Cultivated on earth for more than 6,000 years, Flaxseeds have more nutritional value than you are probably aware of. It's one of the most effective additions to a heart healthy diet. Many people are turning to it as a replacement for fish oil. Recent research studies show even more evidence of their widespread nutritional and health benefits. An excellent source of fiber, low in carbs, and one of the strongest sources of short chain Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids, Flaxseeds are also high in anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants.
A ratio of nutrient rich 3,6 and 9 Omega fatty acids optimizes the body’s potential to receive and cultivate all of its benefits. In addition to Omega 3 and 9, Omega 6 is a highly important component because the body needs it but does not produce it internally. People are increasingly turning to Flaxseed Oil because it provides excellent digestion, heart, hair skin and nail support.
Hair, Nail and Skin Benefits
Among the many anti-inflammatory benefits of flaxseed oil is the promotion of a healthy environment in your scalp, promoting hair growth! Flaxseed also contributes to making hair more elastic, resilient and less likely to break. As we age, our hair thins and often loses its rich texture, so this extra boost is very desirable. Who does not wish their hair was a little shinier and thicker as we age? There are vitamins exclusively promoted to increase hair growth, however, with flaxseed oil, you already receive that benefit. Flaxseed oil preserves nutrients such as vitamin E, fiber and, as mentioned, Omega 3 fatty acids. The Omega 3 content promotes nail growth, prevents cracking and dryness, and potentially contributes to strong nail beds. Shinier hair, thicker nails and glowing skin are just some of the nutritional benefits of Flaxseed oil.
Nutritional and Caloric Benefits
Due to their high fiber content, the digestive tract is less likely to break Flaxseeds down, reducing unwanted calorie absorption, while still maintaining important nutrient absorption. Flaxseeds may therefore help with fat loss and reduce sugar cravings. Packed with antioxidants, specifically lignans (fiber related polyphenols), Flaxseed Oil ostensibly increases gut health (roughly 70% of our immune system is in our gut). Flaxseed oil is actually the most dense source of Lingan in the world, with very promising potential for being a nutritional powerhouse.
Additionally, its important to note that lignan levels in the body can become imbalanced due to unhealthy lifestyle habits that all too many people suffer from in excess (smoking, drinking alcohol, taking antibiotics, obesity). The good news is Flaxseed oil can help rebalance those levels. As if that were not enough reason to integrate flax into your diet, lignans also have antiviral and antibacterial benefits, potentially helping reduce cold and flu severity. With the recent widespread popularity of taking probiotics (healthy live bacteria) for increasing gut health (again, 70% of our immune system is located in the gut), these polyphenols in Flaxseed Oil have been proven in some studies to help eliminate yeast and candida, doing the same job as expensive probiotics. This is a huge benefit especially for women who often suffer from an imbalance of yeast and ‘good bacteria,’ as it increases the body’s ability to re-balance its system, lowering the risk of infection. Flaxseed oil can also decrease constipation and bloat for both men and women.
Coronary Heart Disease Reduction
One of the essential Omega-3 Fatty Acids (often referred to as ‘good fats’) we can derive from Flaxseed Oil specifically is ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), an unsaturated fatty acid, which works differently from fatty acids obtained from animal foods, potentially having heart healthy effects, reducing the risk of heart disease, augmenting platelet function, reducing inflammation, and protecting the function of arteries in the heart. In one study, Flaxseeds were shown to produce less activation of white blood cells, reducing arterial plaque causing compounds and formation.
Flaxseed Oil vs Fish Oil (What’s the Omega Difference?)
Its worthwhile to note that flaxseed oil may be a very desirable alternative to fish oil for several reasons. Firstly, Flaxseed oil has almost TWO times the level of Omega 3 fatty acids as fish oils. Most of us have heard of fish oil, often touted as the best source of Omega 3 fatty acid, however, flaxseed oil is plant based rather than animal derived. It is therefore potentially much lower in mercury content, which has been correlated with increasingly high cancer rates and other diseases. Purely from a ‘taste’ perspective, fish oil does tend to have a less appealing aftertaste -- the infamous fish oil “burp” while Flaxseed oil of course has no ‘fishy’ aftertaste.
Additionally, Flaxseed oil converts ALA into DHA and EPA. These fancy acronyms are simply different forms of smaller chain fatty acids. Notably, the body alone is not very efficient in converting these acids on its own. As we age, the enzymes needed to convert these fatty acids into nutritional value can lessen and can become blocked by alcohol, smoking and stress. Flaxseed Oil helps re-establish a healthy balance in our bodies that we cannot restore alone.
There is strong evidence that Flaxseed oil consumption can reduce cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels (bad cholesterol). Most Americans don’t get enough Omega 3 in their diet. Omega 3 has been directly correlated to decreased risk for heart disease. Heart health is directly correlated to having a healthy cholesterol ratio. It is important to keep high density lipoprotein, (‘good cholesterol’) high in your body, while keeping low density lipoprotein (‘bad cholesterol) at low levels. One of the most effective ways to protect yourself and prevent from heart disease is to keep your diet rich in Omega 3s. In capsule form, you don’t have to worry about eating all the right foods to maintain a healthy cholesterol profile. Flaxseeds are efficient and highly effective.
Increasingly, we are identifying allergies to gluten and many more people are embracing gluten free diets due to digestion difficulties and more specific, customized nutritional needs. One of the primary benefits of Flaxseed Oil is that it is more easily metabolized, and can help promote an anti-inflammatory diet. Flaxseed oil is one way to replace grains in recipes. For those with celiac disease, flax based baking methods can be a wonderful replacement for gluten.
Given that flax is rich with healthy fats and fiber, it may help you feel satisfied for a longer period of time. The ALA fats discussed earlier may also increase hormonal balance, reduce inflammation and contribute to weight loss. An inflamed body often leads to constipation and bloating. Introducing flaxseed into your diet can absolutely reduce these factors and lead to weight loss.
May Help Prevent Cancer
Many studies have shown than Lignan can reduce the size of cancerous tumors in mice. It has also been positively correlated with both prostate and breast cancer in humans. Flaxseeds are the richest plant source on earth known to be associated with preventing and fighting cancer. In one study, researchers found flaxseed to shrink and reduce Melanoma tumors by 63% in mice. Additionally, it may be able to reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancer. Given that Flaxseeds have such an abundant amount of lignans, they are able to bind to estrogen receptors and likely interfere with negative cancer promoting effects of estrogen on breast and prostate tissue.
In summary, Flaxseed Oil, packed with 3-6-9 Omega acids, should be on everyone’s radar as one of of the most powerful, affordable and efficient methods to promote heart, immune, digestion, hair, skin and nail support. Take a look at our Flaxseed offerings: