In a story about Luvo for Fast Company, Jane Black said: “Flaxseed is the Olivia Wilde of the ingredient world–smart, sexy and not overused.” We think that’s pretty bang-on. What’s the story behind this particular ingredient? We decided to break it down for you:

Also known as linseed, flaxseed comes from a crop grown for a variety of uses, not just food. Apparently, it was a hot item in caveman fashion. Evidence of spun, dyed and knotted flax fibers dating back over 30,000 years surfaced in a cave in what is known today as the Republic of Georgia. Since then, flax has been widely used to make fine textiles and linens all over the world due to its durability (its fibers are three times stronger than those of cotton). Flax is also grown to produce linseed oil, which is used in printing and painting.

Flax as Food

More recently, flax has become popular in the culinary world due to the nutritional value of its seeds and oil. The seeds made it onto our list of Top 5 Most Nutritious Seeds because they’re packed with fiber, protein and antioxidants, and when you eat them in ground form, they offer high amounts of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have connected the consumption of flaxseed with lowered cholesterol levels, and it’s also been proven to be beneficial for the prevention and treatment of diabetes, heart disease and several types of cancer. Flaxseed oil brings similar benefits, which is why it’s often taken as a supplement, much like fish oil.

Get Your Flax On

If you’re interested in incorporating these benefits into your diet, you can try adding ground flaxseed to your smoothies. Need help? Simply add a tablespoon or two to one of these super easy smoothie recipes. Flaxseed can also be used whole or ground to boost the nutritional content of baked goods. Flaxseed oil can be taken as a supplement, or added to salad dressings in place of other oils.

How do you use flaxseed in the kitchen? Let us know in the comments!

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