Are Linseeds the same as Flaxseeds?

Date Posted:23 May 2024 

Linseeds and flaxseeds are essentially the same thing but there are differences.

Linseed and flaxseed are both sourced from the same plant but the difference lies in the way they are used. The terms are interchangeable but both refer to the same small, shiny, brown or golden seeds that are produced by the plant.

When consumed as a food, the seeds are called flaxseeds; when used for other purposes such as industrial processes, they are typically referred to as linseeds.

Flaxseeds as a food source are used for their nutritional benefits, such as being a good source of protein, fibre and omega-3 fatty acids. They may help with cardiovascular health, bowel health, weight management, hormonal balance, skin health, blood Pressure and cholesterol. When prepared properly flaxseeds have a fresh nutty, slightly buttery flavour.

The industrial purposes that commonly use the term Linseed, are when making products such as linen, furniture polish, paints, ink, or clothing. Linseed is the common name for the seeds of the flax plant, which is scientifically known as “Linum usitatissimum”.

The other main confusion around these two names also comes from the fact that in Australia and the UK we alternate between linseed and flaxseed for these two different reasons mentioned above, while in the United States and Canada both uses are referred to as flax.

Can all Linseeds and Flaxseeds be consumed?

Generally, all flaxseed is safe to consume, flaxseeds are best soaked overnight for better digestibility, ground and added to smoothies, cereals or plain yoghurt. However not all linseed should be ingested. If you purchase linseed, it should say on the label if it is safe to consume.

Linseed Oil vs. Flaxseed Oil

Since linseed and flaxseed oil are from the same plant, you would think they are interchangeable. However, certain types of linseed oil should not be consumed as they may have dangerous side effects as it is typically manufactured for industrial purposes. Be sure to read the label on oil to make sure it can be consumed!