Flax seeds are known as super seeds because of its several health benefits including managing weight because of its protein and fiber properties. Learn more about flaxseed oil below.
Brief History of Flaxseed
Even Charles the Great acknowledge the usefulness of flaxseed. He ordered his subjects to include flax seeds in their diets. But before the seed has become popular because of its medical properties, it was first used as a primary tool in making textiles.
Flax plant (Linum usitatissimum) is the source of flax seeds, and the plant is likely to be first grown in Egypt, though all around the globe it is cultivated.
The flax plant fiber is stronger than cotton, thus, it is woven into linen. The northern part of America first use the plant’s fiber to create their clothing but afterward, in the mid-20th century, the United States choose cotton over the flax plant.
Some people referred flaxseed oil as linseed oil or flax oil.
Flax oil is a natural oil that comes from the flax seed. It is produced by crushing the seed as well as cold-pressing.
Similar to flax seed, flax oil is associated with many useful benefits. For instance, it is added in skin care products and effective skin care materials. But aside from that, the oil itself is a good buddy inside the kitchen.
Many are the health benefits of the flax oil, thus some of it are listed below:
Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids
Generally, fish are the food that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. However, flaxseed is the plant-based food that contains omega-3 fatty acids as well. Thus, flax oil contains the same nutrient. In fact, a tablespoon can meet your alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) daily needs.
The recommended ALA needs for men is 1,600 mg each day; meanwhile, 1,100 mg per day of ALA omega-3 fatty acids are needed for women. A spoonful of flax oil, which is approximately equal to 15 ml, contains 7,196 mg of omega-3 fatty acids. That is more than the recommended ALA needs!
What’s positive about omega-3 fatty acids is its associated health benefits such as heart health, anti-inflammatory, and protection against age-related brain diseases.
It is good for the heart
Flaxseed oil has been associated with a healthy heart, and this has been proven by several studies. One of which included 59 participants. Some of the participants have been given flaxseed oil, while some have been given safflower oil. Researchers compared the effects of the two kinds of oil.
In 12 weeks, those individuals who are supplemented with flax oil reduced the level of their blood pressures. It was also observed that their blood pressure is much lower than those who are supplemented with safflower oil.
It is true that low blood pressure is not always good, however, high blood pressure is dangerous for the heart. When the blood pressure is high, the heart works harder than normal.
Aside from lowering the blood pressure, flax oil has also a positive impact on the arteries. Elevated blood pressure plus aging can decrease the elasticity of an artery. However, flax oil has the ability to improve it. It is likely because of the omega-3 fatty acid contents of flax oil.
Additionally, flax oil has an anti-inflammatory property which also has a positive impact on the heart.
Constipation and diarrhea are solved
Your digestive tract will be happy for this ability included in the flax oil list. Both constipation and diarrhea can be solved, thanks to flaxseed oil.
When flax oil has been supplied to animal subjects of an animal study, researchers found that flax oil can both act as a laxative and antidiarrheal agent.
But researchers are not satisfied with this study, thus they experiment in humans. They gather 50 patients of hemodialysis. These participants are constipated. They provided them either with mineral oil, olive oil, or flax oil in four weeks. Significantly, flax oil shows to be as effective as the other oil used in the experiment, as the participants’ bowel movement improved as well as the consistency of their stool.
The only problem is the limitation of the studies made, as it was only been conducted in animals and people with certain conditions. Further research is needed to be done to show its effectiveness universally.
Flax oil is good for skin health
Your skin may also benefit because of the properties of flax oil.
In an animal study, mice with dermatitis have been supplemented with flax oil for three weeks. After the experiment has ended, the symptoms of atopic dermatitis among the mice significantly decrease. Symptoms such as itching and swelling reduced.
Another small study was conducted, supplementing 13 women with flax oil. After 12 weeks, they observed hydration and smoothness improvements in their skin. Additionally, their skin reduces roughness and irritation.
However, directly applying the oil to the skin have never been made, yet. Thus, there are no findings yet to prove the topical use of flaxseed oil. But anecdotal reports do exist about the improvements made after topically applying the oil. Still, further research is needed to support this claim.
Fight against cancer cell development
Some animal and test-tube studies report positive results of flaxseed oil against the growth of cancer cells.
According to an animal study, the formation of colon cancer cells among rats are blocked after they have been provided with flax oil.
In another animal study, lung cancer tumor among mice is prevented to spread after they are given 0.3 ml of flax oil in 40 days.
On the other hand, test-tube studies show a similar result when researchers observe that breast cancer cells reduced after being provided with flaxseed oil.
But though the results are promising, remember that the test is all based on animal and test-tube studies. More studies are still needed to produce, especially human studies, to support the evidence produces by these studies.
How to Use Flax Oil?
Flaxseed oil is very versatile. You can use it in a variety of ways. For instance, it can be a substitute for oil used in dips, salad dressings, and sauces. It can also be added in shakes or smoothies.
Some people benefit from it by applying it topically. They said that their skin becomes moister. Meanwhile, other people use flax oil as a hair mask.
What you can’t do with flax oil is use it for cooking purpose. Once it is exposed to high heat, it can produce a harmful substance.