Flaxseeds (Linum usitatissimum), also known as common flax or linseeds, are small oilseeds that originated in the Middle East thousands of years ago. Lately, they have been gaining popularity as a health food. This is due to their high content of heart-healthy omega-3, fiber and other unique plant compounds. Flaxseeds have been linked to health benefits such as improved digestive function and a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. They are very easy to incorporate into the diet. Grinding them is the best way to make the most of their health benefits.
Flaxseeds contain 534 calories per 100 grams, corresponding to 55 calories for each tablespoon of whole seeds (10 grams). They consist of 42% fat, 29% carbs and 18% protein. High blood cholesterol is a well-known risk factor for heart disease. This is especially true for oxidized LDL-cholesterol. Human studies have shown that the daily consumption of flaxseeds, or flaxseed oil, may lower cholesterol levels by 6–11%.