Linseed (Linum usitatissimum) is also known as flaxseed. The plant is grown for food and oil, and is also the source of linen. Food grade ‘flaxseed oil’ is considered a health food, however the non-food grade known as linseed oil is used for wood finishes and painting.
There are two varieties of linseed – brown and golden (sometimes called yellow flax) – and they are similar in their nutritional composition. At Kialla we stock the brown linseed.
Wild flax was being spun, dyed and knotted during the paleolithic era – evidence of its use in present day Georgia dates back about 30,000 years. It’s likely that it was first domesticated in the ancient Middle East around 7000 BCE.
It was an important crop for many centuries. Roman sails were made from Egyptian linen, traded by the Phoenicians, and Charlemagne drafted laws promoting flax as healthy to eat and hygienic to wear.
However by the 20th century, with the advent of cheap cotton, the end of sailing ships, and the rise of the top 3 cereal grains, it had lost its importance as a major crop.
With 2.5g of Alpha-Linolenic Acid (an Omega 3 fatty acid), a tablespoon of linseed provides your entire daily recommended ALA intake. It’s anti-inflammatory properties may reduce the severity of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Linseeds are significantly higher in polyphenol antioxidants than fruits like blueberries or vegetables like olives. They are also the number one source of lignans (ahead of sesame seeds and linseed), which provide fibre-like benefits, and also antioxidant protection due to their structure as polyphenols.
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