What Is Flaxseed Oil?
Flaxseed oil is produced from the seeds of the flax plant – a blue flowering plant that grows throughout the world. Canada and China are the main producers of flaxseed oil.
The seeds are harvested either mechanically or manually and then go through a process of cold pressing to extract the oil from the seeds.
What Is Flaxseed Oil Good For?
New research is being conducted all the time and more evidence is being found as to the health benefits of flaxseed oil.
The most significant by-product of flaxseed oil if the essential fatty acids it contains in the form of Omega 3 and Omega 6.
Flaxseed oil is rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which is one of the Omega 3 fatty acids. ALA provides several health benefits and the body can convert some of it into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) all of which are nutritionally important Omega 3 fatty acids.
Omega 3 fatty acid is an ‘essential’ fatty acid, which means the body cannot produce itself and must be consumed through food. An estimated 99% of Americans are deficient in Omega 3.
Flaxseed oil is the world’s most abundant food source of Omega 3 fatty acids, containing more than twice as much as fish oil.
The symptoms of Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency are often diagnosed as other health problems or nutrient deficiency. More often than not, most people will be unaware their symptoms are related to Omega 3 deficiency.
Omega 3 Deficiency Symptoms
Omega 3 Deficiency Symptoms Include:
- Dry itchy skin
- Brittle hair and nails
- Frequent colds
- Poor concentration
- Lack of energy
- Joint pain.
The goods news is that consuming daily dose of Omega 3 fatty acids can help prevent and treat several health conditions.
Amazing Health Benefits of Flaxseed Oil
You’re about to discover how flaxseed oil. A natural, plentiful and cheap food source can improve specific aspects of your health Plus the best and easiest ways to add it to your daily diet.
Flaxseed contains an ideal 3 – 1 ratio of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
1. Antioxidant Rich Lignans
Lignans are powerful antioxidants that help fight against harmful free radicals. Lignans have almost identical properties to the female hormone estrogen. Certain cancers that need natural estrogen to thrive, have been shown to slow down in growth and stopped altogether when high levels of lignans are introduced to the body.
“Studies have shown a low incidence of breast cancer and colon cancer in populations that have high amounts of lignan in their diet.”
Lignans also ward off the ill effects of certain bacteria and fungi.
Flaxseeds contain more lignans than any other plant source and 100 times more than most other whole grains.
Although lignans are found in the flaxseed.
2. Helps Control High Blood Pressure
Although 6% doesn’t seem a lot, it does prove that flaxseed oil is a beneficial oil the body responds to. Helping to lower high blood pressure, even by a small amount just adds another string to the many flaxseed oil health benefits.
3. Flaxseed Oil and Weight Loss
First of all, flaxseed oil is not going to help you lose weight if your overall diet is high in sugar and saturated fat. The reason it can benefit a lifestyle geared towards losing weight is 2 fold:
1. Whole and ground flaxseeds contain good amounts of fiber which helps the digestive system and keeps you regular. It also makes you feel fuller for longer.
2. Flaxseed oil is converted to compounds that increase the body’s metabolic rate. The body’s cells produce more heat and burn more fuel (calories).
4. Flaxseed Oil Can Help Lower Cholesterol
Flaxseed oil contains twice as much omega 3 fatty acids than fish oil and is also high in soluble fiber, omega 6, omega 9 fatty acids.
These healthy fats and dietary fiber help keep blood platelets from sticking together, reducing cholesterol levels, and lowering the likelihood of heart disease.
Flaxseed oil’s high level of alpha-linolenic acid is also a significant contributor to lowering cholesterol levels.
5. Anti-Inflammatory Benefits of Flaxseed Oil
Flaxseed oil contains anti-inflammatory, essential fatty acids in the form of omega 3. These fatty acids help reduce inflammation that contributes to health problems such as asthma, arthritis, migraines, and osteoporosis.
This is in contrast to omega 6 fats, which act as a pro-inflammatory. Excessive levels of omega 6 can cause these various medical conditions.
The average Western diet contains far too much omega 6 because it is found in various foods such as animal fats, margarine, and many vegetable oils.
6. Flaxseed Oil and Brain Function
There is growing evidence to suggest many brain conditions such as ADHD and depression can be linked to a deficiency of healthy fatty acids such as those found in flaxseed oil.
Around one-fifth of the brain is made up of fatty acids, so it should be reasonable to expect that a lack of omega 3 in our diets could have some detrimental effect on the brain.
There is a lot of research linking low levels of omega 3 fatty acids to numerous psychiatric conditions and many indications that omega-3 fatty acids can improve the mental function of people in their elder years.
7. Flaxseed Oil Promotes Healthy Skin, Hair and Nails
Flaxseed oil has been shown to improve the condition of your skin, hair, and nails. It can also help to reduce and eliminate sunspots that develop on the skin.
Applying flax oil to the skin has also shown to reduce scar tissue.
8. Flaxseed Oil For Dry Eyes
Dry eye is a condition that affects a lot of people. Particularly after laser eye surgery or those suffering from Sjogren’s syndrome.
Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune condition where moisture producing glands such as tear glands are attacked by the body’s immune system, resulting in dry eyes. Studies have shown that just 1 or 2 grams of flaxseed oil can help prevent these glands from drying out.
“Consuming Omega 3 fatty acids found in flaxseed oil has also been shown to help restore the oily portion of a tear film that moistens the eye.”
There was a study conducted in 2006 involving 81 patients before undergoing LASIK eye surgery. The study revealed that taking 3000 mg (3 flaxseed oil capsules) 7 days before the surgery, had the same beneficial result as using the dry eye medication ‘doxycycline’ twice a day.
The flaxseed oil tablets also had little or no side effects compared to the doxycycline medication, making it a good alternative.
9. Can Flaxseed Oil Reduce Acne?
There are several reasons why someone gets acne and often it is a combination of things. Most people’s diets are too rich in Omega 6 fatty acids which can cause inflammation.
Adding more Omega 3 into our diet may help to reduce the amount of Omega 6 and so help to reduce inflammation which can cause acne.
10. Is Flaxseed Oil Good For My Joints?
Omega 3 fatty acids have long been heralded as an effective anti-inflammatory treatment. Joint pain and arthritis have been shown to greatly benefit from higher consumption of flaxseed oil.
There is an old saying that flaxseed oil “oils your joints”- and for good reason! Try taking a tablespoon of flaxseed oil 3 times a day.
How Does Flaxseed Oil Benefit Weight Loss?
Whole or ground flaxseed adds fiber to your diet, which has lots of health benefits. This fiber aids the digestive process and helps it to work more efficiently.
Omega acids help to restore health to the body in many different ways, such as aiding the circulatory system, cardiovascular system, joints, and more. This makes the entire body work more efficiently, which aids in weight loss and makes you overall healthier.
The increased health to all of the cells in your body helps you to have more energy, greater stamina, and an overall increased feeling of well-being, which will help you to have more self-discipline and willpower.
“Flaxseed and weight loss can work hand in hand to allow you to lose weight easier and quicker.”
Flaxseed can increase your metabolic rate to help you to burn calories much more effectively. This will allow you to lose weight more efficiently, simply because your body will be working better.
Combining flaxseed oil supplements with eating healthier foods and exercising and moving more can allow your body to become the fat burning furnace that you want it to be.
If you are trying to lose weight and want a little boost in your fat burning efforts, you will want to consider flaxseed.
Whether you consume it whole, ground, or in oil, you will find that it can help your body to work better and allow it to burn calories more efficiently, which will help you to lose more weight.
Flaxseed oil and weight loss is a great combination because it works. Flaxseed oil is easy to consume and can be purchased as a supplement and added to your daily diet.
How To Add Flaxseed Oil To Your Daily Diet
If you buy flaxseed oil, make sure you use it as an addition to your cooked or prepared food. Cooking with it can turn it into a ‘bad’ fat and strip it of a lot of its nutrients. Add it instead to dishes like salads, yogurts, cottage cheese, soups, and smoothie drinks.
I eat lots of salads and often drizzle a little flaxseed oil over the top. It gives it a delicious, nutty flavor.
Flaxseed oil eaten in conjunction with a low-fat protein.
“Flaxseed oil taken with a meal can increase the nutritional value of other foods.”
There’s also nothing wrong in just drinking it from the spoon. You might want to drink some fruit juice afterward if the taste is too strong for you.
Which Flaxseed Oil Is Best For You?
Flaxseed in ‘oil form’ has the highest and most concentrated quantities of omega 3. It can also absorbed your body efficiently.
Flaxseed oil capsules and soft gels are also a popular choice and offer an easy and convenient form whilst still providing high quantities of Omega 3.
Gels and tablets don’t offer the nutrient value that comes from the seeds, such as the lignans and fiber, but do contain the important essential fatty acids.
As a side note, flaxseed is gluten-free, which is an important consideration to anyone with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
I believe that the best combination is to consume flaxseed oil or a gel/tablet, with ground flaxseeds. That way you benefit from high levels of omega 3 and the beneficial nutrients and lignans found in the seeds.
For more information on flaxseed benefits and what health-promoting properties it contains. Check out article flaxseed benefits.
Where Can I Buy Flaxseed Oil?
There are lots of online stores that sell flaxseed tablets, in soft gel form, raw flaxseed, and flaxseed oil. I always use Amazon.com because they have an excellent reputation for the quality of their products and lots of customer reviews.
What Are The Differences Between Flaxseed and Flaxseed Oil?
The main difference between flaxseeds and flaxseed oil is the concentration of essential fatty acids.
Flaxseed oil is made purely by ‘pressing’ the seeds to release their oils. The healthiest method of doing this is known as ‘cold pressing’ which means the oil is extracted without using heat.
This concentration of flaxseed oil contains high amounts of fats. A 100 grams serving will provide the following breakdown:
- Saturated fat – approx 10 grams
- Polyunsaturated fat – approx 70 grams
- Monounsaturated fat – approx 20 grams
It is the polyunsaturated fats that our diets lack the most of. Flaxseed oil has the highest concentration than any other food source. Just over a tablespoon of flaxseed oil will provide you with over 100% of your daily recommended dose of omega 3 fatty acids.
Flaxseed should not be overlooked. The seeds provide a whole host of nutrients and cancer fighting lignans. See flaxseed benefits for more information.
What Do I Eat Flaxseed Oil With?
You don’t need to eat anything with flaxseed oil and can drink it straight from the bottle if you wish. It has quite a strong nutty flavor and is not to everyone’s taste.
What Does Flaxseed Oil Taste Like?
Flaxseed oil has a strong nutty flavor and slightly buttery taste.
How Much Flaxseed Oil Should I Take?
Depending on what you are taking flaxseed oil for you can safely consume 2 - 4 tablespoons each day. For fit and well adults just a couple of teaspoons or 2 to 3 capsules a day is enough to provide you with the recommended dose of essential fatty acids plus other health promoting nutrients.
Can I Take Flaxseed Oil And Fish Oil Together?
There are no health reasons why you can’t take fish oil and flaxseed oil together, although they both work in virtually identical ways so there seems little point in doing so.