Advantages of Flaxseed Oil

Flax is one of the oldest crops in the world. The flax fibres discovered by archaeologists date back 30,000 years. Originally, flax was used to create clothes and other fabrics, according to dietician Devon Peart, MHSc, BASc, RD. Now it is also cultivated as a food crop.

When flax is utilised for industrial or non-food uses, it is frequently referred to as linseed. Actually, linseed oil is a component of oil paints, wood finishes, and putty.

However, flaxseed oil is another thing. Rich in good fats, it provides many health advantages when consumed with meals.

What exactly is flaxseed oil?

The liquid and pill forms of flaxseed oil are derived from the seed of the flax plant.

Peart adds, “It is produced by cold pressing matured and dried fresh flax seeds.” This frees up the oil. This approach yields oil with increased health advantages. “Cold pressing preserves antioxidants that are destroyed by heat,”

Flaxseed and flaxseed oil are both rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Peart describes them as necessary fats. “By essential, we imply that we must have them via our diet. We do not produce them. We must get them from our diet.”

However, flaxseed and flaxseed oil are distinct in a number of ways. For instance, flaxseed is a high-fibre food. “There are qualities of flaxseed that are not present in the oil, such as fibre,” explains Peart. The oil is composed entirely of fat, however, it is good fat.

Flaxseed oil benefits

Flaxseed oil is loaded with several significant health advantages.

Contains nutritious fats

Even though flaxseed oil is composed entirely of fat, it is not harmful. First, the fat is unsaturated, which is beneficial to heart health.

Numerous health advantages are related to omega-3 lipids. These include a decreased likelihood of:

  • The onset of cardiac disease.
  • Forming blood clots.
  • If you have heart disease, you will die.

In addition to decreasing cholesterol, omega-3 fats may also boost your mood.

Peart states, “Omega-3 fats are healthy for the brain and the heart.”

The omega-3 fat found in flaxseed oil is alpha-linolenic acid (APA), a plant-based fatty acid. The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Peart observes that pound for pound, flaxseed oil is the greatest source of ALA, the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid. It is a fantastic option for vegetarians and those who do not consume seafood.

Can possibly lower cholesterol.

In a 2015 research involving 15 males, supplementation with ALA-rich flaxseed oil for 12 weeks dramatically decreased their levels of tiny, dense LDL cholesterol particles, often known as bad cholesterol.

This kind of cholesterol is related to atherosclerosis, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, according to Peart. “The males likewise had a substantial reduction in LDL levels within four weeks of supplementation. That is really quick.”

Additionally, a 2015 research including older persons showed that flaxseed oil decreased LDL (or bad cholesterol) and increased HDL (or good cholesterol).

Contains lignans

One of the greatest plant sources of lignans is flaxseed oil. These are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant chemicals. “Chronic inflammation is associated with a variety of health conditions,” adds Peart, including obesity, metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. A 2018 meta-analysis of research discovered a potential association between flaxseed oil and its capacity to lower the kind of stress that promotes inflammation.

Peart also adds that an earlier but significant Canadian research from 2013 was the first to demonstrate a link between flaxseed eating and a lower risk of breast cancer. Due to the lignans included in flaxseed oil, this occurred.

In addition, scientists are investigating whether lignans may lessen the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, but further study is required.

Decreased inflammation

In general, scientists have discovered potential associations between flaxseed oil and inflammation reduction. A 2018 meta-analysis of trials examining the effects of flaxseed oil supplementation on persons with metabolic syndrome — a combination of risk factors that raise the likelihood of getting heart disease, stroke, and diabetes — revealed that supplementation with flaxseed oil was beneficial.

“It particularly lowered the inflammatory indicators,” Peart explains. These indicators include pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are immune system signals that promote inflammation. The anti-inflammatory benefits of flaxseed oil may considerably lower a protein associated with inflammation, according to a separate 2016 research on obese individuals. More study is required to determine if flaxseed oil has an anti-inflammatory impact on healthy individuals.

What dosage of flaxseed oil should be taken?

Peart states that daily use of flaxseed oil is OK and that there is no suggested amount. However, she cautions that a “few teaspoons to a tablespoon” (equal to one to three capsules) of flaxseed oil per day are a common dosage.

This quantity will guarantee you get the majority of the required daily allowance of ALA omega-3 fat. Peart states, “The daily ALA requirement for women is around 1,100 milligrammes, whereas for males it is approximately 1,600 milligrammes.” A tablespoon of flaxseed oil contains between 730 and 1,095 milligrammes of useable ALA.

The advantages of flaxseed oil are not necessarily altered whether the supplement is taken in tablet or capsule form as opposed to plain oil.

It is simpler to keep flaxseed oil in capsule form, according to Peart. And for those who don’t want to consume it, such as those who don’t want to add the oil to salad dressing, it is available in capsule form.”

Adverse consequences

As with many other supplements, excessive flaxseed oil might cause gastrointestinal distress. Large doses of flaxseed oil may produce loose stools, which are softer faeces, and possibly diarrhoea. Some individuals may also have an allergic response.

Additionally, flaxseed oil might reduce your blood’s clotting capacity and raise your chance of bleeding. “If you are using anticoagulant (anticlotting) medicines or any anticoagulant herbs or supplements, flaxseed oil may be excessive. If you are using flaxseed oil or capsules, you should discontinue using them a few weeks before elective surgery.

If you are on blood pressure drugs or any other medications, herbs, or supplements that reduce blood pressure, flaxseed oil may cause your blood pressure to drop too much.

Peart also advises against using flaxseed oil for cooking due to its low smoke point. This indicates that it burns at a low temperature. She recommends against exposing flaxseed oil to high temperatures. “When you heat the oil, the fatty acids are broken down. And it may also generate damaging free radicals.”

Use fresh flaxseed oil in salad dressings, sauces, and dips, as well as in shakes, smoothies, and yoghurt. However, oil has a shorter shelf life than seeds, therefore it must be stored in a cold, dark location.

“It may be stored in a cupboard or refrigerator,” explains Peart. “However, due to the heat, do not keep it near to the stove. Because it is fat, it may oxidise fast and become rancid.

Is flaxseed oil a healthy food?

Dietitians do not have a singular definition of a superfood; nonetheless, they are often low-calorie, nutrient-dense meals. Using this criterion, flaxseed oil absolutely qualifies. “After all, it is related to heart health, a robust immune system, reduced inflammation, and decreased cholesterol. “It meets all of these requirements,” Peart stresses.

Peart, however, advocates consuming different types of omega-3 fats when considering the makeup of your diet. In addition to flaxseed oil, salmon and chia seeds may also be consumed. She advises against relying only on flaxseed oil as a source of omega-3 fatty acids. However, I would include it in the rotation.

Not only is variety the spice of life, but it also indicates a healthy diet. “If you consistently consume the same seeds, oil, fruit, nuts, or veggies, you are receiving the same nutrients,” explains Peart. “There are other nutrients that you may not be consuming. Variety is always preferable.

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