Flaxseed Oil: Benefits And Harms

Flaxseed oil is obtained by cold pressing. The great ancient healer Hippocrates used it to treat stomach diseases, burns, and wounds. In ancient Egypt, various cosmetics were made from flaxseed oil, creams, face, and hair masks were made from them, and even wraps were made with them, just like modern beauties.

How to choose the right flaxseed oil

Flaxseed oil is very unstable, so it’s important to choose only high-quality product and store it properly.
When choosing, you need to be careful and read the label, it should contain 100% cold-pressed oil. Do not buy oil that has been stored in the light and in a transparent container. It should be bought in a dark glass bottle or in a transparent container, but packed in a box.

Cold-pressed flaxseed oil has a pronounced characteristic aroma, golden yellow color, and a slightly bitter taste.

Flaxseed oil has one drawback: its fatty acids oxidize quickly, so keep it away from air and light.

How to store flaxseed oil properly

Flaxseed oil can be stored for 1-3 months from the date of production. Therefore, it is better to buy the product in a small bottle.

Flaxseed oil should only be kept in the cold in a dark glass bottle with a tightly closed lid.

Flaxseed oil in cooking

Flaxseed oil is recommended to be added to various salads and vinaigrettes, mixed with kefir, yogurt, and honey, eaten with boiled potatoes and sauerkraut, and seasoned with various bowls of cereal. Flaxseed oil can also be added to cottage cheese and sauces. It is often added to baked goods for a special flavor and a yellowish-orange hue.

It should be noted that it is worth consuming edible oil cold and not subjecting it to heat treatment, so it will not lose its medicinal properties and will retain all the vitamins and nutrients in its composition.

To prevent various diseases, it is recommended to take 1-2 tablespoons of oil on an empty stomach for 2-3 months.

Flaxseed oil can be used in its pure form or mixed with other oils.

Nutritional value of flaxseed oil

The caloric content of 100 grams of flaxseed oil is 884 kcal.

Almost all vegetable oils have a unique composition, but flaxseed oil is still special.

This oil ranks first among vegetable oils in terms of its biological value, and its content of polyunsaturated fatty acids is many times higher than that of our usual diet. It is enough to consume 1-2 tablespoons of flaxseed oil per day to meet the body’s daily need for them.

Flaxseed oil is unique because it contains polyunsaturated fatty acids omega-3 (60%), omega-6 (20%) and omega-9 (10%), and some other unsaturated fatty acids (10%). While omega-6 and omega-9 are also found in other oils (for example, olive, rapeseed, sunflower), only flaxseed oil can boast such a high content of omega-3! Only fish oil contains these polyunsaturated fatty acids in such a quantity. By the way, that’s why the specific smell of flaxseed oil is somewhat reminiscent of fish oil. This flavor is an indicator of its naturalness and purity.

In addition to fatty acids, flaxseed oil contains a large number of minerals (potassium, magnesium, zinc, copper), vitamins A, E, B1, B2, B6, and C, organic acids, and enzymes.

Effect of flaxseed oil on the body

This oil is considered very useful for people suffering from atherosclerosis.

Its regular use reduces blood cholesterol levels by lowering the level of triglycerides and very low-density lipoproteins, which are involved in the formation of cholesterol plaques. The level of high-density lipoprotein, the so-called good cholesterol, increases. In addition, the likelihood of blood clots in blood vessels is reduced, so the use of flaxseed oil is very useful for the prevention of heart attacks and strokes, including recurrent ones.

Substances contained in flaxseed oil protect nerve cells and improve communication between nerve endings. It has been proven that a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids increases the risk of schizophrenia, depression and attention deficit disorder, and age-related brain disorders. People whose diets consistently contain flaxseed oil report improved memory, attention, and brain activity.

The antitumor effect of flaxseed oil has also been proven, and it is recommended to be used both in the presence of cancer and for its prevention. It helps to normalize hormonal levels in women, which, if disturbed, increases the risk of breast cancer.
The oil is also useful for men’s health, as it helps prevent the development of prostate tumors.

In the case of diabetes mellitus, flaxseed oil can help reduce blood glucose levels and prevent the development of diabetic polyneuropathy. It is also recommended for chronic skin diseases, especially eczema and psoriasis.

Many nutritionists agree that flaxseed oil helps to lose weight. This is due to the improvement of intestinal motility, cleansing the body of toxins, and accelerating fat metabolism. You can use this product as a mild laxative. When taking flaxseed oil, the condition of skin and hair improves significantly.

Flaxseed oil is also useful for the health of any woman.

It should be included in the diet of pregnant women, as its components have a good effect on the development of the child’s brain, and facilitate pregnancy and childbirth. Daily use of this product normalizes hormonal levels, mitigates premenstrual syndrome, and improves well-being during menopause. As an external remedy, the oil brings relief and promotes recovery in residual foci of psoriasis (scaly lichen), skin cracks, and dry rashes. For corn and warts, this product is applied to the affected skin twice a day.

Use of flaxseed oil in cosmetology

In cosmetology, flaxseed oil is widely used in a wide variety of masks for skin and hair due to its high content of vitamins, and rejuvenating, softening, and bactericidal properties.

Flaxseed oil is considered to be an excellent product for hair beauty. So, you can massage your scalp with this oil for 10 minutes before washing dry or damaged hair, and then wipe your hair.

Flaxseed oil is also recommended for seborrhea. It is heated and then rubbed into the roots 2-3 times every 7 days. The course of treatment is ten rubbings in two to three weeks (a doctor’s consultation is required before use).

Flaxseed oil is also suitable for softening the dry, rough skin of the hands. Just put a few drops of oil on your hands, then rub your fingers and hands from the bottom up for 20-30 minutes. Flaxseed oil softens the skin as well as a cream.

Harmful effects of flaxseed oil

The harm of flaxseed oil is a rather conditional concept. Even with excessive consumption, it will not have any negative effect on the body, since its excess will be excreted unchanged. You just shouldn’t overuse such a valuable product by taking it in unlimited quantities: you will get neither harm nor the expected benefit.

Flaxseed oil can cause harm if it is spoiled (it acquires a rancid odor characteristic of spoiled oils). Also, do not use this product for cooking by heat treatment. When heated, the oil loses its beneficial properties, oxidizes, and becomes harmful to the body.

People suffering from the gallbladder and pancreatic diseases should be careful with this product. It can cause an exacerbation of the disease. Also, you should not take flaxseed oil during treatment with antiviral drugs and when taking antidepressants. In case of diarrhea, you should also refrain from using the oil as a dietary supplement.

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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