Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fat, you need them to survive. They are vital components of cell membranes, allowing nerve impulses (read: messages) to pass easily between cells. They're also the building blocks for hormones that control inflammation, blood clotting and relaxation and contraction of artery walls.
Your body can't make its own omega-3 fatty acid, so you have to get them from food or supplements. Fish oil supplements are commonly known for their omega-3, however some of them do carry a heavy and unbearable fishy odour and could be a big turn-off for people who don’t eat fish or vegetarian. Don’t worry; flaxseed oil is here to save your day!
Flaxseed oil, also known as linseed oil, is made from dried flaxseeds that have been ground and cold-pressed to release their natural oil content. It is defined as one of the richest plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids – alpha linolenic acid (ALA), which curbs inflammation, improve the elasticity of the arteries and regulating blood cholesterol level, thus supporting healthy heart and brain.
In fact, one tablespoon (15ml) flaxseed oil contains an impressive 7,200 mg of omega-3 fatty acids!
In addition, extra virgin, unrefined flaxseed oil is also rich in dietary lignans. These lignans are phytoestrogens with weak oestrogenic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Through natural food sources such as flaxseed, cashew nut, broccoli or apricots, lignans have been shown in various clinical and population studies to help in lowering risk of heart disease, menopausal symptoms, osteoporosis and even breast cancer.
Flaxseed oil creates a stronger skin barrier to keep your skin healthy, hydrated and less sensitive to irritation. A study with 13 women supplemented with flaxseed oil for 12 weeks had improved skin smoothness and hydration, while skin sensitivity to irritation and roughness had decreased.
Additionally, flaxseed oil has natural laxative properties. Consuming flaxseed oil daily helps in relieving constipation by improving the regularity and frequency of bowel movements and stool consistency. Sounds great for those having a hard time in poo-poo every day!
BEAR IN MIND that flaxseed oil should never be used in cooking due to its low smoking point and may release harmful substances when exposed to very high heat. In any case, you couldn’t get olive oil for your salad dressing or dipping sauce, go for flaxseed oil! You may also add a teaspoon of flaxseed oil you’re your favourite smoothies or shake before or after your workout routines.
This article is written by Suet Kei (Biogreen Nutritionist) for Green Image Organic Enterprise Sdn Bhd.