Flax Seeds: The health food championed by Charles the Great, Ghandi & Hippocrates

Pretty blue flowers of the Flax Plant

Pretty blue flowers of the Flax Plant

What exactly are Flax Seeds and what’s their history?

Valued for centuries and centuries for their essential nutritional value, Flax Seeds are very small brown seeds which are cultivated from the pretty blue-flowering Flax plant.

Thanks to hieroglyphics found in ancient burial chambers, we know that flax was grown and consumed for its fibrous properties since as far back as the year 3000 B.C.

The history of human consumption of flax doesn’t end there. In 650 B.C. the ‘father of medicine’, Hippocrates, championed the use of flax for its health benefits and furthermore, Charles the Great, the first emperor in Western Rome since the collapse of the Roman Empire, passed laws necessitating its regular consumption.

Its long standing reputation as an essential ingredient for human health was even boosted by the great Mahatma Ghandi, when he was quoted as saying “Wherever flax seed becomes a regular food item among the people, there will be better health”.

So flax is great for humans. This we know. In fact it’s been known long before any of us were born… but, why is it so good for us?

Why should I bother with Flax?

Flax Seeds are brown and can be added to smoothies or sprinkled on salads/cereal

Flax Seeds are brown and can be added to smoothies or sprinkled on salads/cereal

The single most important element of flax seed which makes it so vital that we consume it as regularly as we can, is its high Omega-3 content.

You’ve probably heard many times that humans need fat to survive, so it’s important to occasionally eat hamburgers, fries and pizzas etc. Only part of that statement is true. Can you guess which bit? Spoiler alert, it’s not the bit about hamburgers, pizzas and fries.

The fats found in those types of foods are hydrogenated and saturated which are certainly not important for human consumption. Not at all. In fact, please avoid these at all costs.

The fats that humans need to be consuming are in fact polyunsaturated essential fatty acids, or to be precise; Omega-3 and Omega-6, which aren’t actually produced naturally in the human body, so can only be obtained from certain food sources. You see, when our body creates new cells (which is does constantly throughout our lives; we have a new epidermis every 25 days and a new skeleton every 10 years, for example) it uses the materials you consume to build these cells. As Omega-3 is a vital component in making up almost every cell membrane we have in our body, would you rather your cells made from that or the carcinogenic, heart disease-giving monstrosities that are hydrogenated and saturated fats?

Think about it for a moment. That Big Mac you had last night won’t be gone the next time you visit the loo, your body will make new cells out of it. Nice thought?

Even Ghandi was a big believer in flax for optimum health

Even Ghandi was a big believer in flax for optimum health

Just to give you some further food for thought on this subject, according the a study called “The Preventable Causes of Death in the United States” by the University of Harvard, 72,000-96,000 deaths occur annually because of Omega-3 deficiencies. This will partly be down to Omega-3 not being found in a huge amount of produce, and even less so in our modern diets which are made up of mostly ‘food-like’ products. Natural sources of Omega-3 include: walnuts, winter squash, olive oil, and fish oils.

Other benefits of flax seeds include:

  • Reduces the risk of cancer
  • Promotes healthy skin
  • Helps to burn excess body fat
  • Aids the growth of healthy nails and hair

How to get Flax into my diet

There are many brands of Flax Seed Oil available, just make sure you buy one which is Certified Organic

There are many brands of Flax Seed Oil available, just make sure you buy one which is Certified Organic

Unless you’re regularly consuming large amounts of the foods mentioned above, you’ll do yourself plenty of favours by investing in an Omega-3 supplement.

Flax Seed Oil is a favourite of ours as it can be easily added to smoothies and juices, but it can also be purchased in soft gel capsules. When buying any supplements of any kind, please ensure that they are 100% organic, natural and non-synthesized.

At Atsumi Raw Café, you’ll find flax seed in many of our products, especially our smoothies.

If you have any comments, or if there is anything you think has been missed out here, please comment below. And don’t forget to share this blog! 🙂

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