Linseed, especially the cold-pressed oil expelled from the seeds, is the most important individual component of the Budwig Diet. In Europe this food is known as Linseed but in North America it is now usually called flax. (See Linseed or Flax; they are exactly the same thing.) When linseeds are mentioned in the Budwig Diet, they are always to be freshly ground: the oil must be pure cold-pressed oil. Linseed, which is exactly the same as flax, has been eaten for more than 15,000 years and its health-giving properties have been known for at least 2,000 years.
Health Benefits of Linseed (Flax). Linseed is used therapeutically for many conditions and is often amazingly effective. It has several beneficial components and it is often hard to separate which part of the linseed is responsible for improvements in health as they seem to work together. Llinseed just works.
Some of the reasons linseed is thought to be good for people: Rich source of soluble and insoluble fibre • Promotes good gut flora (good bacteria) • Mild phyto-oestrogen • Antioxidant • Antimicrobial • A rich source of protein • Low GI, which means it helps keep blood sugar levels stable and keeps you feeling fuller for longer • Helps create healthy, comfortable, regular digestive system • De-toxes the digestive tract • Rich source of omega-3 which helps protect brain and heart • Aids absorption of nutrients • Helps lower cholesterol • Hydrating • Anti-inflammatory • Helps the brain’s feel-good chemicals work better • Lignans believed to the protect gut and breast from cancer.
And it tastes nice.
Use of linseed on the Budwig Diet.
- Ground Linseed (flax) which is freshly ground from whole seeds to a powder, much like ground almonds, for each meal.
- Breakfast muesli and smoothies
- Added to juices, wine and champagne
- Cold-Pressed Linseed (flax) Oil
- Used to make the quark/cottage cheese-linseed oil cream which is eaten for breakfast and lunch every day with muesli, salads, veg or dessert.
- Blended with coconut oil to make “Oleolux” which is used with cooked vegetables, cooked whole grains and soups or as a spread instead of butter.
- Linseed oil is used as a salad dressing with apple cider vinegar and/or fruit juice.
Gold or Bronze/Brown Linseed?
If you get linseed that has been grown for omega-3, both varieties are nutritionally the same; gold linseed (flax) is not nutritionally superior.
Gold linseed tastes slightly milder and usually has a thinner husk so can be easier to grind down. The darker brown/bronze varieties of linseed have a nuttier, stronger flavour.
Whether you have gold or bronze is simply personal choice.
Beware: some flax/linseed grown abroad can be GM and some varieties are grown to have little or no omega-3. However, despite popular mythology, you cannot recognise these varieties by colour as these strange varieties look the same as ordinary ones. Fortunately there is currently only traditional non-GM, high omega-3 linseed grown in the UK.
How to Prepare Linseed for the Budwig Diet
Whole linseeds pass straight through the digestive tract and come out looking much like they did when they went in, which is a sure sign the goodness from them hasn’t been digested. Linseed for the Budwig Diet should be freshly ground for each meal. It is almost impossible to grind raw linseeds using a mortar and pestle so it is better to use a dedicated electric coffee mill/spice grinder to grind the whole seeds down to a fine powder. It only takes a few seconds to produce enough for each meal. Clean the grinder thoroughly after each use. See recipes for how to enjoy linseed in everyday foods on the Budwig Diet.
Nutrition. The seeds come from the plant Linum Usitatissimum. They contain omega-3. Ground linseed is also a rich source of both soluble and insoluble fibre that helps promote good bacteria in the gut: this is the foundation of a healthy digestion and strong immune system. Ground linseed is rich in protein; it is a source of essential amino acids, including tryptophan which aids mental well-being. As most of the carbohydrate in ground linseed is fibre it has a low glycemic index (GI) which means it helps keep blood sugar levels stable and energy levels up.
Linseed (flax): Average dietary analysis
Protein 22%, Fats 39%, of which Omega-3 25%, Omega-6 6.7%, Carbohydrates 32%, of which sugars none, insoluble fibre 21% and soluble fibre 10%.
Rich source of insoluble and soluble fibre: Good for the Digestion
The fibre in ground linseed is excellent for promoting a healthy, regular, comfortable digestion. It is pre-biotic, which means it helps grow good bacteria that both increases bulk and supports a healthy immune system. It is gluten-free and completely unrelated to wheat so usually suits the most sensitive digestive systems.
Ground linseed is low GI, free of sugar and starch which makes it a beneficial food for people with diabetes or other blood sugar and energy issues.
Nature’s Richest Source of Antioxidant Lignans
Lignans occur naturally in many fibrous foods; ground linseed (flaxseed) is our best source. Lignans are highly antioxidant, up to 800 times more antioxidant than vitamin E and they are very protective of gut health, especially the colon. Lignans are also effective in balancing and buffering hormones.
Lignans: Nature’s HRT, a Phyto-oestrogen for Hormone Balance:
For younger women during child bearing years, the lignans in linseed have a protective effect on breast tissue. Lignans are taken up by the breast’s hormone receptors which helps prevents excessive oestrogen from flooding breast tissue; this helps protect women from hormone-related breast cancer. During and after the menopause, lignans help to alleviate common menopause symptoms, including protection from osteoporosis without the side effects of HRT. Lignans are also believed to have beneficial effects on prostate health.
Linseed oil is exactly the same as flax oil; click for further explanation about why it has two names. It is the cold pressed oil from the plant Linum Usitatissimum. It is a very rich source of the basic omega-3, alpha linolenic acid (ALA), this is the type of omega-3 produced by plants in absorbing the energy of the sun. Omega-3 is highly unsaturated, with three double bonds, which is why it’s so good, but it makes the molecule delicate so it needs careful handling so as not to damage or oxidise it. Linseed oil should not be heated for ordinary frying and even more importantly it should not be exposed to direct sunlight.. The energy of the ALA molecule is a cloud of electrons, it is this that combines with the sulphur proteins in quark cottage cheese to take this energy and oxygen into cells which gives them the power to fight tumours, correct their function and reverse disease.
Omega-3: an Essential Fat
Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid which means it is a nutrient we need to build healthy cells and for the correct functioning of the metabolism. We cannot make omega-3 in our bodies so must get it from food. Modern diets are full of the wrong sort of fats which are unbalancing and inflammatory: according to Dr Johanna Budwig this means we are commonly 80% deficient in omega-3. Increasing the levels of omega-3 in the diet has an anti-inflammatory healing effect. Omega-3 is part of every cell in the body and plays a part in all the body’s processes.
Flavour of Linseed (Flax) Oil
Linseed oil should be a clear golden yellow with a light new-mown hay nutty fragrance. The flavour of good cold-pressed linseed oil should be sweet, mild, buttery, slightly nutty and pleasant. Good linseed (flax seed )oil tastes lovely when combined with quark (or other cottage cheese or yoghurt) for both sweet and savoury foods: in combination with coconut oil (oleolux) it is another treat; see the recipe pages for delicious ways to use linseed (flax seed) oil on the Budwig diet It oxidises easily so it is important to consume it while fresh.