Flaxseed Oil, Omega-3s and their Many Health Benefits
Flaxseed oil is a healthy fat due to its high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. These polyunsaturated fatty acids play an important role in many different body functions including immune, pulmonary, cardiovascular and endocrine systems.
Flaxseed oil has a certain type of omega-3 fatty acid called ALA which is alpha-linolenic acid. This is a plant-based source of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid that must come from food or a supplement as the body cannot make this kind of fat. When ALA is taken, the body then changes it to EPA and DHA which are other healthy fats which are found in fish oil. Since flaxseed oil is plant-based, it is great for vegetarians and vegans. The ALA in flaxseed oil has many health benefits from improving brain health to fighting cancer. Let’s take a closer look at omega-3s and what they can do for you.
- The omega-3’s in flaxseed oil can reduce the risk of depression by 17%. Flaxseed oil can also improve cognitive performance in young people and improve memory in adults who suffer from minor memory problems.
- Consuming omega-3s (from food or supplement) can lower your risk of breast and colorectal cancer.
- Omega-3s can improve your blood pressure.
- Omega-3s can reduce inflammation and fight against autoimmune diseases.
- Omega-3s can improve your eye health.
- Decrease menstrual cramps.
Now let’s look closer at Flaxseed oil and what it can do to improve your health!
- Flaxseed powder can fight chronic inflammation. It has shown to reduce inflammatory markers, specifically the C-reactive protein which tests for chronic inflammation in the body.
- Flaxseed oil has antitumor and cancer reducing effects.
- Flaxseed oil can lower cholesterol levels.
- Flaxseed oil is an effective treatment for constipation.
- Helps balance blood sugar levels. It can reduce fasting blood glucose by more than 19% in type 2 diabetes patients when taken every day for a month.
- Improves skin hydration and decreases scaling and skin roughness.
In order to enjoy the health benefits from flaxseed oil, 1-2 tablespoons a day or 1,000 mg capsule twice a day is recommended. If you want to get your omega-3s from natural flaxseeds, ensure that they are ripe as unripe seeds can be toxic. There are a couple contraindications for flaxseed oil to keep in mind. If you are taking a blood thinner or take blood pressure medication, you need to consult your physician as it has properties that could interfere with these medications. Also, flaxseed oil can cause GI problems so make sure you drink lots of water as they are very high in fiber.
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