What is it?
Flaxseed oil is said to be one of nature’s richest sources of Omega-3 alpha linolenic acid (ALNA), an ‘essential fatty acids’ (EFAs). ALNA and linoleic acid (LA, an omega-6) are considered to be the two primary EFAs.
Ever heard people talk about ‘good fats’? Well, the foods that will be mentioned e.g. fish and nuts, are foods high in Omega-3 and Flaxseed Oil is probably the greatest source of this essential fatty acid (starting to get the picture?).
Despite being advised to eat sources of Omega-3 three times a week, most people find this difficult, especially in the Western diet, so need to get their Omega-3 quota from other sources. This is especially relevant as Westernised diets consist of more Omega-6, causing an imbalance in your system.
Like olive, canola, and most other plant oils, flax seed oil is highly unsaturated and heart-healthy. Lignans and other flax seed components may also have antioxidant properties, which mean they may reduce the activity of cell-damaging free radicals.
How does it work?
Flaxseed, rich in Omega-3, can benefit many areas of the body including your hair, nails, skin, as well as helping to lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure and prevent arthritis and cancers.
Much like other plant oils, flaxseed is oil is highly unsaturated, therefore has a positive effect on the health of your heart. Furthermore, the antioxidant properties flaxseed oil contains reduce the activity of cell-damaging free-radicals, earning its reputation of ‘being good for every molecule in the human body!’
The ‘Flax Plant’, an ancient crop, yields seeds (linseed or flaxseed) and oil. Also called Linseed Oil, the yellow-ish oil is taken from the dried ripe seeds of the plant
(Linum, usitatissimum, Linaceae) and extracted by being ‘cold-pressed’, without solvent extraction.
Why supplement Flaxseed oil?
As discussed, ALNA is an essential fatty acid of which there is a rich source of in Flaxseed Oil. Other food sources containing ALNA are vegetable oils, beans, diary products, some nuts such as Walnuts and leafy greens. However, as products such as soybean oil is partially hydrogenated, which increases the body’s trans fatty acid content (a fatty acid linked strongly to cardiovascular disease), many of these food sources don not have a positive effect on the diet nor contribute much ALNA. Research suggests, however, that flaxseed oil is a great way to supplement your diet and increase the body’s ALNA content, altering the omega-6/omega-3 ratio.
So why is an increase the fatty acid Omega-3 important to your diet? Well, body stores of Omega-6 are high and can last for quite some time compared to ALNA, and the oxidation rate of ALNA is also higher.
An average person’s diet would usually involve much more Omega-6 (LA) intake than Omega-3 (ALNA) causing an imbalance in these two extremely important fatty acids. Side-effects of an imbalance can cause cardiovascular disease, depression, diabetes, cancer, arthritis and many other conditions and diseases.
Omega-3 is highly recommended for your general well-being and whole body nutrition. Additional benefits of flaxseed oil may be the prevention of cancer (mainly breast cancer) due to the lignan precursors found.
What are the side-effects?
Important to remember is that Flaxseed supplements must be kept refrigerated at all times. This is due to flaxseed oil becoming easily oxidised and spoiling, causing an unpleasant odour and a useless supplement. Oil with this smell should be discarded immediately as free radicals can form which may be carcinogenic. It is suggested you look for Flaxseed Oil in either capsule form, or dark coloured bottles, to reduce the oxidization of the oil. Despite it being important to stay within the limits the dosage instructions suggest, scientific studies have shown up to 30 grams of flaxseed oil supplements show no sign of any side-effects.
How do I use a Flaxseed supplement?
Flaxseed oil can come in the form of a capsule or as oil and should be taken as the dosage suggests on the packaging. However, some scientists suggest at least 1,000 mg be taken one to three times daily.
It has a pleasant, nutty smell and taste so there are no excuses in taking this highly beneficial supplement.
Did you know?
Flaxseed Oil has many industrial used today, such as ingredients for paints and varnishes.
Omega-3 fatty acids can also speed up your metabolism, making it easier to burn fat and lose weight.
As if all this wasn’t persuasive enough, more Omega-3 in your diet can help in the treatment of multiple-sclerosis, improve the conditions of those suffering from schizophrenia and even help the relief of….dandruff!