An essential fatty acid, the oil obtained from the Flaxseed plant is an excellent source of omega-3's. Flaxseed is derived from a plant source which makes it an ideal choice for vegetarians or people who don't tolerate seafood. Indeed it is an excellent food for everyone.
About Flaxseed oil
The Flaxseed plant has been used to make linen fibre since ancient times, and the oil has been used for healing for almost as long. Balms made from a slurry of the seeds were used sooth inflamed skin and for constipation. Also known as linseed, the oil from the seeds is rich in essential fatty acids and is now used to treat a wide range of ailments, such as lupus (skin rash) to heart disease.
What it does
The key healing components in flaxseed oil are its essential fatty acids. EFAs are a healthy type of fat which the body needs to process fat-soluble nutrients such as Vitamin E. Essential fatty acids are particularly valuable because the body needs them to function properly, but can't manufacture them and needs to obtain them from the diet. Essential fatty acids work throughout the body to protect cell membranes, keeping them efficient at admitting healthy substances while barring damaging ones.
Flaxseed contain the omega -3 type of EFA which is called alpha-linolenic acid or ALA, and is the most beneficial type of EFA. A recent paper explores the possibility of ALA increasing the tissue concentration of DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid), a special fatty acid stored in the brain – “brain food” with implications for improving visual acuity and enriching brain cell communication and development.
Flaxseed oil can be helpful in any condition which is related to inflammation be it in the joints or on the skin surface, or the surface of the gastrointestinal tract. conditions which are helped by flaxseed oil include:
- dry skin
- dry unmanageable hair
- soft nails
- patches of pale skin on cheeks
- attention deficit
- learning problems
- lowered immunity
- excessive thrist
The EFAs in flaxseed oil promote healthy hair, skin and nails and can help sooth eczema sunburn. In cases of acne, the EFAs encourage thinning of the oily sebum that clogs pores.
- reduces the risk of heart disease and numerous other ailments
- prevents certain cancers
- combat specific bacteria and fungi
- combat viruses that cause cold sores and shingles
- positively affect hormone-related problems
- lower cholesterol
- control high blood pressure
- anti-inflammatory so helpful with jointpain, gout, lupus and fibrocystic breasts
- menopausal symptoms, menstrual cramps, female infertility and endometriosis
- male prostate problems, male infertility and impotence
A five-year study done recently at Boston's Simmons College found that flaxseed oil may be useful in preventing a second heart attack. It may also help prevent elevated blood pressure by inhibiting inflammatory reactions that cause artery-hardening plaque and poor circulation.
Guidelines for Use
flaxseed oil is best absorbed when taken with food. It is easily mixed into juices and other drinks, and its nutty, buttery flavor goes well with cottage cheese and yogurt. It can be substituted for olive oil in a salad dressing.
- Don't cook with it, however; this will deplete the oil's nutrient content.
- Purchase flaxseed oil in an opaque plastic bottle to prevent light from spoiling it.
- Be sure to check the expiration date on the label, as the oil spoils quickly.
- Keep it refrigerated for freshness.
- Should the oil develop a powerful odour, don't use it.
- Unlike many other seeds producing oil, faxseed oil doesn't need to be “cold-pressed.” This type of processing offers no additional benefits, and these types processed oils are usually more expensive.
Flaxseed can be ground into a paste and used for various purposes. Ground flaxseeds can cause flatulence but this symptom usually disappears fairly soon. Be cardful to take ground flaxseeds with plenty of water to prevent it from swelling up and blocking your throat or digestive tract.
Although flaxseed is also known as linseed, and which are now avalable in tasty breads, don't be tempted to consume linseed oil from the hardware. This is designed for wood seasoning only and may contain harmful toxic additives!