Flaxseed oil is one of the most popular vegetable oils used in cooking. It is also known as linseed or sesame seed oil. It has been used for centuries as a food additive and it has many health benefits such as improving cholesterol levels, preventing heart disease, cancer prevention, diabetes control and even weight loss. Flaxseed oil is available in different forms including liquid (flaked), powder (ground) and solidified form. Liquid flaxseed oil is usually sold in small glass bottles. Flaked flaxseed oil is available in smaller glass jars. Ground flaxseed oil is available in larger glass jars. Solidified flaxseed oil can be purchased from some health food stores and online shops. It comes as a capsule or tablet form and can be taken with meals or consumed alone without any meal preparation.
Flaxseed oil is considered safe and nutritious. It contains omega 3 fatty acids which are essential for good health. Omega 6 fatty acids have been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, while omega 3 fatty acids decrease them. Flaxseed oil is rich in vitamins A, D, E and K2 which are all necessary for healthy skin and hair.
Flaxseed oil helps prevent sunburns because it protects your skin from UV rays. Flaxseed oil also helps improve the elasticity of your skin. It is a rich source of antioxidant that protects your skin from free radicals. Flaxseed oil helps in losing weight by promoting the feeling of fullness and decreasing sugar cravings. It lowers the risk of diabetes and controls blood sugar levels in diabetics. Flaxseed oil is effective in fighting against cancer by slowing or preventing the growth of cancer cells.
How to consume flaxseed oil?
Flaxseed oil is a rich source of fatty acids, so it should not be taken in large quantities. It is best to take flaxseed oil with meals. Two to three tablespoons of flaxseed oil should be mixed in a glass of any cold beverage such as water or milk. You can also add a few drops of fruit juice to give it a pleasant flavor. After mixing the flaxseed oil with the beverage of your choice, you can drink it immediately or keep it in the refrigerator for later consumption. It can also be mixed with any regular or green vegetable to improve its taste and make a balanced meal.
Benefits of flaxseed oil:
Useful for weight loss:
Flaxseed oil is high in fat so it may cause weight gain if taken without any consideration. It can also cause loose bowel movement if taken in large quantities. However, flaxseed oil is low in calories so if taken in small quantities it can be a great source of necessary fatty acids while helping you lose weight.
Helps in Digestion:
Flaxseed oil is rich in fiber and helps in improving digestion. It is easily absorbed by the body and used as energy. It helps prevent constipation and other digestive problems.
Helps in Preventing Cancer:
Flaxseed oil is very effective in preventing certain types of cancer such as colon, prostate and lung cancer. It lowers the risk of getting these types of cancer. Flaxseed oil also helps in slowing or even reversing the growth of cancerous cells. It also reduces the risk of getting arthritis and rheumatism.
Flaxseed oil helps in the treatment of hemorrhoids because it reduces inflammation and pain. It is also effective in treating respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis because it opens up the airways and allows free flow of air. Flaxseed oil can also relieve muscle pain because of its anti inflammatory properties. It can relieve arthritis and rheumatism pain as well as other types of persistent body aches.
It is also effective in treating psoriasis and dandruff.
How to store flaxseed oil:
Flaxseed oil should be stored in a cool and dry place in order to preserve its quality. It can be stored at room temperature for three months and in the refrigerator for six months. It is better to transfer the oil into a dark glass container because it prevents the oil from degrading when exposed to light. The oil should be kept away from heat and light.
It should be refrigerated after opening.
Advantages of flaxseed oil:
Flaxseed oil helps in losing weight and prevents obesity. It promotes weight loss by increasing metabolic rate, reducing hunger and food intake.
It is beneficial in the treatment of various heart diseases. It lowers bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels while increasing the good cholesterol levels in the blood. It reduces the risk of heart disease and keeps the heart healthy.
It lowers the risk of getting cancer. It prevents the growth of certain types of cancerous cells.
It protects against fungal and bacterial infections.
It helps in the treatment of asthma and respiratory problems such as bronchitis, emphysema and pneumonia. It alleviates shortness of breath, chest congestion and wheezing caused by these conditions
It lowers the risk of getting arthritis. It relieves joint and muscle pain related to arthritis, rheumatism and other similar conditions.
It helps in the treatment of diabetes. It reduces the effects of diabetic neuropathy, slows down the condition’s progression and prevents complications. It helps slow down and even reverse the diabetic condition.
It helps relieve skin problems such as psoriasis, dermatitis and dandruff. It can also prevent scalp problems such as itching and scaling of the scalp.
It relieves the discomfort of hemorrhoids and promotes healing.
It is effective in treating urinary tract infections. It disinfects the urinary tract and treats the infection quickly.
It helps strengthen bones and prevents bone loss and osteoporosis in both men and women. It is also good for people who have already developed osteoporosis.
It alleviates the discomfort of PMS symptoms such as bloating, cramping, muscle pain and fatigue.
It relieves the discomfort of premenstrual syndrome.
It can improve vision.
Side effects and warnings:
Flaxseed oil is best taken in small quantities because it can cause diarrhea, intestinal gasses, abdominal cramps and nausea when taken in large quantities. It can also cause allergic reactions in some people as well as fetid breath, sweat and urine. Pregnant women should avoid taking flaxseed oil altogether because it can lead to infant complications. In addition, flaxseed oil may interfere with several types of medication.
It is best to first consult your physician before taking flaxseed oil if you are pregnant, have a history of kidney or liver disease, have a history of allergies or are currently taking any type of medication.
How to take flaxseed oil:
The dosage of flaxseed oil depends on your age, health and the condition being treated. It is best to first discuss the dosage with your doctor. However, the average recommended adult dosage is one tablespoon of flaxseed oil taken three times daily. It can be added to breakfast, lunch and dinner or taken separately.
Flaxseed oil can either be mixed with foods or beverages or taken alone.
Available types of flaxseed oil:
There are two types of flaxseed oil available, golden and dark. It is best to choose golden flaxseed oil since it has a milder taste and is less likely to cause nausea, diarrhea and other side effects. The darker the color of the oil, the stronger its taste. The darker oils are also more likely to cause allergic reactions.
Flaxseed oil should not be heated or frozen. It should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
Flaxseed oil is known to turn clothing and fabric brown, so it is recommended to either wear dark colored clothes or wash your clothes a few times before using flaxseed oil. It is best to use a glass container when storing flaxseed oil.
Do not confuse flaxseed oil with linseed oil which is made from the seed’s shell and has a very bitter taste and may cause vomiting, diarrhea and seizures.
Sources & references used in this article:
Encapsulation efficiency and oxidative stability of flaxseed oil microencapsulated by spray drying using different combinations of wall materials by HCF Carneiro, RV Tonon, CRF Grosso… – Journal of food …, 2013 – Elsevier
Flax and flaxseed oil: an ancient medicine & modern functional food by A Goyal, V Sharma, N Upadhyay, S Gill… – Journal of food science …, 2014 – Springer
Microencapsulation of flaxseed oil by spray drying: Effect of oil load and type of wall material by RV Tonon, RB Pedro, CRF Grosso… – Drying …, 2012 – Taylor & Francis
Influence of climate, variety and production process on tocopherols, plastochromanol-8 and pigments in flaxseed oil by M Obranović, D Škevin, K Kraljić, M Pospišil… – Food technology and …, 2015 – hrcak.srce.hr
Flaxseed oil–whey protein isolate emulsions: effect of high pressure homogenization by KR Kuhn, RL Cunha – Journal of Food Engineering, 2012 – Elsevier
Microencapsulation of flaxseed oil by soya proteins–gum arabic complex coacervation by D Dong, Z Qi, Y Hua, Y Chen, X Kong… – International Journal of …, 2015 – Wiley Online Library