The need for nutritional supplements that are natural and organic spurred the market’s interest on flaxseed oil products as dietary add-ons that are free from synthetic chemicals, additives or preservatives.
Understanding the Product – What is Flaxseed Oil?
Flaxseed oil, also shortened as flax oil, is a yellowish substance derived from the dried ripe seeds of the flax plant (the same plant used for the production of fiber cloth). Considered as a plant-based extract, oil from flaxseed is branded as “food grade” and is safe for human ingestion. This is why among the many derivative products of the flax plant, food supplements with flaxseed oil are among the most popular because of their dietary values.
Often taken similarly with Linseed Oil which another type of oil that can be obtained from the dried seeds of the same plant, it should be noted that flaxseed oil is different. The variation lies on the way these two types of oil are extracted. On one hand, linseed oil is extracted by using heat and adding chemicals to increase the amount of oil squeezed from the seeds. This process called solvent extraction makes the oil inedible and not fit for human consumption.
Flaxseed oil on the other hand is raw and cold-pressed. To obtain the oil, the dried seeds are pressed as much as possible without introducing heat or using a low heat procedure. It should be noted that the use of high temperature in the extraction of oil increases the amount of liquid produced; however it changes the oil’s composition and likewise reduces the nutritional value of the substance. Seeds that undergo cold-pressing yields unrefined oil with the rich dietary content retained in it. This explains why cold-pressed oil tends to be more expensive and better in quality than oils produced using the application of heat.
Flaxseed Oil Uses: Flaxseed Oil as a Nutritional Supplement
Because of the popularity of flaxseed oil for its dietary value, several product formats are made available in the market. This product can be taken regularly as is – dosage in its liquid format; softgel capsules and pills are likewise another option for interested consumers.
As part of the diet, recommended dosage of flaxseed oil is approximately 1000mg-1250mg or one tablespoon taken once or twice daily. This plant-based supplement nourished the body by providing the following nutritional content:
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) – an essential fatty acid that helps prevent the development of heart diseases and arthritis. Flaxseed oil is rich in ALA which is then converted by the body to Omega 3 fatty acid, an important fat necessary for the body’s physiological functioning. Omega 3 is popularly found in fish meat and fish oil.
- Omega 6 – together with Omega 3, this essential fatty acid should be present in the diet on a ratio of one to two (one part Omega 6 and two parts Omega 3) for the heart and body to function well.
- Fiber – the flax plant is a good source of fiber; taking in flaxseed oil regularly increases the body’s source of fiber which aids in the body’s good digestion.
- Lignans – this plant-based oil is the best source of lignans which are natural antioxidants for the body. Lignans are said to have anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-cancer properties which provides a healthy does of protection for the body.
Moreover, every dose of flaxseed oil delivers a good amount of vitamins and minerals. The five essential vitamins found in this health supplement are the following:
- Vitamin B Complex – the B Complex vitamins found in flaxseed oil namely, Vitamins B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin) and B6 in general strengthen the body’s immune system, improves physiological and psychological functioning and prevents the development of chronic diseases
- Vitamin K – flaxseed oil helps the body in healing wounds and promotes normal blood clotting as this oil contains a healthy amount of Vitamin K.
- Vitamin E – known as a natural antioxidant, Vitamin E in flaxseed oil improves the appearance of the skin and makes it healthier and younger-looking.
- Vitamins A and E – although found in low levels, Vitamins A and B in flaxseed oil boosts the body’s immune system and helps in the development of healthy bones and muscles.
The Answer to Health Problems: What is Flaxseed Oil Good For?
Having a healthy heart and well-functioning circulatory and immune systems is the goal of consumers who take flaxseed oil as a dietary supplement. Because of the numerous nutritional benefits that can be derived from such product, flaxseed oil is considered a complement to other supplements and health maintenance products. Because of the presence of essential fatty acids, flaxseed oil aids the body in overcoming stroke, high blood pressure, lowering cholesterol and overall reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Prevention of arthritis and cancer is also one benefit that can de derived from the regular and appropriate intake of organic flaxseed oil products.
Flaxseed Oil being a plant based unrefined oil tends to be costly compared to other types of food supplements in the same oil format. However, given the rich nutritional content of the product and the health improvements induced by its consumption, the products price is easily justified by the value that consumers get from it – a healthy, strong and well-functioning body.