In recent years, flaxseed has entered the spotlight as a "superfood" -- an edible that has all the characteristics of a superhero, except maybe hotness. (That is, unless Jennifer Lawrence is a blueberry.)
Although its fame is relatively new, flaxseed has been around for thousands of years. Many civilizations have cultivated the flax plant for its fibrous stems, which can be used to make linen cloth. But when it comes to the many gifts of Linum usitatissimum, the seeds may be the greatest of all. Here's why:
They're jam-packed with omega-3 fatty acids
While the term fatty acids may not get your mouth watering, they're actually a ridiculously important part of your diet. Why? Because your body can't make them. You need omega-3s for energy, brain function, and routine cell maintenance, but that's just the beginning when it comes to their health benefits. For instance, because they reduce inflammation, omega-3s may help decrease the risk of some of the scariest chronic conditions.
They fight cholesterol like William Wallace fought the English
OK, so there's no sword fighting involved. But high cholesterol -- the waxy, fat-like gunk that builds up in your arteries -- can be a sign that you're at risk of having a stroke or heart attack someday if you're not careful. Those with very high cholesterol may require medication, but flaxseed is a valuable weapon if you want to go au naturel.