King Charlemagne, who ruled much of Europe in the 8th Century, was such a fan of flaxseed that he promulgated a decree forcing all his subjects to include it in their daily meals.

Though no such binding laws exist now, experts say it would do much good to follow in the footsteps of the wise old monarch as flaxseed (alsi in Urdu) definitely has a lot of health benefits, and can add productive years to your life.

Practitioners of traditional medicine have been advocating the use of flaxseed to treat liver malfunction, hypertension, depression, and breast, colon and prostate cancers.

Originating from India, China and Mexico, flaxseed is an excellent source of soluble fibre – Nature’s cholesterol control mechanism, restricting absorption of cholesterol and binding bile acids in the intestine.

Flaxseed is also a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been proven to reduce triglycerides and LDL (bad cholesterol) in your bloodstream. Flaxseed is also said to prevent blood clots, which can cause heart attacks and stroke.

An excellent way of adding more protein and fibre to your diet, flaxseed helps in curing digestive disorders and in controlling weight gain. Add a tablespoon to your breakfast cereal to banish the 11 am hunger pangs, or sprinkle some roasted flaxseed over your salad for an extra-healthy starter to your meal.