The amazing properties of Flaxseed oil5 min read
Known to be the best and richest (50-60%) vegan or vegetarian source of Omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid), which tremendously benefit the heart and cardiac system, flaxseed oil is a blessing for people who shun one or more animal-based products. Also known as linseed oil, this oil is a rich source of protein, fibre, phenolic compounds (lignins) and minerals (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, etc.) as well, which makes it very filling, maintains healthy bowel movements and helps shed excess weight. This magical oil enhances blood health, nourishes skin and hair, lowers the risk of cancer and diabetes and heals digestive issues. Flaxseed oil, having a lightly sweet and nutty flavor, also strengthens the brain, helps alleviate mood swings and reduces inflammation. No doubt, new age health enthusiasts swear by this golden beauty and incorporate it as a daily intake item.
Flaxseed oil is prepared by grinding and pressing flaxseeds, in order to release their natural oils. In the body, the alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) from the oil breaks down into healthy unsaturated fatty acids, namely docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which are in turn converted to fat molecules. Essential body organs like the heart, brain, skin and eyes then absorb these fat molecules. Flaxseed oil is also used in baking, textile and animal husbandry industries. In this article, we will enumerate 10 benefits of this miracle oil:
1.Makes the heart stronger:
Research studies have shown that the consumption of food items rich in alpha-linolenic acid not only treats, but also prevents heart disease. The Recommended Daily Allowance for ALA omega-3 Fatty acids are at least 1,100 mg for women and 1,600 mg for men. High levels of EPA and DHA in the body, as stimulated by flaxseed oil intake, protects the heart. A randomized control trial (DB-RCT), conducted among 56 participants found that the daily intake of 3gms of ALA, elevated EPA levels in the blood.
Flaxseeds are well known in protecting the body from the ravages of colon, breast and prostate cancers. Phenolic compounds called Lignins present in flaxseeds and their oil, provide protection against hormone-sensitive types of cancers and are powerful antioxidants. Lignin function by blocking enzymes involved in hormone metabolism, thereby inhibiting the proliferation of the cancerous cells. Research has also shown the ALA component of flaxseed oil to induce apoptosis i.e. the programmed cell death of tumor cells.
3.Nourishes and glorifies the skin:
The high ALA composition of Flaxseed oil promotes regenerative functions of the skin cells and decreases skin cell inflammation. In fact, a reduced level of ALA is linked to dry and rough skin and an overall poor skin quality. Flaxseed also fights eczema by lowering saturated fatty acid levels, which helps reduce rash areas and clarifies irregular skin. In addition, as we age, the collagen production reduces, stimulating structural changes in the skin including cellulite formation. Flaxseed oil stimulates collagen production, combating the appearance of cellulite.
4.Helps regulate diabetes:
Studies have indicated towards the possible role of flaxseed oil in lowering the risk of diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity and aiding glucose control in individuals who are at the pre-diabetic stage. This oil was also found to reduce insulin levels in women suffering from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) in a study.
5.Manages Cholesterol Level:
The high content of ALA omega-3 fatty acids ensures that flaxseed oil decreases the levels of Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL), the unhealthy “bad-cholesterol” and stimulates the levels of High Density Lipoprotein (HDL), when consumed in conjunction with daily exercise and consumption of a healthy diet. In addition, increased levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the body may assist a group of cholesterol-lowering medications called Statins.
6.Aids the Digestive System:
The laxative properties of flaxseed oil have been found to help treat diarrhoea, by supporting the function of potassium-channels. It was also found to relieve Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in a pilot RCT conducted in 40 IBS patients. The purgative properties of flaxseed oil also helps increase the frequency of bowel movements, enhances the consistency of stools and also combats constipation.
7.Great for Hair Health:
The richness of vitamins, minerals and fatty acids in flaxseed oil greatly strengthens hair and improves hair quality. It helps fight scalp flakiness and eradicates dandruff. When applied regularly, flaxseed oil enhances lush hair growth and prevents hair fall. Flaxseed oil also hydrates the hair, making it lustrous, glorious and healthy. Flaxseed oil can be incorporated in your haircare regimen through a hot oil massage or by adding one-two teaspoons of the oil in your preferred hair conditioner.
8.Assists in weight loss:
The lubricating properties of this oil coats the colon and works as a natural purgative, thereby ensuring normal bowel movements. This ensures that your body purges out food and accumulated waste products more quickly and easily. This helps in the body’s detoxification and helps it shed the excess weight. Flaxseed oil also stimulates the production of a protein called Leptin in the body, which is produced by fatty tissues. Low leptin production in the body stimulates overeating, which overtime leads to the chances of becoming overweight or obese.
9.Promotes eye health:
The high content of ALA in flaxseed oil lubricates the outer layers of the eye and help combat “Dry Eye Syndrome”. This syndrome leads to a stinging and burning sensation in the eyes. To reduce the discomfort of dry eyes, an affected person must include flaxseed oil in their daily diet.
The omega-3 fatty acid content of flaxseed enables it to reduce inflammation in various parts of the body. Regular consumption of this oil decreases the inflammation in the inner oil of the intestines. In a RCT conducted with 100 patients with carpal tunnel syndrome, topical application of flaxseed oil was found to help improve their symptoms, reduce inflammation and pain after one month of regular application.
Research has shown that the omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed oil help decrease the stiffness and other symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.