What Is Flaxseed?

The food kingdom is a bit like the animal kingdom—from the smallest to the largest, all edible creations have their place. And to continue that metaphor, seeds are sort of the ants of the food world—small, seemingly insignificant, and yet they have an important role to play. Among these minute foodstuffs, the flaxseed is one of the humblest. In fact, flaxseed (sometimes also styled flax seed) is so humble that you may not know much of anything about it. So, what is flaxseed? Where does it come from? What is it for? I’ll cede the floor to see what we can see about this seed. 

What is flaxseed?

Flaxseed is the seed that comes from the flax plant. The flax plant, also known as linseed, is a flowering plant with a number of uses, including those both culinary and textile. Flaxseed is particularly prized for its high levels of protein and fiber, as well as other nutrients such as thiamine and omega fatty acids. 

Where does flaxseed come from?

Flax is a very ancient crop that was likely cultivated as far back as the fertile crescent, which is basically as far back as you can go. Today, flax can be found throughout the world in temperate climes and is reportedly grown on about 12 million acres of farm worldwide. That said, North Dakota is the place for flax in the U.S. 

How to eat flaxseed?

You could certainly just chow down on a mouthful of flaxseeds—they have a mild, nutty flavor. But let’s suppose you don’t actually want to do that. Using ground flaxseed might be the easiest way to get the stuff into your diet, and there’s really no limit to how you can use it. Pour some in your smoothie or cereal, spread some atop the mustard on your sandwich, throw some into a dessert mix, or any other way that suits your fancy. 

Is flaxseed a grain?

According to the Whole Grains Council, the folks at the Food and Drug Administration, whose job it is to decide this type of thing, no, flaxseed is not considered a whole grain. Flaxseeds are classified as oilseeds, along with cotton seeds, soybeans, and sunflower seeds. 

What is flaxseed for?

Flaxseed is an easy way to add some protein and fiber to your diet without even necessarily realizing it’s there. It’s a nutrient-rich foodstuff that will give you a bunch of vitamins and minerals including thiamine, copper, magnesium, iron, and zinc. In addition, it’s high in omega fatty acids, which have been linked to good heart health. There’s evidence that flaxseed could help decrease blood pressure and even reduce the likelihood of cancer. As you can see, there’s a lot of benefit in such a small package. 

Does flaxseed have a taste?

Yes, flaxseeds have a quite mild, nutty flavor. It’s fairly inoffensive and even pleasant, but if you’re bothered by it, I’d recommend mixing your flaxseeds in with something else to dilute it. The flavor is mild enough that it should be overpowered by other meal ingredients. 

About the Author

Matt Crowley

Matt Crowley is a comedy writer living in Los Angeles. He likes maple-flavored snacks, loves every kind of cheese, and is slowly learning to accept mushrooms.

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