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Benefits Of Flaxseed Oil

Updated on December 13, 2012

Flaxseed oil is more than heart healthy

A healthy diet should contain 2 - 4 times as much Omega-3 fatty acids as Omega-6 fatty acids, but most people get many times more Omega-6 than they do Omega-3. Research has found that Omega-3 fatty acids can be beneficial in lowering cholesterol and triglycerides, raising HDL cholesterol (the "good" kind), lowering blood pressure in people with hypertension, improving brain function, and reducing inflammation such as that found with arthritis.

Flaxseed

What Makes Flaxseed Healthy

Flaxseed has been cultivated since 3000 BC. The benefits of flaxseed oil have been known since the time of Charlemagne, in the 8th century, who passed laws requiring his subjects to take it. For vegetarians and those with allergies to fish, or for those who simply don't like fish, flaxseed oil provides an alternative way of getting Omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseed oil supplements also don't have the fishy aftertaste that can be found in some fish oil supplements.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Flaxseed and flaxseed oil (also known as linseed oil) contain significant amounts of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a precursor for Omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Studies have shown that flaxseed oil can be helpful in lowering cholesterol, especially for postmenopausal women and for those whose cholesterol levels were high in the first place. Other studies suggest that flaxseed oil may be beneficial for people with heart problems.

Flaxseed oil vs fish oil

Flaxseed oil and fish oil, although both heart healthy, aren't the same. Although, flaxseed oil has more Omega-3 fatty acids than fish oil, ALA isn't converted as efficiently to Omega-3 in the body, so flaxseed's ALA may not have the same benefit as EPA and DHA found in fish oil.

Flaxseed is a Nutritional Wonder

Flax, scientifically known as Linum usitatissimum, is a plant of great purpose to humanity for thousands of years. "Linum", the genus for flax literally means "linen", a fabric produced from the plant itself for more than 3,000 years. The second part of its scientific name, usitatissimum, is a Latin word which means "of greatest use". Flax, from where flax seeds are derived exists in two basic varieties namely Brown flax and Golden or Yellow flax.

The seeds of flax commonly called flaxseeds or linseeds have been highly regarded for its immeasurable amounts of omega 3 fatty acids, which are found to be higher than those in fish oil. They stand out not only with their high levels of omega 3 but also with their massive concentrations of B complex vitamins, magnesium and manganese. Flaxseed nutrition highlights three major nutrients: omega 3 fatty acids, fiber and antioxidant phytonutrients, which are found in abundance. The concentrations of these nutrients in flaxseeds leave other grains in the dust.

Because of the all-too famous benefits of omega 3 when it comes to disease prevention and anti inflammatory capacity, other potent nutrients in flaxseeds are often left in the rear. Lignans, for instance, are a group of worth-mentioning phytonutrients found abundantly in flaxseeds which provide us with antioxidant and fiber-like benefits and are also considered as phytoestrogens, sex hormones derived from plants. Scientists confirmed that flaxseeds are the richest source of lignans among all other foods. In terms of antioxidant levels, Flaxseeds are found to have significantly higher poylphenol content than commonly eaten fruits and vegetables such as blueberries and olives.

Experts believe that incorporating nuts and seeds, including 3 tablespoons of flaxseeds per day, in our regular diet, is an excellent dietary move which could help us meet our health goals.

Uses of Flax & Flaxseeds

Aside from being used as a source of food and linen, flax also played major roles in the construction of sailing ships, bowstrings, and body armor in ancient times. In many countries around the world, flaxseeds are used as a wood finish and preservative known as linseeds. One strain of the yellow flax known as "solin" has been cultivated by agricultural scientists to be processed as a healthy alternative to many cooking oils like sunflower oil.

Other Flaxseed Facts that You Should Know

Cooking oil made from yellow flax, "solin" is commonly sold under the popular brand name "linola". Nutritional profiles of brown flax and yellow flax are incomparable to solin since the first two varieties contain ten times more than the alpha-linolenic (ALA) content of solin.

Flaxseed Oil Warrnings And side Effects

Flaxseed and flaxseed oil will turn rancid if not refrigerated. It should be stored in dark bottles that keep out air and light.

Also - Talk to your doctor before beginning a regimen of flaxseed oil supplements. Although flaxseed can add to the benefit of some drugs, such as statins for lowering cholesterol, it’s also contraindicated for other drugs, such as Cyclosporine or medications to thin blood or lower blood sugar, Avoid taking flaxseed oil supplements at the same time as other medications.

Do you use flaxseed oil? Tell us about it!

Flax Oil Testimonials

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    • lclchors profile image

      lclchors 5 years ago

      I add 2 Tbs of flaxseed meal to my oatmeal every day

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I drink fruit juice with spoon of flax seed oil mixed with lecithin.Good for immune system.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Flaxseed oil is the best oil, that can cure almost anything! I use teaspoon mixed with lecithin and drink in a fruit juice. Very good.

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      bongokid 6 years ago

      I sprinkle some flaxseed on my salad from time to time :)