Flax Answers - What is Flax Seed?

What is flaxseed?

Flaxseed, also known as linseed, is an ancient crop that has its origin traced back to 3,000 B.C. when cultivated by the Babylonians. It has been grown all over the world, with its higher production as a field crop noted in fertile river valleys. Around 650 B.C. Hippocrates wrote about the soothing nature of eating flax to relieve abdominal pains. Civic and religious leaders during these times continued to relay messages about the qualities of flax to use for fibers in weaving and promoting the addition of the harvested seed to their diets. There are two types of flaxseed. One type is grown for the seed use and considered an oil seed variety. The other flaxseed is grown specifically for fiber production to be utilized in the texture industry. In North America, it is primarily the oil seed varieties which are produced commercially.

Viewing a field of flaxseed when in full bloom is quite a sight to see. When the plants have blossomed, you will be met with a view of crimson blue flowers billowing in the field. As the plant matures, the seeds from the flower can then be harvested. Flax produces the optimum oil-to-fiber ration and the highest omega-3 content when grown under cool, moist conditions. The combination of long daylight hours and cool nights typically found on the Canadian prairies produce the finest good grade seed available.

The harvested seed is small and similar to the size of a sesame seed, with varying golden tones. High quality flaxseed should be consistent in color and with seeds fully intact. Dark or discolored seeds are signs of immature or damaged seeds. Purchasing #1 food grade flaxseed will ensure the quality needed for the highest level of nutritional content. After premium flaxseed has been selected, state of the art processing methods are utilized to clean, sort and size the seed. At North American Nutrition, this selection process results in a product that is 99.9% pure premium, mature, plump and uniform food grade product. It is also important to know that flaxseed chosen by North American Nutrition is not genetically engineered. This selection process ensures a product with superior stability and a high nutrient analysis. High premium flaxseed should have a high oil content to receive all the benefits of its nutritive nature.

Flax content distributed by North American Nutrition is comprised of 40% oil (containing omega-3 fatty acids), 22% protein, 26% total dietary fiber (lignans and flaxseed gum), and 4% minerals. The health benefits of adding these nutrients from flaxseed into your diet are reviewed in the link titled Health Benefits of Flax.

Even though flaxseed has been around since the dawn of civilization, it is more recently that mainstream society is beginning to understand its relevance to a healthy life. Nutritionists, physicians, and health conscious individuals are quickly becoming passionate about the health benefits of flaxseed.

NOTE: Information presented here does not replace seeking advice from your physician.