Linseeds: a source of Omega 3
Linseeds which are also known as flaxseeds have been consumed for thousands of years. They are small golden/tan seeds that are an excellent source of omega 3 fats, fibre and a whole load of other vitamins and minerals.
Linseeds also contain the most abundant amount lignans found in food. Lignans are natural photoestrogens and are able to increase or decrease estrogen activity depending on your hormonal status. For this reason many studies have been done on lignans and their effect on fighting breast cancer and other estrogen related malignancies. They have also shown to have benefits for menopausal woman by balancing estrogen levels, linseeds can be taken along side hormonal replacement medications, and in some cases used as an alternative. (Check with your GP first)
Linseeds are also a great source of other vitamins and minerals such as manganese, thiamine, magnesium, B6, folate, potassium, iron and zinc. They are also one of the richest plant based sources of omega 3 ALA (Alpha Linolenic Acid) which offers heart health benefits along with lowering blood pressure and preventing hardening of the arteries.
Linseeds are an excellent source of fibre, both soluble and insoluble. When eaten whole we only get the benefits of the insoluble fibre - mucilage gum, which is a water soluble gel forming fibre that is able to move through our digestive system undigested. Because of the gel it forms, it is able to keep food in the stomach longer which increases nutrient absorption from the food we eat.
Unfortunately when eaten whole linseeds pass through our digestive tract without being digested. You will only get the benefits of the insoluble fibre and lignans. To gain all the benefits from the linseeds, either soak them in warm water for 10minutes before eating (or over night) or grind them up. They can be added on smoothies, yoghurts, oats or even baked with.
Another way of getting the benefits from linseeds is by supplementing with an oil form. FSC offer a range of linseed and flaxseed products. Ranging from whole linseeds, to organic cold pressed flaxseed oil to oil filled capsules.
Always check with your GP before starting any new supplement.