What is Flaxseed?

Flaxseeds (also known as linseeds) are small seeds that come from flax, which is known as one of the oldest fibre crops in the entire world and is known to have been cultivated in Ancient Egypt and China. Its health benefits have therefore resounded throughout history and its Latin name “Linum Usitatissimum” translates to “the most useful”. Flaxseeds are an incredibly rich form of micronutrients, dietary fibre, manganese, vitamin B1 and the omega-3 essential fatty acid Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA). Through to the modern day, researches have pinpointed many benefits that this seed can have upon our health and have often concluded that this single source of healthy fats, antioxidants and fibre could be a main factor in lowering the risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

There are 2 main types of flaxseed including golden flaxseed and brown flaxseed, which both share similar nutritional profiles and contain the same number of short chain omega-3 fatty acids. Despite its long list of incredible benefits, the American Nutrition Association suggests that flaxseed is a “neglected food”. However, they also emphasise the importance of flaxseed, due to the fact that is an excellent source of 2 essential fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid and linoleic acid) as well as fibre, vitamins and minerals. Alongside this, flaxseed is also a very low source of cholesterol and sodium, which further add to its benefits.

In order to gain the most benefits from flaxseeds they should not be eaten whole, but should be ground before consumption. If eaten whole, flaxseed could pass through the digestive tract undigested, meaning that all of its goodness can’t get to work. Although the therapeutic and beneficial properties of flaxseeds are not completely understood, many modern studies are beginning to conclude that flaxseed may in fact be the wonder food that it has been claimed to be. Flaxseeds can be eaten in their natural form or they can also be taken in supplement form as Flaxseed Oil. Flaxseed oil (also known as linseed oil) is a drying oil that is extracted from the flax seed in order to create a daily supplement that makes it easy and simple to gain all of the benefits of flaxseed.

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