The health benefits of flaxseed oil include its ability to protect the body from cancer, prevent premature aging, boost the immune system, improve heart health by decreasing cholesterol, regulate digestion, reduce inflammation and gout, regulate hormones in post-menopausal women, lowers blood pressure, prevents various gastrointestinal diseases, and also positively affects eye health.
Flaxseed oil, which is also known as linseed oil in much of the world, 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 around the world for thousands of years. It is cultivated around the world, although originally, it most likely came from the Mediterranean region. Now, the world’s largest producers of flaxseed oil, which is the concentrated vegetable oil that is commonly obtained from flax, are Canada, Russia, France, and Argentina. Obviously, it is a very versatile plant, since it grows in such diverse climates, but it is also extremely useful. 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.
Now, flaxseed oil is one of the most common alternatives for traditional vegetable oil, 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, but the flavor is particularly pleasant and unobtrusive, it cooks evenly, keeps the body healthy, and is relatively simple to extract.
While linen used to be the major area where you would encounter flax, the nutritional and dietary market around the globe is starting to see a marked increase in interest. Let’s take a look at some of these intriguing health benefits of flaxseed oil!
Health Benefits of Flaxseed Oil
Cholesterol Levels: Out of all the vegetable oils on the market, flaxseed oil actually has the highest content of omega-3s, which is very important. While both forms of cholesterol are necessary in the body, omega-3 is considered the “good” form. Omega-3 fatty acid helps to scrape off the bad form of cholesterol (LDL) and helps to increase the healthy balance of cholesterol in your body. This means that you don’t have as much plaque buildup on the walls of your arteries and blood vessels, thereby 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!
Cancer Prevention: One of the other important elements of flaxseed oil is its high antioxidant content. Flaxseed oil is rich in plant sterols, also known as phytosterols. These act as very powerful antioxidants, which means that they can help prevent the damage that free radicals do to our healthy cells in various parts of the body, including turning them into cancerous cells. Furthermore, three of the lignans found in flaxseed oil have a direct impact on the hormonal balance in our body. That means that hormone-related cancers are far less likely to occur, since our bodies endocrine system is running smoothly.
Digestive Health: The high fiber content of flaxseed means that the digestive system is regulated. Fiber helps to bulk up the stool and move it through the digestive tract, thereby preventing constipation, as well as diarrhea, since it absorbs watery stool. Furthermore, the lignans are able to help reduce your chances of colon cancer! Keeping enough fiber in your diet is important for cholesterol benefits as well. There isn’t much fiber in oil, but the seeds themselves are full of it!
Eye Health: Some of the hormones in flaxseed influence the amount of fluid in your eyes, which can be a very annoying condition. Dry eyes can be prevented with consistent use of flaxseed oil in the diet. It can also prevent more serious forms of this condition, such as Sjogren’s syndrome.
Inflammation: The anti-inflammatory capacity of flaxseed oil means that it can prevent various forms of inflammation in the body, including the 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-inflammation agent, so make sure to include it in the diet if you suffer from these types of conditions.
Crohn’s Disease: Although we have already covered some of the gastrointestinal benefits of flaxseed oil, Crohn’s disease is a health condition that afflicts people all around the world. Flaxseed oil research has shown a positive relationship between the inflammation of the colon and intestinal tract with consumption of this oil.
Post-Menopausal Women: After women go through menopause, their bodies change in dramatic ways, particularly in the balance of their hormones, such as estrogen. The lignans in flaxseed oil, secoisolariciresinol, matairecinol, and pinoresinol, have a dramatic effect on the hormonal balance, thereby helping many post-menopausal women function better and struggle less with the fluctuations of estrogen in their bodies.
A Final Word of Caution: Although most specialists regard flaxseed as a generally healthy oil, there is still a great deal of research being done. It is shown to increase bleeding because it is a vasodilator, including wound healing speed after surgery. Furthermore, it is unclear as to whether women should consume flaxseed oil during pregnancy or breast-feeding, since the hormonal contributions of flaxseed oil can be dramatic and the effects have not been adequately researched.