linseed oil is unsuitable for cooking because the heat will render it unstable.

Suggestions-

Start with a teaspoon a day, and increase slowly until you’re having 1-2 tablespoons and spread throughout the day.  It’s also important to increase your fluid intake along with your fibre.

  • Can also be used as a binder or egg substitute in baked goods. This could be useful to people with an egg allergy.
  • Flaxseed meal can be used to bulk out meat dishes for e.g. you can add flaxseed to meatballs or meatloaf.
  • Sprinkle linseeds onto cereal, salads, soups, fruit and yoghurt.
  • Add a teaspoon to the mustard or mayonnaise that you use.no-bake-energy-bites-flax-seeds
  • Blend flaxseed into juice or smoothies.
  • Add linseed to tomato sauces or to casseroles.
  • You can also make linseed tea.

 

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8 Comments

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