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How Flax Seeds are the Fish Substitute for Vegans

Updated on July 20, 2017
Flax Flowers
Flax Flowers | Source


Flax is also known as common flax or linseed. Flax plant has been known to man since stone ages. The flax fiber is one of the oldest fiber in the world, and its use for linen production dates back to Egyptian times.

About 36,000 years old prehistoric cave in the Republic of Georgia has yielded the earliest known spun, dyed and knotted flax fiber. The temple walls at Thebes have pictures of flax flowers. Thereafter the Greeks and Romans used flax in cooking.

Later on, the Puritans introduced it in North America and then it spread to Canada, which is now the major producer of flax.

Flax Plant
Flax Plant

About Flax Plant

The slender stems of flax plant grow to erect up to an average height of 1.2 m.

The leaves are bluish-grey or green, wider in the middle and about 40 cm long and 3 mm broad.

The flowers are sometimes bright red but often pure blue up to 25 mm in diameter with five petals.

The fruit is 4-7 mm long and round and 5- 9 mm in diameter, with several glossy seeds like an apple.


The flax seeds are brown and yellow or golden.

The yellow flax has very low contents of omega-3 fatty acid. The oil produced from seeds is one of the oldest vegetable oil used as drying oil in paints.

The flax seed has more nutrition value than grain. It has similar vitamin, mineral, antioxidant and omega-3 fatty acid composition like the rain but the amount is very large.

The seed is the best for low sugar or starch intake due to lesser carbohydrates in it. The healthy fat and high fiber contents make it a satisfying food for weight loss.

The sprouts of flax seed are also edible. Whole flax seeds are chemically stable, but ground flax seed becomes rancid at room temperature within a week, so it is better to keep it in refrigerator in sealed airtight containers.

Flax Seeds
Flax Seeds

Contents in 100 grams of Ground Flax Seeds

41 grams
28 grams
20 grams
450 kilo calories
Flax seed oil or linseed oil
Flax seed oil or linseed oil


Flax seed has high contents of B vitamins, manganese, magnesium and three additional nutrients in abundance.

These are high contents of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), that is omega-3 fats or phytoestrogens which get converted to body's own estrogen and reduce hormone-linked cancers, such as breast or colon cancer.

It contains high fiber which is responsible for lowering the cholesterol.

Omega-3 fat found in salmon and other fatty cold-water fish is deficient in modern diets.

It gets converted to prostaglandins-hormone which help the immune system and brain function, fights depression and asthma, neutralizes pre-menstrual syndrome and certain cancers.

Omega-3 fatty acids are a key force against body inflammations.Inflammation is responsible for many chronic diseases including heart disease, arthritis, asthma, diabetes, and even some cancers.

This inflammation is enhanced by having too little omega-3 intake such as in fish, flax, and walnuts. Other oils such as soy and corn oil contain omega-6 fatty acid.

Flax seed has a greater amount of lignans, that is up to 800 times more in any plant food. Lignans are natural anti-cancer compounds which block the formation of enzymes involved in hormone metabolism and stop the growth and spread of tumor cells.

Use of lignans in adolescence reduces the risk of breast cancer.

Flax contains little amount of cyanide compounds, certain amount but heat breaks down these compounds. Our body has the capacity a certain amount of cyanide.

Flax oil is highly unsaturated and becomes rancid and must be stored in refrigerator in dark containers.

Best way of storage

The seeds, not exposed to large amounts of heat remain edible, for at least a year.

The meal, stored away from heat and light will remain fresh for few months.

Flax food
Flax food

Health Benefits

About 25-50 gram flax per day lowers blood cholesterol.

It prevents blood spasm which causes a migraine and restores sleep pattern.

The flax fiber aids bowel movement and is ideal for sensitive intestinal tracts.

It helps to stabilize blood sugar and promotes proper functioning of the intestines.

It is a good source of magnesium which is helpful in asthma by keeping air passage relaxed and open.

The phytoestrogens including many antioxidants in flax seed get converted in our intestines, into substances that tend to balance female hormones and may even promote fertility, reduce pre-menopausal symptoms, and helps in preventing breast and prostate cancer.

Being our best source of lignans, the flax seed helps to prevent Type 2 diabetes by stabilizing blood-sugar levels.

Flax in bread
Flax in bread

Recommended Daily Amount

Use 1-2 tablespoons daily.

Eating whole seeds give most benefits but ground seeds give the maximum.

Grind in grinder and store in an airtight opaque container in the refrigerator.

Flax seed oil is cholesterol free but has short shelf life.

It breaks down with heat and should not be used for cooking.

How to Take Flax Seeds

§ Use moisture free seeds.

§ Add ground seeds to pieces of bread, cookies, and muffins.

§ Start with 1 teaspoon and go for two in 7-10 days.

§ Sprinkle flax seeds, whole/ground on hot /cold breakfast, cereals, salads, soups, yogurt, dressings etc.


Patients on tamoxifen, pregnant women, and those considering pregnancy should consult their physician.

© 2013 Sanjay Sharma


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    • SANJAY LAKHANPAL profile image

      Sanjay Sharma 7 months ago from Mandi (HP) India

      Thanks RTalloni for the visit and the comment. Flax seeds have wonderful benefits.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      Glad to see info on flax seed continuing to be shared.

    • SANJAY LAKHANPAL profile image

      Sanjay Sharma 3 years ago from Mandi (HP) India

      Thanks Faith Reaper for the visit, blessings and the comment. Thanks for the tips about Argan Oil too.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Excellent hub here and I will certainly want to add flax seeds to my daily diet! I had no clue as to their wonderful health benefits. I believe I can manage adding this to my morning oatmeal in the morning to benefit from its excellent health benefits.

      On another note, I have just this week discovered the wonderful benefits of adding just a drop of Argan Oil to dry hair to make it so very silky, smooth and shiny. One cannot improve on what God has provided indeed! Plus just adding a small amount and rubbing into one's hands after a shower, truly helps to make one's skin supple and smooth.

      Voted up +++ tweeting and pinning

      Blessings always

    • SANJAY LAKHANPAL profile image

      Sanjay Sharma 3 years ago from Mandi (HP) India

      Thanks ARUN KANTI for the visit and the comment. I am glad that you found the hub helpful.

    • ARUN KANTI profile image

      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 3 years ago from KOLKATA

      Thanks for the well written hub explaining the benefits of Flax seeds.

    • SANJAY LAKHANPAL profile image

      Sanjay Sharma 3 years ago from Mandi (HP) India

      Thanks ChitrangadaSharan for the visit and the comment.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Very nice hub explaining the benefits of Flax seeds. You have rightly pointed out its nutritional value.

      I include this wonderful seed by roasting and grinding it. If you add a little bit of salt and stuff them in rotis or parathas, it tastes great.

      Thanks for sharing this useful recipe and many thanks for the Follow!