Everything You Need to Know About Flax Seed Oil
What is Flax seed Oil?
Flax seed oil – known as linseed oil – is a golden oil extracted from ground flax seeds of the Linum usitatissimum plant. These tiny, gelatinous seeds have a long history of use in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.
Flax seeds are a well-known vegan and vegetarian source of essential polyunsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The seeds contain 50-60% omega-3s in the form of vegetarian alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), making them the richest plant-based source of healthy omega-3s.
Flaxseed oil is ideal for those who don't consume fish and other animal products who are at increased risk for omega-3 deficiency. Just 1 tablespoon of flax oil daily can make a huge difference to your health!
How Flax Seed Oil Works
ALA in flaxseed oil is converted into the active omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (1). These functional fatty acids are needed for the optimal function of your cell membranes, brain, nervous system, eyes, skin, and cardiovascular system.
EPA and DHA have been studied for their role in regulating inflammation in the body and preventing chronic inflammatory reactions. A 2016 systematic review and meta-analysis published in Nutrients found that flaxseed oil significantly reduced C-reactive protein (CRP) levels – a marker of inflammation (2). Research also suggests flaxseed oil may be a helpful adjunctive treatment for people struggling with chronic inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis (3).
However, the body cannot produce these essential fatty acids, and modern diets tend to be low in omega-3s and high in omega-6 fatty acids. This fatty acid imbalance may be contributing to rising rates of chronic inflammation in the body and chronic disease. Flaxseed oil provides the body with a high dose of essential omega-3 fatty acids, with an ideal omega-3 to omega-6 ratio!
Health Benefits of Flax Seed Oil
Are you looking for a seed oil packed with healthy fats that can take your health and well-being to the next level? If so, you're in the right place!
Many seed oils have a bad reputation – but anti-inflammatory flaxseed oil is something special. In this article, we introduce you to the uses and benefits of vegan-friendly flaxseed oil.
Supports Heart Health
A source of plant-based anti-inflammatory omega-3s, flaxseed oil appears to reduce markers of heart disease and support a healthy cardiovascular system. Research suggests its anti-inflammatory and blood-thinning properties may prevent plaque from being deposited in the blood vessels and causing atherosclerosis – hardening of the arteries.
When compared to a high omega-6 vegetable oil, flaxseed oil daily has been shown to protect heart health by significantly lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure (4).
In 2015, a study in the Nutrition Journal looked at the impact of 10 g of corn oil or flaxseed oil on levels of dangerously small and dense low-density lipoprotein (sd-LDL) cholesterol known to damage the blood vessels. The results found that the flaxseed oil group had a significant reduction in concentrations of sd-LDL as well as improved blood levels of ALA and EPA (5).
Improves Skin Health
ALA-rich flaxseed oil promotes hydrated and glowing skin. It supports a healthy skin barrier that retains moisture and prevents bacteria from entering the body.
In 2006 and 2011, clinical studies on women found that ingesting flaxseed oil for 3 months resulted in (6, 7):
- Reduced skin redness and sensitivity
- Greater skin hydration
- Less moisture loss via the skin
- Smoother skin
- Reduced skin roughness
It's also a useful supplement for vegans and vegetarians who struggle with itchy eczema and dermatitis.
Supports Digestive Function and Elimination
Flaxseed oil has been used in traditional medicine to support efficient elimination. Research now confirms that regularly consuming this oil improves digestive function. It lubricates the digestive tract to reduce constipation, and its anti-inflammatory properties may soothe inflammatory digestive symptoms like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
A 2015 study of constipated patients found that 4ml of flaxseed oil daily improved bowel movement frequency and stool consistency (8).
May Regulate Female Hormonal Symptoms
Flaxseed oil may balance hormone levels and relieve unpleasant symptoms in menopausal women.
A 2015 study on menopausal women found that consuming flaxseed oil for 3 months decreased symptoms like hot flashes and improved quality of life (9).
Make Flax Seed Oil Part of Your Daily Diet
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Flax Seed Oil