Flaxseed Oil - Powerful Effects of Essential Fatty
cereals and porridges to muffins and breads, flaxseed is a featured
supplement that occupies the health section of all grocery stores
and, probably, your home. Is it a newly invented miracle food or
a money making fad? Research reveals the many healthful benefits
of Flaxseed oil which has shown to reduce inflammation, lower blood
cholesterol, minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke,
preventing the clotting of blood platelets, fight depression, reduce
muscle and joint pain, protect your eyes from age-related diseases,
improve complexity of skin, hair and nails, increase palatability
of foods and facilitate digestion.
The flax plant is an ancient crop originating in Mesopotamia
more than 4000 years ago. Also known as Linseed, the plant Linum
usitatissimum (meaning "most useful") has truly blue flowers.
Flaxseed is used throughout the world in more ways than you can
imagine. The oil from flaxseed is used in paints, linoleum and varnishes,
the fiber is a valuable source for weaving linen for clothing. But
the most valuable properties are found in the flaxseed's nutritional
value as it contains fiber and lignans, essential fatty acids and
amino acids, abundance of vitamins and minerals. Today, flaxseed
is best known for its therapeutic oil, which has earned a reputation
for treating a range of conditions.
Healing Flax Oil
Three quarters of the lipids found in the flaxseed are healthy polyunsaturated
fats. The flaxseed's most unique feature is the high ratio of alpha-linolenic
acid (an omega-3 lipid) to linoleic acid (an omega-6 lipid). Both
these lipids are referred to as Essential Fatty Acids (EFA's) as
humans can only obtain them by ingesting them. Because the typical
Western diet is high in omega-6 fatty acids, nutrition experts recommend
people replace some omega-6 fatty acids with omega-3 fatty acids
to improve the dietary omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. It is the richest
known source of omega-3 fatty acids, also known as alpha-linolenic
acid (ALA) making it an excellent replacement.
The only way we can get enough of Omega-3 is by eating
plenty of fish or flaxseeds. While other foods supply small amounts
of Omega-3, these come naturally mixed together with Omega-6 fatty
acids, particularly linoleic acid and arachidonic acid. The unique
composition of flaxseed's oil due to the abundance of Omega-3 fats
is something no other plant food can offer.
Inflammation - Eating too little fat has never been a problem
for most people. But eating too little of the essential Omega-3
fat has certainly contributed to many health problems. Most of us
eat a lot of Omega-6 fats, primarily from various vegetable oils,
such as corn, sesame, safflower, cottonseed, and sunflower. Omega-3s
from seafood and flaxseed are eaten in small amounts and without
consistency. This imbalance makes the body vulnerable to different
irritants causing inflammation and slowing blood flow in the body.
On the other hand, eating slightly more Omega-3 fats helps to reduce
and prevent inflammation and improve circulation.
This is because Omega-3 fats are used in production of Series 1
and 3 prostaglandins, which are anti-inflammatory hormone-like molecules,
while other fats produce pro-inflammatory Series-2 prostaglandins.
Like aspirin, omega-3s have power to help reduce blood clotting,
lessen the risk of heart disease, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis,
asthma and migraine headaches. The Omega-3 fatty acids also have
the ability to construct healthy cell walls, transport oxygen to
all the cells in the body, and serve as the number one energy source
for the heart muscle.
Lowered Cholesterol - Eating flaxseed on a regular basis
have shown to lower cholesterol. After just four weeks of daily
supplementation with 50 grams of flaxseed, women's levels of dangerous
LDL-cholesterol dropped 18 percent while total cholesterol levels
were reduced by nine percent. Similar study have confirmed the cholesterol-lowering
power of flax by showing an eight percent drop LDL cholesterol with
just three weeks of eating the flax. Such changes in cholesterol
are more than enough to significantly lower the risk of heart disease.
Beautiful Skin - Complexion and color of your skin reveals
the health of your body and requires proper care. Dry and oily skin,
acne, rash, blackheads and whiteheads and easy scaring all reveal
under-nutrition of some and over-nutrition of other elements. Several
nutrients, all found in flaxseed, have shown to protect and repair
your skin. Carotene, Vitamins A, E and C, selenium, zinc, and sulphur
lessen the skin damage from free radicals of UV sun rays, help repair
tissue and promote the growth of new skin cells. Additionally, flaxseed's
oil rich in essential fatty acids (EFAs) will moisturize the skin
from within creating a smooth velvety complexion. With aging and
sun exposure, the skin becomes dry and prone to wrinkles. While
creams and lotions may help preserve the superficial skin layer,
nutritious diet with plenty of EFAs will stimulate the production
of natural moisture protective coating, make the skin more resistant
to the environmental damage and help construct new healthy-looking
Sharpened Vision - Loaded with essential Omega-3 fatty acids,
flaxseed can reduce the risk of macular degeneration -- an eye disease
that destroys vision by damaging nerve cells in the eye. While people
with a high intake of other fats from various vegetable oils were
more likely to develop macular degeneration, those who eat more
Omega-3 were less likely to have the disease. Flaxseed is also good
for combating dry eyes due to an insufficient oil layer making the
eyes prone to water evaporation. Omega-3 fatty acids help the oil
glands in lubricating and coating of the surface of the eyes thus
keeping them moist.
Using Flax Oil
Note that Flax oil cannot stand up to high temperatures, therefore
it is not suitable for cooking, baking or frying. However, it can
be added to a dish after cooking, used in salad dressings or as
a dip for breads. Keep the oil in the dark bottle in the refrigerator
as it spoils quickly when exposed to light and heat.