Flaxseed oil, also called linseed oil is a thick, yellowish liquid and is extracted from the seeds of the linseed plant. Because of its very high levels of both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, it commonly serves as an addition to a healthy diet. It has gained popularity in recent years due to the increasing amount of people that is searching for natural and healthy, plant-based sources for these essential fatty acids.
Flaxseed Oil Benefits
Flaxseed oil (linseed oil) is often sold and consumed as a dietary supplement. Very similar to fish oil, flaxseed oil contains very high levels of essential fatty acids. Unlike fish oil, however, 50-60% of the Omega-3 acids in flaxseed oil is in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is more difficult for the body to process than the fatty acids found in fish oil. Despite this fact, however, it is still widely believed to have many positive health benefits. Studies have shown that diets high in Omega-3 fatty acids lead to lower cholesterol and blood triglycerides, which helps to prevent stroke, blood clots, high blood pressure and other heart-threatening conditions.
In addition to the fatty acids, flaxseed oil is also a great source of the following vitamins:
- Vitamin A – helps your body to build and form healthy bones and muscles and helps the skin regenerate itself properly.
- Vitamin B Complex – Flaxseed oil contains Vitamins B6, B1, B2 and B3. These vitamins greatly strengthen your immune system and helps prevent the development of many known diseases.
- Vitamin E – a healthy antioxidant that gives your skin a healthier, younger appearance.
- Vitamin K – vital in the healing of wounds through healthy blood clotting.
Choosing the right flaxseed oil
While it may seem like all flaxseed oil supplements are created equal, this is often not the case. When you are looking for a flax seed supplement, there are a few things that you should look into first.
- Only buy from reputable companies that can guarantee that their
supplements are free of dangerous heavy metals such as mercury. Improperly cultivated flaxseed oil can be harmful.
- Choose only oil that has been cold-pressed. Oils that are derived using heat loses a lot of their nutrients in the process and can leave a bad aftertaste.
- Choose a dosage that works best for your schedule and diet. Consult your dietitian about this if you are planning to systematically incorporate flaxseed oil into your diet.
- Look for supplements that are wrapped in dark packaging. This helps the oil retain its vitamins, minerals and fatty acids by limiting exposure to ultraviolet rays. These rays can catalyse or help break down a lot of minerals in the flaxseed oil if exposed.
In addition to being used as a common health supplement, flaxseed oil is also used in many other more industrial applications. Because of its tendency to evaporate easily, you will often find flaxseed oil blended with other solvents, resins and oils to form wood varnish and oil paints to help them dry out more quickly. It is also used in the production of linoleum.
For those looking to improve their overall health and wellness, flaxseed oil is one of the most common additions to a healthy diet. With its powerful blend of heart-healthy antioxidants and anti-inflammatory powers, it is one of the most widely available and used supplements on the market.