Flaxseed Oil

Flaxseed Oil
Welcome to The Best Natural Foods Topics of Interest Section. This page provides an overview of the topic of flaxseed oil. You can find more detailed information about flaxseed oil and other important dietary topics in our new book, The Best Natural Foods on the Market Today.

Most health professionals today recognize the health benefits associated with flax seeds and flaxseed oil.  During the last decade, those advocating a healthy, whole foods diet have been touting the many unique qualities found in flax seed oil.  It is the single greatest plant source of an essential fat called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a short-chain omega-3 fat in the same family as the long-chain omega-3 fats found in fish. Consuming omega-3’s in fish, flaxseed oil, and eggs (the prime benefit of omega 3 eggs), or as a supplement, reduces inflammatory markers in the body, thins the blood, improves insulin sensitivity, lowers blood pressure, and offers numerous other health benefits.

Flax seed contains one hundred times more lignans than any other food. Research is underway to determine whether lignans can reduce heart disease risk and osteoporosis, relieve menopausal hot flashes, and slow the development and progression of kidney disease. When consumed, lignans are converted by beneficial bacteria in the colon to compounds that circulate to the liver. Researchers believe that lignans are estrogen modulators, balancing estrogen activity by exerting both weak estrogenic and anti-estrogenic properties. Experimental studies have demonstrated that lignans found in flax seed exert anti-cancer effects.

Evidence suggests that elevated levels of inflammatory markers, such as cytokines and C-reactive protein (CRP), are linked to an increased risk for heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other chronic diseases. You can reduce these inflammatory markers in your body if you consume flax oil on a regular basis.  In one study, the equivalent of 1½ tablespoons of flax oil every day for four weeks reduced the inflammatory cytokines interleukin-1 beta and tumor necrosis factor-alpha by 30%. In another study, fifty Greek men with elevated cholesterol levels took one tablespoon of flax seed oil each day while another group of twenty-six men took one tablespoon of safflower oil. After three months, the men ingesting flax seed oil had a 38% lower CRP level than the men consuming safflower oil.

In addition to flax seed oil, consuming other healthy fats, like those found in almond butter and tahini, while reducing your intake of trans fat, can greatly affect your health in a positive way. While you’re at it, consider even small changes, such as upgrading to Organic Valley organic milk and free range chicken. But how do I add flax seed oil, you may ask? In my book, The Best Natural Foods on the Market Today A Yuppies Guide to Hippie Food, Vol. 1, I suggest:

“Use it straight from the refrigerator or at room temperature since it is so delicate that heating can break down the essential fats into unhealthy by-products. You may find that flax seed oil is an acquired taste. Try it straight from the spoon as a medicinal, create flax seed oil salad dressings, use it on baked potatoes, added when you cook quinoa in quinoa recipes, on toast, in healthy smoothie recipes, stirred into oatmeal, mixed into yogurt or added to popcorn with nutritional yeast, after popping. Remember to keep this oil refrigerated, and discard it after the expiration date or if the flavor changes.”