Flax seed oil is extracted from the seeds of the flax plant which is botanically called Linum usitatissimum, L. Flax seed oil which is also known as linseed oil has been in use all over the world for a long time. It originally came from the Mediterranean region and Canada, Russia, Argentina and France are its largest producers in the world. The plant grows in different kinds of climate and is an extremely useful one. It has been used as main ingredient in Linen for thousands of years and also used as an easy to get to food source. Flax cultivation is said to be started during the Neolithic Era which is approximately 10,000 B.C. During 4000 and 2000 B.C flax cultivation became a common custom in the Middle East and countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. In the 8th century, King Charlemagne or Charles the Great believed that flax seed oil benefits were good for his subjects and passed laws that every subject should consume flax seed. Flax cultivation is both culinary and domestic and in the US and Canada the most commercial flax production involves oil seed varieties of flax, and the seeds are dried and crushed and used for production of different grades of oil. The other non-food grade flax seed oil is used for making wood finishes, coatings, paint and other industrial supplies and also as supplements and in livestock feed. Flax seed oil contains omega-3 and omega 6 fatty acids which are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) which cannot be produced naturally by our body but are needed for human health. The right quantity of PUFAs is needed for the body and omega 3 fatty acids help in reduction of inflammation and omega 6 fatty contribute to inflammation. An ideal healthy diet should consist of two to four times lesser omega 6 fatty acids than the omega 3 fatty acids.
Flax seed oil contains ALA (Alpha lipoic acid) which our body convert into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These are omega 3 fatty acids available in fish oil. The nutrition in flax seed oil is most striking when it comes to fatty acid substance. EPA is needed for physical and mental health this is primarily found in fish and dish oil. DHA is needed for different bodily functions involving the brain, blood vessels and immune system. It is generally found in shellfish, fish and fish oil. ALA is the only omega 3 found in plants like flax seeds, canola, soy, hemp seeds, walnuts and enhanced foods. When one consumes ALA, the body converts it into EPA and then finally to DHA. A normal serving of flax seed oil of one table spoon contains 120 calories, 0.01 grams protein and 13.6 grams fat. There are many health benefits for flax seed oil and it is known for its ability to improve heart health, reduce inflammation and gout, and prevent cancer and premature aging. It helps to improve the immune system and control digestion. Flax seed oil helps to normalize hormones in post-menopausal women, improve eye health, lower blood pressure and avert different gastrointestinal diseases. Flax seed oil can be used in the same way as any other vegetable oil and its flavour is pleasing and low profile. The oil cooks evenly and is healthy for the body and is easy to extract. The oil is colourless to yellowish and extracted from the dried, ripened seeds of the flax plant by using the pressing method. It is also extracted by using the solvent extraction method. Flax seed oil is a drying oil which means that the oil can polymerize into a solid form.
There are many healthy benefits for flax seed oil and the world, of late realising its benefits. Because of the presence of Omega 3 the bad form of cholesterol (LDL) is scraped out from the body and helps to balance the cholesterol in the body. Since the cholesterol is under control there is no plaque build up in the walls of the arteries and blood vessels. This helps in reducing blood pressure and lowering the chances of developing atherosclerosis and which in turn prevents heart attacks and strokes. Using flax seed oil regularly is good for the health of the heart. Flax seed oil contains high antioxidant properties and is rich in plant sterols also known as phytosterols. These are powerful antioxidants and it help prevent the harm the free radicals do to our healthy cells in various parts of the body, including turning them into cancerous cells. Lignans found in flax seed oil have a straight impact on the hormone balance in the body. By using flax seed oil hormone related cancers are less likely to happen because the body endocrine system is in order and running smoothly.
Flax seed oil has high fibre content in it and this is very good for the regulation of the digestive system. Fibre intake helps to bulk up the stool and move it through the digestive tract which in turn prevents constipation and also diarrhoea since it absorbs watery stool. Keeping fibre in the diet will also help the body to maintain cholesterol levels in the body. The lignans present in flax seed oil reduce the chances of colon cancer. Dry eyes can be prevented by regular use of flax seed oil in the diet and it can also prevent more serious forms of this condition like Sjogren’s syndrome. Flax seed oil has anti-inflammatory properties which prevent different types of inflammation in the body like natural aches and pains in the joint and muscles. It is also ideal for more serious conditions like arthritis and gout. Flax seed oil should be included in the diet to get rid of any kind of inflammatory conditions.
Good for Many Health Conditions
Flax seed oil is good for treating Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease is a health condition that trouble people all round the world. Research has shown that consumption of flax seed oil shows positive relationship between inflammation of the colon and intestinal tract. Flax seed oil helps women who go through menopause by maintaining the hormonal balance. During menopause women go through changes in body in dramatic ways especially in the hormonal balance like estrogen. The lignans in flax seed oil, like secoisolarriciresinol, matarirecinol and pinoresinol plays a major part in the hormonal balance and this helps the post-menopausal women to function better and fight back with the fluctuation of estrogen in the body. Research has been going on regarding the flax seed as general healthy oil and there is long way to go. The increase the flow of blood is better because flax seed oil is a vasodilator and is good for faster healing post surgery. Use of flax seed oil during pregnancy or breastfeeding is still not advisable because the hormonal contribution of flax seed oil can be dramatic.
There are two ways to increase omega 3 intake, one is flax seed oil and the other is fish oil. If you are vegetarian then the flax seed oil is the perfect choice. Flax seed oil is one of the nature’s richest and finest sources of vegetable based omega 3 fatty acids. Remember that the benefits of flax seed oil widen beyond its high omega 3 content. Flax seed oil is also associated with healthier brains and hearts, better moods and healthier skin and hair also. The cold pressed and organic flax seed oil is the ideal one to buy and see that the oil is stored in an opaque bottle to reduce oxidation. Flax seed oil is versatile oil and can be used in place of other oils for salad dressing and sauces. Flax seed oil is widely used in smoothies and protein shakes of different makes. It makes a nutritious addition to yogurt and oatmeal and mixing it with yogurt and cottage cheese helps blend the oil, improve digestion and metabolism.
The combination mix of flax seed oil and organic cottage cheese is part of the anticancer treatment called Budwig protocol. People use flax seed oil in place of butter on rice, potatoes and toast to get the benefits of the oil and avoid carbohydrates in those starches and grains. Flax seed oil should be ideally kept under refrigeration to retain freshness and to prevent oxidation and rancidity the container or bottle should be tightly closed. It is better to consume the oil ideally within six to eight weeks after opening the bottle. The flax seed oil is excellent for people fighting cancer and also to those looking to prevent cancer. Consuming flax seed oil one time daily can help rebuild the cell membranes and the oil is a fantastic colon cleanser. The probiotics and fermentable fibre transforms the health of the small intestine and colon. But keep in mind that consumption of too much of EPA and DHA can cause the blood to become too thin and increases the risk of bruising, bleeding and even stroke. It is better to consult a doctor before using flax seed and fish oil at the same time. Since the flax seed oil gets oxidized easily it is better to avoid using the oil in cooking. But it is ideal to add flax seed oil to foods after they are heated. Since flax seed oil does not have a very strong taste of its own it can be added to recipes like salads, smoothies and similar foods.