Flax Seed

Flaxseed in our diet.
Flax (Linum usitatissimum = Flax the useful) is part of a larger family (Linaceae) flowering plants native to the area from the eastern Mediterranean to India for more than 5,000 years.
For many years it was underrated. The used mainly in fiber production, oil, nets, twines, ropes, and animal feed. Only the poor consumed it for the low (obviously) cost.
Recently researchers discovered the great health benefits and the well-known since antiquity seed suddenly became one of the "magic" super foods.
Flaxseed can be found in two colors:


This is the traditional flaxseed with all the nutrients and benefits. I always buy brown linseed and only if I don't find any (rare), I do buy golden.


It is a variant with small to nonexistent nutritional differences that was made to be sold at a higher price. This is not husked brown flaxseed (as mistakenly written in some pages on the Internet).
There is a golden variant, modified linseed, which does NOT have the omega-3 fatty acids and therefore lacks the advantages of the brown.
You may find grated flaxseed in the market. Do not buy it! The flaxseed contains ~45% oil. In a few days, after grating, it goes rancid and bitter. This is due to oxidation of the oil.
Also can find flaxseed oil (cold pressed for cooking). Avoid it for the same reason. If you do buy it, store it in the refrigerator and use it raw in a few days.
I grind flax seeds in the blender. The result looks like wholemeal. I put it in a glassy container and then in the refrigerator.
I never grind over 250 grams/ ½ pound. This way is always fresh. I tried once to grind a large quantity (500 grams/ 1 pound) in one shot and I was not satisfied with the result (too coarse).
It stays fresh in the refrigerator for weeks. It may stay fresh longer, but it never stayed long enough to see.

Flaxseed contains

  • Dietary fiber (27%) that helps bowel function.
  • Lignans that function as antioxidants and plant estrogens. These may protect from breast and prostate cancer.
  • Contains fats (~45%). Most of them are omega-3 fatty acids, less omega-9 fats (oleic acid, such as in olive oil) and little omega-6 fats (which we should avoid them, as you know).
  • Contains only very few carbohydrates (~1.5% sugar) and is suitable for low-carb diets replacing the flour.

Flaxseed & Health

Studies have shown that flaxseed is likely to help in
  • lowering cholesterol
  • in some cases of prostate or breast cancer
  • stabilizing the blood sugar in diabetics
  • good bowel function due to the dietary fiber contained
  • reducing chronic inflammation (anti-inflammatory)
  • reducing the impact of allergies
  • improving the appearance of the skin
  • improving arthritis
I always buy brown linseed and only if I don't find (rarely) I do buy golden.
Of the two bags you see in the picture, one on the left (known brand) are packaged and purchased from health food store in London, weighing ½ kgr/ 1 pound.
The second is purchased in bulk at farmers' markets, weighing 250 grams /½ pound.
You can find flaxseed in many places, just look for it.

How do I use flaxseed in my kitchen

The seed coat is relatively hard and does not dissolve in the stomach and intestine. It has to be grinded, so it can be absorbed from our digestive systems.
The best option we have, to include it in our diet is to consume it ground, and use it raw in salads and our food, yoghurt or cereal breakfast.
We can replace part of flour and use it as flour making various bakery products like biscuits, cakes, bread, rolls and more.
I use it as condiment in raw green salads, σε beet salads or in cooked food in olive oil, such as briam, aubergine, okra etc.
In bakery, cakes and breads.
The treatment of flax is very laborious until the uprooted plant becomes clothing thread. That's why the phrase "suffered the flax passions" refers metaphorically to large misfortunes that follow one another:
"The treatment from the field to produce the thread was done by organized groups of women. Before the perfect ripening of the seed, the plants where uprooted, the grain was harvested and was wetted.
The flax bundles where soaked in special pits for 10-15 days to rot the woody part of the shoot. Then they were dryed in the sun and beaten to produce the fiber.
They beat it again to get the root from which they produced a lower quality fiber. After a lot more beating they produced the pure line fiber that was brushed with bristle brushes."
flax seed

Where can I find Flaxseed.

In some countries they sell them in the supermarkets.
If not look in stores:
that sell health food.
that sell nuts.
You can find it on the Internet (e-shops) where you can order and get a mail order.