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Flax to gold – the benefits of linseeds

Posted on August 27th, 2014

linseedWhen I look at golden flaxseed I am reminded of the story of Rumpelstiltskin, who is able to turn flax into gold for the poor princess.  They are certainly a rich golden colour, but the real gold is in the qualities that they can transmit to our bodies and brains.  These seeds (whether golden or brown) are a powerhouse, containing 50 percent omega 3s.  Taken as an oil, this is almost twice as much as fish oil, generally recommended for providing our essential fatty acids, but which we are now warned may be contaminated by pollution, and/or carcinogenic if they go rancid. Linseeds provide both linoleic acid and alpha linoleic acid, unlike other vegetable oils.

Linseed is perfect for vegetarians and vegans. For those eating a high raw diet it offers a wonderful range of possibilities as it can be used ground up as flour, soaked to obtain a gel-like consistency, or be taken as the oil.  If doing the latter, it’s important to obtain sources that are fresh (look for brands that have the date of pressing on them). The oil is unsaturated and good for the heart.  You can also take it as a supplement.  If using the oil, keep it refrigerated once opened, and do not use it for frying, as the heat will destroy its benefits.

flax crackers smlThe soaked seeds are great for making crackers, and the ground up seeds for mixing up with pulp left over from juicing and other favourite ingredients to create deliciously chewy bars and ‘breads’ or cakes in the dehydrator.   You can scatter the seeds as they are on salads and smoothies, but be sure to either soak them or chew them up really well or they could just get stuck in your system, or pass straight through thanks to their hard casing.

Linseed’s Omega 3’s have a host of health benefits claimed for them, from feeding the brain and avoiding ‘brain fog’, to  improving  the quality of hair, nails, and skin, to weight regulation, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, decreasing the probability of clots, and helping prevent arthritis and cancers. They are claimed to relieve asthma by reducing inflammation and improving lung function, to be beneficial against PMS, and to prevent the excess toxic bio-chemicals that the body produces under stress.

(Pregnant or breastfeeding women are advised against large amounts of flax).

The flax plant, like the hemp plant, yields fibre from which linen is made as well as seeds and oil.

We will explore some of the uses of flaxseeds for health on our next workshop, on 13th September in Glastonbury.  Hope you can join us!