Flax oil or flax seed oil is obtained from the seed of the flax and is immensely popular on account of its health benefits. It contains Omega-3 fatty acids that are usually found in fish oil. The alpha linolenic acid present in the seed is found in a more concentrated form within the oil. The oil is an ideal alternative source of omega-3 fatty acids for people who prefer a vegetarian diet or are vegans. Research studies have also found that including a tablespoon of flax seed oil in the daily diet might help to eliminate nutrition linked chronic illnesses.
The oil is used extensively in baking or for adding it to already cooked products. However, cooking with the oil is not recommended as exposures to high temperatures tend to alter the chemical composition thus, negating much of its nutritive value.
History of Flax Seed Oil
The earliest instance of using both flax seeds and its oil can be traced back to the Stone Age period in Mesopotamia. The ancient Romans and Greeks used the oil regularly in their diet too while it was Charlemagne, the emperor who elevated the seed as well as the oil extracted from it to a noble position. It was during his reign that the consumption and cultivation of the seed became compulsory.
The flax oil was first introduced to USA by the early settlers whereas it became known across Canada only in the 17th century, the area which is the major producer of flax seed oil currently.
Flax Oil Benefits
The oil extracted from the extremely nutritious seeds is well-known for its health benefits. Some of the well known properties of the oil help to combat:-
- Inflammation- Helps in relieving inflammation and associated pain in osteoarthritis, rheumatism, asthma, migraine and osteoporosis.
- Bone Loss- Helps to keep the density of bones intact by preventing bone loss.
- Hypertension- helps to control the blood pressure levels of the body.
- Cholesterol- Helps in lowering cholesterol levels especially in men diagnosed with high blood pressure.
- Prostate Cancer- Regular intake of the oil has been known to inhibit prostate tumors.
- Women Health- Lowers the risk for developing breast cancer in menopausal women.
- Dry Eyes- Can prevent DES or dry eyes syndrome, a condition that affects about 10 million US citizens every year.
Flax Seed Oil: Popular Methods of Consumption
- Mixed with breakfast cereals
- Added to the baking ingredients for bread, cookies and muffins.
- Added to nutritional beverages and health drinks.
- Sprinkled on cooked dishes just before serving.
Popular Recipes to Maximize Flax Oil Benefits
- Flax oil Smoothie- Strawberries, soy milk and flax seed oil blended together and served cold is a healthy alternative to an ordinary smoothie.
- Salad Dressing- adding the oil to a tomato salad sprinkled with hives and basil enhances the number of vitamins.
- Cereal- porridge prepared from flax meal stirred together with warm water, flax seed oil, honey and sea salt is considered to be healthier than cornflakes or oatmeal.
Flax Oil: Trivia
Linseed oil is the same as flax oil.