Sunday, 11 January 2009

Linseed/Flaxseed & Flaxseed oil.

"Where flax is abounds!" - Mahatma Gandhi.

These little seeds pack a quadruple-whammy of protein, omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), soluble fibre/fiber and vitamins, minerals & other anutrients.

What's in flaxseed and flaxseed oil?

Click and set serving size: to 100g, to see what nutrients there are in flaxseeds.
Click and set serving size: to 100g, to see what nutrients there are in flaxseed oil.

How do I eat flaxseed and flaxseed oil?

Flaxseed/Linseed have a fibrous coat which swells-up when wet and passes through our guts undigested. To get the benefit of the protein, omega-3 essential fatty acids, vitamins & minerals in flaxseeds, the seeds need to be powdered, crushed, cracked, chopped-up, sliced-up or ground-up using a coffee grinder, adjustable pepper grinder or most simply, a blender with a sharp blade.

The resulting powder can be mixed with liquids or sprinkled on foods, though extra fluid must be drunk, as the soluble fibre/fiber absorbs a lot of water.

Although whole flaxseed keeps fresh at room temperature, once powdered, it's advisable to keep the powder in a cool dark place to minimise oxidation of any exposed fat. Flaxseed oil must be kept refrigerated with the lid on the bottle at all times after opening and it must never be used for cooking.

The oil is O.K. drizzled over hot food, as long as the food is eaten shortly afterwards. Oxidised flaxseed oil tastes bitter and has lost its health benefits, so it should either be chucked, used to varnish something or soften hardened putty. Unoxidised flaxseed oil has a nutty flavour, or it may taste a bit like tea. Powdered flaxseed has virtually no flavour.

See Milled flaxseed stability information.

How much flaxseeds and flaxseed oil do I need to eat each day?

Men are much poorer converters of alpha-linolenic acid (the omega-3 fatty acid in flaxseed) into DHA than women.

See Eicosapentaenoic and docosapentaenoic acids are the principal products of α-linolenic acid metabolism in young men,

Conversion of α-linolenic acid to eicosapentaenoic, docosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids in young women and

Extremely Limited Synthesis of Long Chain Polyunsaturates in Adults: Implications for Their Dietary Essentiality and Use as Supplements.

Therefore, men should eat ~50g/day of ground flaxseed and women should eat ~25g/day. The amount of flaxseed oil for men is ~20g/day and the amount for women is ~10g/day. Vegan men should also supplement with ~1000mg/day of vegan DHA.

Where can I buy flaxseeds and flaxseed oil?

Flaxseed/linseed come in different colours. The cheapest linseed are brown/bronze ones which are often sold as bird seed in pet shops, but they can also be found in small independent health food shops. There are also golden linseed, which is the type most often found in supermarkets. Linusit and Granovita are two well-known brands. Granovita organic flaxseed oil is a good brand and it comes in dark bottles to keep light out, as light causes photo-oxidation of omega-3 fats.


Rosso said...

Hey Nige! Trust all is well. Whats the crack with Linseeds and vitamin B6 exactly? Thanks.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Hey, Rosso! All's well, thanks. I don't know exactly. What is the crack?(or is it craic?)

I found The vitamin B6 status of pigs given a diet containing linseed meal, which concludes that not being marginally deficient in B6 (pyridoxine) is better than being marginally deficient in B6. And they paid good money to find that out, LOL!
Cheers, Nige.

Rosso said...

Sorry Nige, I was high on the D3 back when I asked you (still am actually). That's my crack cocaine so to speak.

Thanks for the link, so much contradictory info out there mate. Don't know what to think of it. I'm going to up my Linseed oils on my fat meals anyway.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Funny you should say that. When I first started taking 5,000iu D3/day, I got high as a kite and got myself banned from! Once you get used to it, you'll calm down again.

TedHutchinson said...

Shops that sell SUMA Wholefoods will be able to order you a large bag 2kg I think for around a £5.
It works out a lot cheaper than buying smaller packs and while whole, if kept in a MOUSE PROOF container it will last over a year, but I get through a bag every 3~4months.
I use a mini electric coffee grinder (about £15ish) once a week to grind my next weeks supply and keep the ground meal in the fridge.