Flax seed oil is extracted from the flax plant seeds. Flax is a native plant of the eastern Mediterranean region and Asia. Flax seed oil, also known as linseed oil, is a rich source of healthy fats. It is a popular ingredient present in almost all nutritional supplements.
The properties of flax seed oil are often likened to that of fish oil. Flax seed oil derives its beneficial features from alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is a form of omega-3 fatty acid.
Benefits of flax seed oil
Flax seed oil could lower the level of bad cholesterol in the bloodstream. Studies have shown that ALA rich diet could lower the risk of heart diseases. This omega-3 fatty acid reduces the stickiness of the blood platelets, which is a common cause of heart attack and strokes.
ALA present in flax seed oil could lower the risk of arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat. It prevents hardening of blood vessels. Studies have shown that flax seed oil along with other omega-3 fatty acid rich foods could lower the blood pressure level.
Flax seed oil is beneficial for people prone to dry eyes. It promotes tear secretion. Flax seed oil is especially recommended for people suffering from Sjogren syndrome. Sjogren syndrome is a rare autoimmune disease where the body’s immune cells attack the moisture producing glands such as the tear glands and salivary glands.
Flax seed oil is good for the skin. It could be used for treating dry skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis. Flax seed is suitable for treating dry scalp dandruff.
Omega-3 fats present in flax seed are good for the brain. The anti-inflammatory property of omega-3 fats could provide relief from arthritis pain. This vegetable oil could heal symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
Flax seed oil vs. fish oil
Vegetarians and people who hate the fishy burp usually prefer flax seed oil as a source of omega-3 fatty acid. Although both flax seed oil and fish oil are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, these healthy fats are present in flax seeds in the form of ALA, whereas they are present as DHA and EPA in fish oil.
The human body could not readily absorb ALA. To enable absorption of ALA, it should be converted into DHA and EPA. Some scientists think that the human body could not efficiently convert ALA into DHA and EPA. For speedy conversion of ALA into DHA and EPA, trans fats should be eliminated from the diet.