Flaxseed: An ancient grain rich in health and culinary benefits
by Linda Malcolmson, PHD
Flaxseed has been cultivated as far back as 5,000 B.C. Its botanical name, Linum usitatissimum L. means “the most useful”. Flaxseed is grown for both fibre and food. Varieties which produce tall plants with long fibres are used in the textile and paper industries whereas the short fibre varieties are grown for food use.
Flaxseed, also referred to as linseed, has either a yellow or brown seed coat and is flat and oval shaped. The colour of the seed coat does not affect the nutritional composition of the seed. Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acid, protein, fibre and antioxidants which are important for good health. In addition, flaxseed contributes to the texture of foods and adds a nutty avour when added to food formulations.