Flaxseed oil (also named as linseed oil, alpha linoleic acid, among other names) is extracted from flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum) which are small, brown, golden coloured seeds. They are rich sources of the omega-3 fatty acids, lignans, minerals, proteins and fibres.
Health Benefits of Flaxseed Oil
1. Reduces cancer cell growth
Flaxseed oil consists lignans which have high antioxidants and estrogen contents. These components lower the risk of colon and skin cancer and also prevents the growth of breast tumours. The oil is a cheap complementary therapy for a wide range of cancers.
2. Reduces inflammation
Flaxseed oil is a natural anti-inflammatory agent. It prevents different kinds of inflammation in the body. Effects are equivalent to those of olive oil. It helps in preventing intensive pains in joints and muscles and in conditions like asthma and heart attack.
3. Reduces heart problems
The amino acids in flaxseed oil lower blood pressure which could benefit heart health. The acids improve the elasticity of the arteries and keep plaque from being deposited in the arteries. It also maintains the heart natural rhythm.
4. Treats constipation and diarrhoea
Flaxseed oil acts as a laxative to promote regularity in the body as well as an anti-diarrhea agent. It increases the frequency of bowel movements and improves stool consistency. Thus, proving its effectiveness at treating both diarrhoea and constipation.
5. Improves hot flashes
Supplementation of flaxseed oil improves women menopause symptoms. Mix two tablespoons of the oil into cereal, juice or yoghurt for a week. The hot flashes should drop within one week. To achieve maximum benefit, continue for two weeks with the same dosage.
6. Improves hair and skin health
The fatty acids in flaxseed oil help to improve dry, flaky hair. It also reduces the appearance of rosacea, acne and eczema. The hair looks shinier, stronger and more resistant to damage. The skin becomes smoother and hydrated. Due to its lubricating effects, it can also help to reduce dry eye syndrome.
7.Prevents Crohn disease
Flaxseed has properties that are crucial for digestive health. Fiber found in it provides food for friendly bacteria in the colon that helps cleanse waste from the system. Magnesium from flax promotes digestive health by hydrating stool and relaxing the muscle in the gastrointestinal tract.
8. Helps in weight loss
Since flaxseed is packed with good fats and fiber, it makes one feel full for long hours. This means you will not be able to consume a lot in one sitting. Therefore, you wind up eating a lower calorie meal. This is an obvious, and effective way to lose weight.
9. High in Alpha-linolenic essential fatty acids
The fatty acids have a lot of benefits including help to reduce coronary heart disease and hypertension, improve platelet function, promote endothelial cell function and to protect arterial function. Consumption of flaxseed oil on a daily basis can save us several trips to the doctor.
10. Fight prostate, male infertility and impotence
The small gland located below the bladder in men, tend to enlarge with age. Men get symptoms such as urgency to urinate. This can be prevented by use of flaxseed oil which also helps to prevent the swelling and inflammation of the gland. Flax also plays a vital role in keeping the sperms healthy thus treating male infertility. Also improves blood flow to the penis which is a plus to those suffering from impotence.
How to use flaxseed oil
1. Consult your doctor
It is very crucial to consult your physician about how much and how often you should use flaxseed oil. Especially if you are under medication or have a chronic disease. The oil might interact with the medication like cholesterol-lowering statins, blood thinners and diabetic drugs and cause severe consequences.
2. Follow instructions
The flaxseed oil product comes with an instructions leaflet which guides on how to use the oil. Read it carefully not to abuse the oil because if taken in excess it can cause oily skin, breakouts and uneven oily stools.
3. Combine flaxseed oil with smoothies
Those who are not a great fun of taste, flaxseed is tasteless. Mix it up with either juice, water or tea. It might not mix up well since it is oil. Mixing it with drinks or food will get rid of its aftertaste.
4. Use an alternative form of flaxseed oil
Good news! Flaxseed oil is available in capsule form. Read the manufacturers instructions again. Preferably taken with a full glass of water. This way you save the thought of eating it raw and the aftertaste effect is relatively low.
5. Refrigerate the oil
Whether it is in liquid form or capsule form, keep it in the refrigerator in a sealed glass container. It can easily break down when exposed to light heat or air. This helps it to prolong its lifespan.
6. Do not heat
Heating flaxseed oil will make it loose its nutritional value. Add it to already cooked food. This enhances the flavour and adds nutrients benefits to the diet.
7. Cut down if symptoms persist
Most people experience some gas, diarrhoea or bloating at the beginning. If the symptoms do not fade away after two weeks, you should cut down the dosage for a while.
Side Effects of Flaxseed Oil
- Large amounts of doses can cause loose stools that leads to diarrhoea. It also causes allergic reactions with symptoms like rashes, hives, swelling, breathing problems and wheezing.
- Flaxseed oil contains phytoestrogens which are harmful to the pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as those with hormonal imbalance.
- Immature flaxseed pods are poisonous. Use it when in oil form. Once the seed is pressed into oil form, the cyanogenic glycosides found on pods become inactive.
- Flaxseed oil causes severe bleeding in patients with bleeding disorders. It is advisable to stop using it two weeks prior to scheduled surgery.
Finally, though not medically proven, flaxseed oil is praised as a good vegetarian-friendly alternative to fish oil. Moreover, the oil is extensively used in the manufacturing of products such as paints, wood finish, gliding, putty and flooring it is said to have the best shining effect on the outcome.
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