Flax seeds or linseeds are small brown, tan or golden-coloured seeds. They are the richest plant based source of omega 3 or ALA (alpha-linoleic acid). They are also the #1 source of lignans in human diets. Flaxseeds contain about 7 times as many lignans as the closest runner-up, sesame seeds.
Flax has been consumed as food for nearly 6,000 years. It may very well have been the world’s first cultivated superfood! It is also naturally gluten free.
What could it do for me?
Flax seed benefits could help you improve digestion, give you clear skin, lower cholesterol, reduce sugar cravings, balance hormones, fight cancer and promote weight loss and much more. Whilst many health benefits are still being studied there is enough anecdotal evidence to justify incorporating it into your diet frequently.
What can I do with it?
Flax seeds can be eaten whole, ground into flour or sprouted. Whole and ground flaxseeds are often used in gluten free baking, usually in bread, as well as making crackers. Unlike isolated flaxseed oil, whole or ground flaxseeds contain an assortment of compounds including vitamins, minerals, fiber and lignans. It is this “matrix” of compounds that helps to make flaxseed heat stable, resistant to degradation and therefore suitable for use in baking.
Vegan and vegetarian bakers can use flax as an egg substitute.
The whole seeds can also be used raw or roasted in muesli/granola.
The oil can be used in salads, smoothies etc but must never be heated as it will rapidly degrade with heat.
How do I store it ?
Flaxseed is best kept in an airtight container in your pantry. Flaxmeal or ground flax seeds must be kept in the freezer. It can become rancid quite rapidly when exposed to air. In the freezer it will keep for many months.