A girl with the flaxen hair.
It conjures up a romantic notion of a fair maiden relaxing in a meadow on a warm summers day, one captured in music by the composer Claude Debussy.
Flax itself, whilst more mundane in nature has been cultivated by man for several thousand years, and is thought to one of the first grains to be cultivated. For instance, its thought that the use of flax fibres to produce linen goes back over 5,000 years.
In its oil form, known as linseed oil, it has a wide range of applications, from paint binder to a nutritional supplement.
As a nutritional supplement, its main benefit is the high content of Omega-3 fatty acids. These are very beneficial for our bodies, with for example the reduction in inflamation. The oils do not have the ligans found in flaxseeds, so don’t have the same antioxidant qualities.
Flax seeds, as well has having ligans (antioxidant qualities) and Omega-3, have quite a high vitamin B content. So in moderation, they are an excellent part of a healthy diet.
For more on the dietry benefits of Omega-3, see my blog “Fat Gets Funky”, October 6, 2009.