Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Flaxseed Connection

I have mentioned about this seed being a superfood in my previous entry and i thought it is only fair that i give it a fair coverage on what is this flaxseed. This seed is also known as linseed. Flax was used both as food and also the fiber. Very much like a coconut tree where all parts of the plant can be used for other purposes such as as a natural dye, paper, soap and even cooking oil.
flaxseed gained fame for being the seed with a high level of essential fatty acid Omega-3. The oil are usually sold as linseed oil, but finding them in Malaysia is a bit tough (or not available) due to the level of awareness for this superfood/oil. 100grams of flaxseed contains about 500kcal, with 42grams of fat, of where almost 35grams are unsaturated (both mono and poly variant). It has up to 18grams of protein which makes it a good source of muscle building nutrition too. The full datasheet on flaxseed can be obtained here (type in flaxseed and choose 3rd option, then 100gram).
I have a jar in the office. Ready to be used at any time.
With good content of Omega-3 fatty acid, it is known to help lower the cholesterol in a person apart from providing heart (cardiovascular) protecting properties. It was said to be able to help diabetes patients as it help to level the blood-sugar content. It can be used as a laxative for constipation due to the high level of fiber per serving of the seed. Essential fatty acid has anti-inflammatory properties and it will aid with sports recovery (muscle, tendon etc). More reason to have this in your diet!
The outer brown husk of flaxseed is said to be indigestible. Due to this nature, it was often suggested that flaxseed to be grounded before consumption. However, experience has shown me that the husk will remove itself if you soak it in liquid - or in my case, milk. Also, the chewing action will "break" the husk. You must drink a lot of water when you take flaxseed to prevent blockages in the intestine. The husk is lightly hydrophillic (i.e. attract water) and will display a mucous layer if left standing in a cup of water (or milk). This shows it has slightly soluble fiber which could aid to your daily soluble fiber intake as well.
Some of you might be wondering why i am singing praises for something with so much oil. Isn't trying to lose weight involved someone shedding fat from their body? While that is true, the key to successful weight loss is to provide as much good oil to the body as possible. Good in this sense are the unsaturated fat. Olive, grapeseed, sesame and flaxseed/linseed oil is some of the option. Canola and sunflower oil is two more option. These oil are not meant to be used for frying as they will "smoke" under high temperature (oxide/breakdown). Use them generously for stewing, braising, dressing and even as dip with balsamic vinegar!
Flaxseed can be bought at about RM7 per kg from the local bakery. You only need to take about 1 tablespoon a day, typically with your cereal to get that 1gram of fiber into your daily diet. if you want to know the amount of needed fiber in your body, click here. It provide a good estimates to work on.
Flaxseed is high with lignan (anti-oxidant) and also micronutrients. With the neutral sesame seed like texture, they are best eaten whole. Some reccomend that they are grinded as to free the husk from the endosperms and to capitalize on the full potential. I however, like them whole. It adds texture to the food and they are pretty crunchy with sunflower seeds like-taste. Should you decide to grind the flaxseed, do keep in mind that it will turn bad within a few days if not stored properly (in dry and cold place), while whole seed last a long time.
pop right into the mouth after taking a pic of it.
I hope this entry on Flaxseed provides a good insight on this superfood. I will leave you to digest this before i introduce yet another superfood that i have been taking known as chia seed. If flaxseed awe you, wait up for write up on chia seeds.

Next: The Powerpacked Chia Seeds


  1. i soak it before blended in my smoothie.

    Please let me know where to get chia seed in Malaysia. haven't see it being sold anywhere.

    Thanks for the great article.

  2. SC - and when you soak them, you noticed that the outer layer become a bit gel-like isn't it? That is soluable fiber. :) Blending it works too, but i am looking at low maintainence method - so put in mouth and chew chew chew. :)

  3. As for Chia seed, yeap, they are hard to get. Some supplier in Penang, but they are selling it at cut throat pricing. 300gram is RM60...that is like triple the price!

  4. Thanks for an excellent article! Look forward to read more about the Chia seed which I hv heard so much about!

  5. Francis - many thanks! Credit goes to Flax as they are the real hero here. :)

    I already scheduled Chia for publishing this Saturday. :) Come back by 10am Saturday!