Last updated: August 18, 2021

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Welcome back to Monederosmart! Linseed or flaxseed is characterised and noted for its numerous properties and health benefits. This food is an excellent source of fibre, vitamins, minerals, proteins and essential acids for the proper functioning of the body.

On the other hand, flaxseed is an extremely versatile product, since it can also be consumed as oil, flour, dietary supplements, etc. It also prevents multiple diseases and has a wide variety of gastronomic, medicinal, cosmetic and even textile uses.

Throughout this article we will tell you about the most important characteristics of this superfood, including its best-selling variants, its different costs and the shops where you can buy it, among many other details that will be of great help to you at the time of purchase.




The most important

  • Flaxseed is a food recognised and valued for its numerous properties and health benefits. Among its many advantages, it combats constipation and prevents coronary, digestive and bone diseases and different types of cancer, such as breast, prostate and colon cancer.
  • The most commonly used varieties of flaxseed are seeds, oil and flour. These healthy varieties differ from each other mainly in their textures, flavours and types of preparations, among other important aspects.
  • When buying flaxseed, it is essential that you take into account certain factors, such as its different varieties, types of uses and possible contraindications or side effects, among other relevant particularities.

The Best Flax: Our Picks

Buying guide: What you need to know about flaxseed

The main objective of this buying guide is to provide you with information about the product you are interested in buying. That is why we will tell you about the main characteristics of flaxseed, including its advantages and those aspects that are not so beneficial or recommendable.

Flaxseed is an excellent food for preventing coronary diseases. (Photo: belchonock / 123rf.com)

What is flaxseed and what are its benefits?

Flaxseed, or linseed, is the seed of the Linum usitatissimum plant. This food is a very important source of fibre, protein, vitamins E and B1, magnesium, iron and essential fatty acids such as Omega 3 and Omega 6, among many other nutrients.

Flaxseeds also contain phytochemicals that strengthen the immune system. They also regulate blood pressure, prevent heart disease and various types of cancer, strengthen bones, nails and teeth, contribute to digestive function and reduce fluid retention.

They are also antioxidants, help combat constipation, provide energy and reduce stress and anxiety. Moreover, they are excellent for treating diabetes, ulcers and for supplementing weight loss diets, due to their low calorie and high fibre content.

Advantages
  • It has fibre, vitamins, minerals and essential acids
  • it is anti-inflammatory
  • it combats constipation
  • it prevents numerous diseases
  • it helps weight loss
Disadvantages
  • It can cause allergy
  • it is not recommended to be consumed during pregnancy
  • it is not recommended for people with intestinal inflammation
  • it is contraindicated for people suffering from systemic sclerosis

Flaxseed seeds, oil and flour - what should you look out for?

Due to the versatility of this food, you can find flaxseed, flaxseed meal and flaxseed oil on the market to prepare different types of food. In the following, we will detail the particularities and uses of these variants so that you can choose the one that suits you best.

Linseed. The most common way to consume flaxseed or linseed is through its brown seeds. They are very easy to find in health food shops or commercial shops, and you can incorporate them into any type of sweet or savoury food due to their extremely mild flavour.

Flaxseed oil. Flaxseed oil, which is extracted from the seeds, is the variant that best preserves the essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It is also available in capsules, although its properties will be less effective due to the encapsulation process.

Flaxseed meal. Flaxseed meal is obtained by crushing the seeds. This procedure improves the absorption of nutrients and fibre, and allows this food to be used as a breading for grilled meats and vegetables, or to prepare breads, puddings, cakes, pancakes, crepes and many other sweet and savoury dishes.

Seeds Oil Flour
Presentations Loose, packet Bottle, capsules Loose, packet
Preparations Sprinkled on salads, breads, puddings, yoghurts, etc. Preparation of salads, breads, etc. Preparation of breads, puddings, cakes, etc.
Flavour Very mild Pleasant Slightly intense
Texture Crunchy Liquid Rough
Main characteristics Most common form of flaxseed consumption Flaxseed variant with more omega 3 and 6 Very versatile and adaptable to different preparations

Ground or whole flaxseed?

Flaxseed can be bought whole or ground. Below, we will discuss the main differences between the two forms so that you can choose the one that suits you best, depending on your personal tastes and preferences.

Ground flaxseed. This is the most recommended way of consuming flaxseed, as it is easier for our digestive system to assimilate it in ground form, making it easier to take advantage of all its benefits. You can also buy whole flaxseed and process it at home if you wish.

Whole flaxseed. Whole flaxseed has the same nutritional properties as the ground variant, but, as explained in the previous paragraph, it can be a little more difficult to digest and assimilate. However, either variant will provide you with enormous benefits.

Is it possible to get flaxseed in seed mix?

Flaxseeds can be bought loose or combined with other seeds that complement and enhance all the properties and benefits of this natural food, such as chia, sesame, poppy, amaranth and sunflower, among many others.

All these seeds tend to have a very mild and pleasant taste, so they can be mixed and added to any type of preparation or food without altering the taste or being invasive, making them highly adaptable and versatile.

Purchasing criteria

In this last section of the article, we will discuss the purchasing criteria that you should not lose sight of when selecting your favourite variety of flaxseed. This information will be of great help in choosing the most suitable product for you and making the most of its multiple benefits.

  • Varieties
  • Uses
  • Supplements
  • Contraindications

Varieties

There are two main varieties of flaxseed: brown and golden. Below, we will discuss the most important characteristics of each of these varieties so that you can choose the one that best suits your preferences and specific needs.

Brown linseed. This is the most common and widely consumed variety, and you can find them in health food stores or in commercial shops, either in the form of seeds, flours or oils. The seeds are also sold whole or crushed, and have a very mild, almost unnoticeable taste.

Golden linseed. As a lesser consumed variety, golden linseed is more difficult to obtain in commercial shops, and costs considerably more than the brown variants. Golden linseeds are usually only sold whole and have a more intense flavour than the dark ones.

Both varieties have virtually the same nutritional properties, so you will reap the full benefits of this food by choosing one or the other. The uses are also similar, although foods prepared with golden flaxseed will have a more intense and aromatic taste.

Brown and golden flaxseed differ from each other mainly because of the more intense flavour of the latter. (Photo: Brent Hofacker / 123rf.com)

Uses

Flaxseed is an extremely beneficial and versatile food, incorporated into many different types of uses. Here are some of them for you to consider when using this extraordinary natural product.

Medicinal. Flaxseed is known for its numerous healing properties, as it helps to reduce certain types of cancer, cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases, Parkinson's and asthma. In addition, its daily intake is beneficial for diabetics as it lowers blood sugar.

This superfood also helps to strengthen bones, nails and hair, reduce intestinal inflammation and bloating, improve and facilitate proper digestion, combat constipation, and lower blood sugar levels, among many other benefits.

Gastronomic. Another of the characteristics of flaxseed is its variety of gastronomic uses, as it can be consumed as a seed (spread on sweet or savoury foods), oil (accompanying preparations or as a condiment for different dishes), and flour (used to make breads, puddings, pancakes, etc.).

On the other hand, it is also often incorporated in ground or powdered form into different varieties of juices and smoothies to boost its properties and provide energy. Many people drink vegetable and fruit smoothies with flaxseed as a supplement to weight loss diets.

Cosmetics. Flaxseed has mucilage and pectin that repair and protect the skin from different conditions, so it is used to nourish the face, hair and nails, to cleanse the skin, to eliminate impurities or acne, and to prevent premature ageing.

Flaxseed also relieves psoriasis and eczema, and acts as a soothing agent against burns and irritations. It can be consumed orally, through food and juices, or applied topically, through creams, tonics or linseed oils.

Flaxseed in the textile industry

When we think of flaxseed, we immediately associate this product with gastronomy, or homeopathic medicine, or natural cosmetics, but hardly with the textile industry. However, it is a nutritious foodstuff that is used as a material for making various things.

Textiles. Linen fabrics, obtained from the fibres of the flaxseed plant, are characterised by their strength, durability, beauty and versatility, which is why they are used for blouses, trousers, jackets and shirts, even underwear. We recommend them if you can pay a bit more and you are looking for clothes for the day to day.

Textile accessories. Due to the beneficial characteristics of flaxseed, fabrics made from these fibres are also used to make accessories for personal use, such as scarves and handkerchiefs, and for home decoration, such as blankets and cushions. If you are looking for something decorative and durable, don't hesitate to choose these.

Due to its versatility, flaxseed is used for gastronomic, medical, cosmetic and even textile purposes. (Photo: Jens Gade / 123rf.com)

Supplements

Flaxseed oil can be consumed in liquid form, as a condiment or food supplement, or in soft gelatin capsules, as a chemical supplement. In the following, we will discuss some aspects of the latter variant.

Encapsulation. The capsules must undergo a process of encapsulation, which can diminish their effects and benefits. It is therefore recommended that flaxseed be consumed through oils, seeds and flours, which are its most natural and nutritionally effective variant.

However, capsules are a good option for those who do not wish to incorporate flax into their daily diet, either because they do not like it or because they do not have the time. In addition, these tablets can be integrated with other oils such as fish oil, which also has high amounts of omega 3 and 6.

Dosage. Flaxseed capsules or softgels usually come in packs of 60, 90 or 120 units. It is recommended to consume 1 to 4 tablets daily, depending on the brand and the specific functions of the dietary supplement.

It is recommended that you consume 1 or 2 capsules if it is a vitamin booster and 3 to 4 if it is to treat a specific pathology. In any case, it is advisable to consult your GP for a prescription according to your clinical picture.

Contraindications

Despite its innumerable benefits, flaxseed may have some contraindications. Below, we will comment on the cases in which this food can cause certain side effects, so that you can take them into account before making your purchase.

Intestinal diseases. In the case of inflammatory intestinal diseases, especially acute ones such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, for example, the consumption of flaxseed is not recommended, as its high fibre content can have a harmful laxative effect on the body.

Allergies. Allergy sufferers should take certain precautions before consuming flaxseed, as this food may cause adverse reactions in some cases, such as rashes, rashes, inflammation, etc. However, this is rare.

Pregnancy. Some research claims that it is not safe to consume flaxseed during the second or third month of pregnancy, as it may increase the chances of premature birth. However, other research says there is no risk, so it is best to check with your doctor.

Young children. Flaxseed is contraindicated in children under six months of age, because it is a high-fibre food and the digestive system of young children is not yet ready to process it correctly and efficiently.

Coagulation disorders. In patients with severe coagulation disorders, flaxseed consumption could increase the risk of haemorrhages, so it is recommended in these cases to consult a doctor before incorporating flaxseed into the daily diet.

Surgery. Flaxseed consumption may also increase the risk of haemorrhages or heavy bleeding during and after surgery, so it is recommended to stop taking flaxseed at least two weeks before surgery, if it is scheduled.

(Featured image photo: Voraorn Ratanakorn / 123rf.com)

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