A popular component of the Mediterranean cuisine is flaxseed. It is not only used to prepare the traditional Mediterranean cuisine, but it is also used to prepare medication, throughout the years. Nowadays it is used all over the world for its medicinal properties. The flaxseed oil is extracted from the seed. This oil shares some of the medicinal properties and benefits of flaxseed. The nutrient composition of flaxseed oil is different from that of sunflower and canola oil. The flaxseeds are rich in its contents of plant omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients, along with some dietary fiber.
Origin of the Flaxseed Oil:
The flaxseed oil extracted from the seeds of the flax plant, hadn’t been used, until recently, when its health benefits surfaced. Earlier the seeds to be used to be used as a whole, broken or grounded in baked items, breakfast cereals, salads and fruit juice. Its rich potassium and fiber content lured nutritionists to use it to frame healthy diets.
After the extraction of the oil from the flaxseeds, the remaining seed is often used as fodder for livestock like chickens.
Consumption of the Flaxseed Oil:
It should be kept in mind that often flaxseed oil and linseed are mistaken for each other. They are often used interchangeably. But there is one major difference- flax seed oil is for human consumption while the linseed oil is used for industrial purposes, usually it is sold in the hardware store to be used as varnish.
The health benefits of flaxseed oil can be attained in both liquid form and in the soft gel capsule form. The packaging and storage of flaxseed oil requires special attention as it can be easily damaged by prolonged exposure to light, heat and oxygen. It should be stored in a region of cool temperature, preferably in refrigerators.
Before the consumption of flaxseed oil, ensure its origin. Ensure that the seeds haven’t been extracted from a genetically engineered plant, for the foods from genetically engineered plants are not fit for human consumption.
You may also read about The Health Benefits of Olive Oil
Side-Effects of the Flaxseed Oil:
Everything has its own list of pros and cons. Similarly, flaxseed oil too has its own set of side effects, about which one must be aware of, before consumption. It is recommended to confer with a trained nutritionist before using flaxseed oil and a dietary supplement. Patients who suffer from bipolar disorder, prostate cancer or diabetes should confer with the doctor before consuming flaxseed oil or any other by-product of flaxseed. Flaxseed oil might trigger some negative reaction if consumed along with prescribed medications like blood thinners, painkillers, hormonal treatments, diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure. Be careful and intake the medicine at least a couple of hours before using any flaxseed product, or else it might hinder the normal absorption rate of the medicines.
It should be consumed in moderate doses; otherwise the high content of soluble fiber in the flaxseed might result in severe cramping, bloating and gas, even diarrhea or constipation. High dosage can also result on cholesterol. Raw or unripe flaxseeds can be poisonous, so check before consumption.
Women with high hormonal diseases and those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not consume flaxseed oil, neither should children.
The Health Benefits of the Flaxseed Oils:
Flaxseed oil extracted from the seeds of the flax plants is rich in its nutrient and fibre content, like omega-3 fatty, lignans and mucilage. These three nutrients play an important role in determining the health benefits of flaxseed oil. The numerous benefits of flaxseed oil are as follows:
• Reduces the growth of cancer- Research has depicted that the consumption of flaxseed oil along with the timely application of sunscreen reduces the chance of skin cancer. Researchers on Omaha deduced from experimentation that the consumption of flaxseed products reduced around 63% of the melanoma tumors in mice. Another study on the pre-surgery prostate cancer patients revealed that flaxseed played an important role in reducing the rate of creation of cancer cells. The high lignans content in flaxseed oil protects from breast, skin, prostate and colon cancers.
• Takes care of the heart by lowering the cholesterol level and hypertension– Untreated high levels of cholesterol can clog the arteries and thus induce heart attacks or strokes. Flaxseed has the potential to reduce the level of cholesterol; therefore consumption of the flaxseed oil can exponentially diminish the chances of a heart disease. It can also aid in preventing the elevation of high blood pressure by curbing some of the inflammatory reactions which might result in artery- hardening plaque and poor blood circulation. Thereby reducing the chances of a heart attack. Unlike the consumption of drugs, this is relatively inexpensive. Flaxseed oil helps to reduce the headaches incurred from hypertension.
• Aids in the growth of healthy hair and nails, and promotes healthy skin- The flaxseed oil uses its component of fatty acids to promote healthy and glowing skin. The benefit of flaxseed oil lies in its skin healing potential. It can cure itchy areas infected by eczema, rosacea and psoriasis. It also aids in healing severe cases of sunburns and acne. Low levels of fatty acids results in lack luster hair and brittle nails. However, the high content of omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed oil contributes to the promotion of healthy hair and nails, by preventing them from splitting and cracking. The lignin content in flaxseed oil also protects the skin from various side effects of ageing too.
• Stabilizes the ratio of estrogen and progesterone in women- Flaxseeds oil contains lignans which are hormone balancing agents and phytoestrogens which are basically plant estrogens. These two components play a crucial role in stabilizing the ratio of estrogen and progesterone in a woman’s body, which in turn is beneficial for the menstrual cycle, especially during the premenopausal and menopause stages, as well as controls heavy bleeding which can be associated to endometriosis. Flaxseeds benefits and improves the function of uterine, reduces menstrual cramps and solves fertility problems.
• Health benefits for males- the high content of fatty acids in men strive to reduce the inflammation and swelling of the prostate, which is the small gland situated beneath the bladder in males, which has a tendency to enlarge as the man ages. The enlargement of the prostate may curb the urgency to urinate and result in infection. The fatty acid content in flaxseeds oil also keeps the sperms healthy and treats male infertility and impotence.
• Helps in minimizing nerve damage- the flaxseed oil uses its content of fatty acids in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, a nervous system disorder and also protects from nerve damage from multiple sclerosis and diabetes, by facilitating the transmission of nerve impulses.
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