Linseeds, 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-linolenic 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 placebo⁴.
- Alleviate Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms⁵– 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 nails⁶ .
Where to purchase
You can buy linseeds from health foods shops, supermarkets, farmer’s markets and on the internet for e.g. amazon.
Storage-Store in a cool, dry place, as they go rancid quickly. To keep them fresh, store airtight in the fridge.
- 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.
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.
- Blend flaxseed into juice or smoothies.
- Add linseed to tomato sauces or to casseroles.
- You can also make linseed tea.