7 Amazing Flaxseed Oil Benefits

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

The health benefits of flaxseed oil include its ability to improve heart health, reduce inflammation and gout, and premature aging. It also helps boost the immune system and regulate digestion. It is also known for its anti-cancer potential. Flaxseed oil helps regulate hormones in post-menopausal women, lower blood pressure, prevent various gastrointestinal diseases, and improve eye health.

What is Flaxseed Oil?

Flaxseed oil, also known as linseed oil, is a concentrated vegetable oil obtained from flax and has been known to humans for a surprisingly long time. Flax, which is scientifically known as Linum usitatissimum, has many uses and has been a part of various cultures. Although it is believed to have been originated from the Mediterranean region but Canada, Russia, France, and Argentina are its largest producers. It is a very versatile plant and grows in diverse climates while having a lot of uses. For thousands of years, it was used not only as a key ingredient in linen but also as a very beneficial and easily accessible food source. Flaxseed oil, rich in omega 3 fatty acids, is one of the most common alternatives for traditional vegetable oil. This is partly because it has the most impressive list of health benefits attributed to it. It can be used in the exact same way as any other vegetable-based oil, the flavor of it being pleasant and unobtrusive. Moreover, it cooks evenly, keeps the body healthy, and is relatively simple to extract. [1] [2]

A bowl of flaxseed oil and a wooden spoon filled with flaxseeds on a grey background

Flaxseed oil and fish oil may be effective treatments for dry eye and reduce the need for eye drops. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Nutrition Facts

Oil, flaxseed, cold pressed
Serving Size :
Water [g]0.12
Energy 884
Energy [kJ]3700
Protein [g]0.11
Total lipid (fat) [g]99.98
Calcium, Ca [mg]1
Phosphorus, P [mg]1
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.07
Choline, total [mg]0.2
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]0.47
Tocopherol, beta [mg]0.55
Tocopherol, gamma [mg]28.76
Tocopherol, delta [mg]1.65
Tocotrienol, alpha [mg]0.87
Tocotrienol, gamma [mg]0.89
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]9.3
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]8.98
10:0 [g]0.01
12:0 [g]0.02
14:0 [g]0.08
15:0 [g]0.03
16:0 [g]5.11
17:0 [g]0.05
18:0 [g]3.37
20:0 [g]0.13
22:0 [g]0.11
24:0 [g]0.08
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]18.44
14:1 [g]0.01
16:1 [g]0.06
16:1 c [g]0.06
18:1 [g]18.32
18:1 c [g]18.29
22:1 [g]0.03
22:1 c [g]0.02
24:1 c [g]0.02
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]67.85
18:2 [g]14.33
18:2 n-6 c,c [g]14.25
18:2 CLAs [g]0.03
18:3 [g]53.37
18:3 n-3 c,c,c (ALA) [g]53.37
20:2 n-6 c,c [g]0.03
20:3 [g]0.1
20:3 n-3 [g]0.08
20:3 n-6 [g]0.02
22:4 [g]0.01
Fatty acids, total trans [g]0.09
Fatty acids, total trans-monoenoic [g]0.04
18:1 t [g]0.03
22:1 t [g]0.01
18:2 t not further defined [g]0.05
Fatty acids, total trans-polyenoic [g]0.05
Stigmasterol [mg]30
Campesterol [mg]98
Beta-sitosterol [mg]206
Sources include : USDA [3]

Health Benefits of Flaxseed Oil

While linen is the major area where you would encounter flax, the nutritional and dietary market around the globe is starting to show a marked increase in interest. Let’s take a look at some of these intriguing health benefits of flaxseed oil!

Controls Cholesterol Levels

Out of all the vegetable oils on the market, flaxseed oil has the highest content of omega-3s, which is very important. While both forms of cholesterol are necessary for the body, omega-3 is considered as the “good” form, called HDL cholesterol. Omega-3 fatty acid helps scrape off the bad form of cholesterol, called LDL cholesterol and helps balance the cholesterol in your body. This means that you won’t have plaque buildup on the walls of your arteries and blood vessels, thereby helping in reducing blood pressure, lowering your chances of developing atherosclerosis, and effectively preventing heart attacks and strokes. In other words, protect your heart with flaxseed oil! Flaxseed oil contains fiber, which is also important for maintaining cholesterol levels in the body. [4]

Anti-cancer Potential

Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil have been treasured for their omega-3 fatty acid and lignan content. These compounds are also known to help in reducing your risk of colon cancer and breast cancer. According to Lilian Thompson’s report, (a researcher at the Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada), published in the Carcinogenesis Journal, lignans found in flaxseeds have a colon cancer protective effect. Research by Cynthia Mannion, The University of Calgary, Canada also suggests that flaxseed oil is an important part of an anticancer diet. [5] [6] [7] [8]

Improves Digestive Health

The high fiber content of flaxseed means that the digestive system gets regulated. Fiber helps bulk up the stool and move it through the digestive tract, thereby preventing constipation, as well as diarrhea, since it absorbs watery stool.

Prevents Dry Eyes

The hormones in flaxseed improve the quantity and quality fluid in your eyes, the lack of which can be very annoying. Dry eyes can be prevented with the consistent use of flaxseed oil in the diet. It can also prevent more serious forms of this condition, such as Sjogren’s syndrome. [9]

Reduces Inflammation

The anti-inflammatory capacity of flaxseed oil means that it can prevent various forms of inflammation in the body, including natural aches and pains in the joints and muscles, as well as more serious conditions like arthritis and even gout! Flaxseed oil is a natural anti-inflammatory agent, so make sure to include it in your diet if you suffer from inflammatory conditions. [10]

Prevents Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is a health condition that afflicts people all around the world. Research on flaxseed oil has shown a reduction in the inflammation of the colon and intestinal tract with the consumption of this oil. This, in turn, helps prevent Crohn’s disease. [11]

Maintains Hormonal Balance

After women go through menopause, their body changes in dramatic ways, particularly in terms of the balance of hormones, such as estrogen. The lignans in flaxseed oil, namely, secoisolariciresinol, matairesinol, and pinoresinol, have a dramatic effect on hormonal balance, thereby helping many post-menopausal women function better. Word of Caution: Although most specialists regard flaxseed as a healthy oil, there is still a great deal of research being done. It has shown to increase the flow of blood because of being a vasodilator. This includes faster healing after surgery as well. Furthermore, it is unclear as to whether women should consume flaxseed oil during pregnancy or breastfeeding as the effects of this have not yet been adequately researched. [12]

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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