It’s no secret that we love fat. It gets a really bad rap, but good fats can have many amazing health benefits. That’s the case with flaxseed oil. The rich source of fat is what accounts for most of flaxseed oil’s benefits. Here’s why you’re going to want to add flaxseed oil to your cooking.
Flaxseed Oil Benefits
Alpha-linolenic acid, ALA, is a form of omega-3. It’s the plant-based source of this essential fatty acid. Flaxseed oil happens to be the best source of ALA in the world. ALA is great for you, but this plant-based form of omega-3 has to be converted by the body into EPA and DHA. This means you need a lot more ALA to get the same levels of usable omega-3 already in the form of EPA and DHA found in fish. However, if you are allergic to fish, or if you don’t eat meat, flaxseed oil is one of the best ways to get omega-3 in your diet.
Flaxseed oil could be an important oil to get during pregnancy. One study conducted on rats showed that the offspring of rats given flaxseed oil during pregnancy and lactation had healthier pancreases, and experienced less damage from maternal hyperglycaemia. Since diabetes is becoming one of the most common diseases in western civilization, it is important to try and reduce as much damage to the pancreas as possible. Flaxseed itself can also be very beneficial because of its high fibre, low sugar nutritional profile.
Flaxseed oil can be great for heart health. The omega-3 is anti-inflammatory, which is great for a healthy heart. It can also help keep platelets from sticking to the arterial wall. It promotes healthy blood vessels and reduces irregular heartbeat.
Flaxseed oil is also great for healthy hair, skin, and nails. The omega-3 helps to hydrate the skin from the inside. It is great to naturally moisturize the body with healthy oils. This is especially great during the cold winter months when we become increasingly susceptible to dry cracking skin. Furthermore, this healthy oil can help prevent dry eyes.
A Canadian study found that flaxseed oil might prevent the formation of breast cancer, and cancer growth. However, adding any supplement to a diet can impact medication absorption and treatment. You should always consult a doctor about adding supplements to your diet, especially if on medication.
Flaxseed oil’s high-fat content makes it great for a low carbohydrate diet. Fat is a great alternative to sugar for energy. It is also more filling than carbohydrates and can be great for weight loss.
Flaxseed oil can also work as a laxative. While normal amounts used while cooking shouldn’t have an adverse effect, consuming too much of it can cause diarrheic problems. These can be accompanied with bloating, excessive gassiness, and other gastrointestinal problems. It can be very useful if constipated, and normal levels of the oil in your diet can help coat the intestinal lining and help prevent things from backing up.
Since high levels of flaxseed oil will have a laxative effect, it would seem unsafe for people with Crohn’s disease. However, the omega-3 in the oil has many gut anti-inflammatory properties that could actually prove beneficial for people with Crohn’s. Flaxseed oil should still be consumed in moderation.
Flaxseed oil may not be right for everyone. High levels of flaxseed oil could cause adverse effects on the thyroid gland. Anyone with thyroid issues should definitely discuss the use of flaxseed oil with a doctor before use. As stated above, anyone on medication should consult a physician before introducing supplements or drastic dietary changes.
Flaxseed oil can be a great addition to most diets. Its rich source of omega-3 can help protect your heart, pancreas, gut, and skin. Start eating healthier by adding some fat to your diet!