Linseed also known as flaxseed is the seed of herb flax which has its origin in Mediterranean region.Today, flaxseed or linseed (Linum usitatissimum L.) is available in the form of seeds, oils, powder, tablets, capsules, and flour. People use it as a dietary supplement to prevent constipation, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, cancer, and several other conditions.
Flaxseed oil is extracted from the seeds of the flax/linseed plant and is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for maintaining good health. In recent years, it has gained popularity as a superfood due to its many health benefits. This article explores the surprising health benefits of flaxseed oil and why it should be included in your diet.
An Overview of Global Flaxseed Oil Market
A significant amount of growth in the flaxseed oil market is projected to be observed in Asia Pacific region because of the customer alertness about the several health benefits of flax seed oil, like its anti-cancer and anti-obesity properties and its ability to aid the digestive system. With the growing demand in the coming years, it is anticipated that the advanced and developing countries will give a thrust to the growth of the flaxseed oil market.
What is Flaxseed Oil?
Flaxseed oil is a natural oil that is derived from the seeds of the flax plant. It is rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an essential omega-3 fatty acid that the body cannot produce on its own. Flaxseed oil is also a good source of lignans, which are plant compounds that have antioxidant properties.
Health Benefits of Flaxseed Oil
- 1. Promotes Heart Health
Flaxseed oil is known for its heart-healthy properties. The omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed oil can lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and decrease the risk of heart disease. Studies have shown that consuming flaxseed oil can improve cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, a condition in which the arteries become clogged with fatty deposits.The American Heart AssociationTrusted Source (AHA) recommend eating more fiber and omega-3s to boost heart health.
2. Supports Brain Function
The omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed oil are essential for brain function. They help to build and maintain healthy brain cells and improve cognitive function. Studies have shown that consuming flaxseed oil can reduce the risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.
3. Aids in Weight Loss
Flaxseed oil can help with weight loss by reducing appetite and increasing feelings of fullness. The lignans in flaxseed oil can also reduce the amount of fat that the body absorbs, which can lead to a decrease in body weight.
4. Improves Skin Health
Flaxseed oil is rich in antioxidants, which can help to protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals. The omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed oil can also improve skin hydration and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
5. Supports Digestive Health
Flaxseed oil can help to improve digestive health by reducing inflammation in the gut and promoting the growth of healthy gut bacteria. Studies have shown that consuming flaxseed oil can reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other digestive disorders.
How to Incorporate Flaxseed Oil into Your Diet
Flaxseed oil can be added to a variety of foods, including salads, smoothies, and baked goods. It is important to store flaxseed oil in a cool, dark place and to use it within a few weeks of opening the bottle to prevent it from becoming rancid.
While flaxseed oil is generally safe for most people, it can cause side effects in some individuals. It is important to talk to your doctor before adding flaxseed oil to your diet, especially if you are taking medication or have a medical condition.
How much flaxseed oil should I consume daily?
The recommended daily intake of flaxseed oil is 1-2 tablespoons per day. However, it is important to start with a small amount and gradually increase your intake to prevent digestive discomfort.
Can flaxseed oil be used for cooking?
Flaxseed oil should not be used for cooking as it has a low smoke point and can easily become rancid when exposed to heat. It is best used in its raw form, such as in salads, smoothies, or drizzled over cooked vegetables.
Is flaxseed oil a good source of protein?
Flaxseed oil is not a good source of protein as it contains very little protein. However, the lignans in flaxseed oil have been shown to have anti-cancer properties and may help to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.
Is flaxseed oil safe for everyone to consume?
Flaxseed oil is generally safe for most people to consume. However, if you are taking certain medications or have a medical condition, it is important to speak with your healthcare provider before adding it to your diet.
How should flaxseed oil be stored?
Flaxseed oil should be stored in a cool, dark place to prevent oxidation and rancidity.
Can flaxseed oil go bad?
Yes, flaxseed oil can go bad if it is not stored properly or if it has been exposed to high heat or chemicals.
Are there any side effects of consuming flaxseed oil?
In some cases, consuming large amounts of flaxseed oil can cause digestive discomfort, such as bloating or diarrhea. It is important to start with a small amount and gradually increase your intake to prevent these side effects.
Can flaxseed oil be used as a substitute for fish oil?
Yes, flaxseed oil is a vegetarian-friendly alternative to fish oil as it contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. However, it is important to note that the type of omega-3s found in flaxseed oil may not be as easily absorbed by the body as those found in fish oil.
Is flaxseed oil a good source of vitamin E?
Yes, flaxseed oil is a good source of vitamin E, which is an important antioxidant that helps to protect cells from damage.
Can flaxseed oil help with weight loss?
There is some evidence to suggest that consuming flaxseed oil may help with weight loss. Its high fiber content can help to promote feelings of fullness, while its anti-inflammatory properties may help to reduce insulin resistance and promote fat burning.
How long does flaxseed oil last?
Flaxseed oil has a relatively short shelf life and should be consumed within 4-6 weeks of opening. To extend its shelf life, it should be stored in the refrigerator and consumed as soon as possible.
Can flaxseed oil interact with medications?
Flaxseed oil may interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners, cholesterol-lowering medications, and diabetes medications. If you are taking any medications, it is important to speak with your healthcare provider before adding flaxseed oil to your diet.
What are some easy ways to incorporate flaxseed oil into my diet?
Some easy ways to incorporate flaxseed oil into your diet include adding it to smoothies, drizzling it over salads or cooked vegetables, or mixing it with yogurt or oatmeal. You can also use it as a substitute for other oils in recipes.
Can flaxseed oil be used topically?
Yes, flaxseed oil can be used topically to moisturize and nourish the skin. Its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants can help to reduce inflammation and promote healthy skin.
Does flaxseed oil have a high smoke point?
No, flaxseed oil has a low smoke point and should not be used for high-heat cooking methods such as frying. It is best used for drizzling or in recipes that require low to medium heat.
Is flaxseed oil gluten-free?
Yes, flaxseed oil is gluten-free and can be safely consumed by individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
How much flaxseed oil should I consume per day?
The recommended daily intake of flaxseed oil varies depending on the individual’s age, sex, and overall health. In general, a dosage of 1-2 tablespoons per day is recommended for adults.
Can flaxseed oil be used as a natural remedy for constipation?
Yes, the high fiber content of flaxseed oil can help to promote regular bowel movements and alleviate constipation. It is best consumed with plenty of water to help it move through the digestive tract.
In conclusion, flaxseed oil is a nutrient-dense oil that provides numerous health benefits. Its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, lignans, and antioxidants make it a potent anti-inflammatory agent that can help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Additionally, its high fiber content and potential for promoting weight loss make it a valuable addition to a healthy diet.
When incorporating flaxseed oil into your diet, it is important to remember to store it properly and consume it within a few weeks of opening to avoid spoilage. It should not be used for high-heat cooking methods, but can be easily added to smoothies, salads, and other recipes.
If you are interested in adding flaxseed oil to your diet, be sure to speak with your doctor, particularly if you are taking any medications. With its many health benefits and versatility in the kitchen, flaxseed oil is a valuable addition to any health-conscious individual’s diet.
Chen, J., Stavro, P. M., Thompson, L. U., & Li, T. (2002). Dietary flaxseed inhibits human breast cancer growth and metastasis and downregulates expression of insulin-like growth factor and epidermal growth factor receptor. Nutrition and cancer, 43(2), 187-192.
Goyal, A., Sharma, V., Upadhyay, N., Gill, S., & Sihag, M. (2014). Flax and flaxseed oil: an ancient medicine & modern functional food. Journal of food science and technology, 51(9), 1633-1653.
Ulbricht, C., Basch, E., Cheung, L., Goldberg, H., Hammerness, P., Isaac, R., … & Weissner, W. (2009). Flaxseed oil (Linum usitatissimum): a review by the natural standard research collaboration. Journal of dietary supplements, 6(2), 162-195.