October 4, 2019 6:35 am Leave your thoughts
Linseed is a fairytale ingredient. Also known as ‘flax’ or ‘flaxseed’, it gives its name to all those storybook princesses with flowing ‘flaxen’ (golden yellow) locks. Once harvested, it runs like soft sunshine through your fingers: it’s easy to imagine a fairytale heroine spinning it into gold! And growing in the fields, its pretty blue flowers make for a scene right out of the very best fairy stories.
At Naturally Good Food we sell linseed under the names of ‘flax’ and ‘flaxseed’ too. We stock both golden yellow and brown linseed, as well as cracked, crushed and ground linseed (and products made with linseed). The seed of the common flax plant, linseed has a subtle nutty flavour (which tends to be more pronounced in the brown variety than the gold). We obtain some of our linseed from the UK, where it grows well, tolerating our frequently wet summers with ease.
But why should we eat it? What’s so great about linseed?
Great for nutrition
Linseed (of both colours) contains both soluble and insoluble fibre: put bluntly, it works wonders for constipation! (Indeed, it can be overly effective in this area for some people, so don’t go over the recommended daily serving.) Fibre is also essential for keeping blood sugar and blood pressure stable, and for helping us manage our cholesterol levels.
Linseed is a good source of protein, which we use in our bodies to build and repair tissue. Protein obtained from food is what we use to make our enzymes, hormones, bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. If you’re on a diet that restricts protein in any form (including gluten-free and vegan diets), then linseed should be one of the ingredients you include in your weekly shop.
Linseed is also a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids. These are often referred to as ‘essential’ fatty acids. They help our bodies fight inflammation, lower our blood pressure, promote proper sleep and soothe our skin.
Mineral-wise, it’s phosphorus, magnesium and iron that top the bill for linseed. Phosphorus helps filter out the waste in our kidneys and keeps our bones strong and healthy. Magnesium regulates our muscle and nerve function, keeps blood sugar levels and blood pressure stable and assists in the manufacture of proteins, bones and DNA. Iron, meanwhile, builds our red blood cells, to carry oxygen around our bodies and provide us with energy.
Great for ‘free from’ diets
Linseed has particular value in ‘free from’ diets. It works as a useful thickener, with the seeds swelling in liquid and releasing a mucilage. This makes it a great ingredient in gluten-free baking, where it can absorb and retain the moisture in baked goods.
As a thickener, it also makes a good substitute for eggs in certain recipes, and is therefore useful for vegans and those with allergies to eggs. Follow a tried and tested egg-free recipe to use it to its full advantage.
How to use linseed
Linseed is a great way to add nutrition, texture and taste to your diet – but it’s not always immediately obvious how to get the best benefits from it. Here are some suggestions:
- Sprinkle linseed over muesli or yoghurt, or into smoothies and soups, for added texture and taste. Ground linseed (see below) is a good choice here, if you don’t want ‘bits’ in your dish!
- Add linseed to baked goods (including on the top), for a warm, nutty flavour. Linseed makes a good addition to almost any kind of cookie, biscuit, cake, flapjack or muffin – and again, if you don’t want anyone to notice it, choose the ground variety.
- Include linseed in a mixed seed mix, with sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds too. Such a mix makes a good snack on its own, or can be stirred into muesli, porridge or similar.
- Use linseed to plump out a vegan burger – it should also help it all stick together.
All our linseed
We have brown linseed in organic and non-organic varieties too, and again, in a range of sizes. The brown tends to be cheaper than the golden variety, but is nutritionally identical.
We’ve also got ground linseed. This appeals to customers who want the benefits of linseed, but need to use it as a powder, perhaps in baking or smoothies. Some customers are concerned that linseed in seed form might just ‘pass straight through’ – the powder makes it more easily absorbable.
Along the same lines, we have cracked linseed from Biona. This has been crushed to break the strong outer husk, making it easier to digest, while still retaining some crunch.
Linseed oil, meanwhile, contains the highest level of omega-3 fatty acids of all vegetable oils. It’s recommended by nutritionists to protect against high blood pressure, inflammation, water retention and lowered immune function. It can also help to shorten the recovery time for muscles after exercise and can boost stamina. It has a low ‘flash point’ however, so isn’t suitable for cooking. Use it as a nutty, buttery dressing or dip instead.
Click here to explore all our linseed options – and include some in your daily diet. It’s a great way of ensuring that you too can live Happily Ever After!biona, British grown linseed, British linseed, brown linseed, bulk linseed, cracked linseed, crushed linseed, egg substitute, flax, flax oil, flax seed, flaxseed, free from cooking, Gluten free, golden linseed, ground linseed, linseed, linseed butter, linseed oil, linseed powder, linseed products, milled linseed, muesli, non-organic linseed, organic linseed, porridge, Prewetts, pumpkin seeds, rye and linseed bread, sunflower seeds, thickener, UK grown linseed, UK linseed, vegan, yellow linseed
This post was written by Yzanne