What is Linseed
Linseed (which also goes by the name Flaxseed) is the small seed which comes from the flax plant, also known as Linum usitatissimum. It usually comes in two varieties, Brown Linseed and Golden Linseed, which as you might’ve guessed is due to their colour. People may claim that one is better for you than the other, but there is very little nutritional difference between the two.
Linseed is generally sold either as whole seeds or ground into a coarse powder, it also comes in the form of an oil. Whilst you can consume them either way, most experts recommend the ground form as it is much easier for the body to digest. Whole Linseed may pass through your intestine undigested, which means you might not receive all the nutritional benefits.
A long time before Linseed was the super food we know it as today, its primary use was actually to make textiles, such as clothing. Linseed oil is still used today for a variation of other things such as wood finish, linoleum, oil paint and even moisturiser.
For even more background on Linseed, please take a look at our previous article What is Linseed
But we’re here today to talk to you about the good stuff - Food!
Adding Linseed to Your Diet
There is a wide variation of ways you can include Linseed in your diet. It can be added to food or taken as a daily supplement. It’s an easy food to include as neither Whole nor Ground Linseeds need to be cooked before being eaten.
Linseed is mild in taste, in fact a lot of people find it rather neutral, but it does vary slightly depending on which variety you go for. Brown Linseed has a deeper, earthy, nutty flavour, whereas Golden Linseed is slightly lighter in taste and nuttier in flavour. Ground Linseed also tends to be richer in flavour compared to Whole Linseed, as the grinding process releases more of the oils.
Due to the subtle taste, you can sprinkle Linseed on pretty much anything! If you’re looking for an easy way to incorporate it daily, why not try putting a dusting on top on your morning porridge, cereal, or yoghurt. It can even be used to make tea!
Linseed is also an impressive binding agent due to its oil content. It can also be used as a replacement for flour. From cookies and muffins to bread and pancakes - Linseed can help make them all! So, for any vegans, coeliacs or people on a plant-based diet, Linseed could be the perfect answer for your baking needs.
For more details on how to bake with this healthy superfood, look no further than Baking With Linseed
Linseed Oil can be mixed with other oils to make dressings or vinaigrettes for salads and vegetables. Much like the Ground Linseed it can also be added to soups, mixed into smoothies, and used to make hummus.
Just make sure that you have at least 150ml of fluid per tablespoon of Linseeds taken. This is due to the high content of fibre in Linseed. Increasing fibre in your diet means you should also increase your water intake to counterbalance it. You could even add a tablespoon of Linseed into your water, or any other type of drink you prefer, and take it that way!
Health Benefits of Linseed
If you’re looking for a food source that is full of nutritional benefits - then look no further! There’s good reason Linseed is classed as a superfood. Though small, they are rich in the omega-3 fatty acid ALA, protein, lignans and fibre, which have all been proved to have many potential health benefits.
If you don’t eat fish or are on a plant-based diet, Linseed is a great source to get in your omega-3 fats. ALA is one of the two essential fatty acids that your body does not produce naturally so it needs to be obtained from the food we eat. ALA fatty acids are linked to a lower risk of stroke and have been proven to have heart health benefits.
Linseeds actually contain up to 800 times more lignans than other types of plant food. Lignans are plant compounds that have antioxidant and oestrogen properties, these can both aid in lowering the risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer and improve health overall.
Due to the high amount of fibre in Linseed, people suffering with digestion issues, may benefit from eating it regularly. Their impressive fibre content works as a natural laxative and promotes regular bowel movements. Fibre can also help with weight management, as it helps you to feel fuller for longer.
Linseed is also a great addition to your diet if you want to help keep your skin healthy. As they contain a high amount of oil, it can in turn boost the production of your body's natural oil, keeping skin soft, moisturised, and hydrated.
As stated earlier, it is suggested to opt for Ground Linseed rather than Whole Linseed. You may not reap as many benefits from eating them whole, as your intestines cannot always break down the tough outer shell of the seeds. However, you can always grind Whole Linseed yourself using a blender or food processer.
If we’ve convinced you to try it out, then look no further than our range of Linseed right here at Wholefood Earth.