Whats the deal with Flax oil?
Omega-3, we hear this word get tossed around over and over again by doctors, fitness instructors, dietitians, and all other forms of healthcare professionals. We’re told that the general population doesn’t get enough and that we should be mindful about getting more of it in through our dietary choices. My biggest issue with this is that I tend to be resistant about taking advice and implementing new strategies (no matter what the source may be) if I don’t know WHY I should be doing it. If you feel the same let’s take a journey together and search for truth.
Which brings upon my first question…
What is DHA? And What are its benefits?
(DHA) Docosahexaenoic acid is an important omega-3 fatty acid for your brain and eyes.
Benefits of DHA – It can help you:
- Fight off heart disease;
- Protect your mental health;
- Improve eye conditions like macular degeneration;
- Avoid other ones like glaucoma;
- Recover faster after working out;
- Lessen ADHD symptoms;
- Decrease inflammation;
- Lessen your risk of developing cancer;
- Prevent or slow the pace of Alzheimer’s, and more.
What are the best sources?
The reason most of us don’t consume enough of it is because it only comes from algae, fish, eggs, flax, and supplements.
Let’s begin with fish, this along with fish oil supplements, tend to be the number one source that we are told to consume. The problem with fish and fish oils though is that with recent pollution issues, and present day statistics on the mercury levels of sea-food, the benefits don’t seem to outweigh the risks.
Then we have eggs. There are people that have become huge advocates of eating eggs, however a simple input of eggs into any calorie, and nutrient calculator will show you that not only is the omega 3 content actually laughably low but it also has more omega-6 than omega-3, along with a high concentration of saturated fat. In my book this is reason enough to eliminate eggs from the running as a good source of omega-3.
On to the plant sources…
If we are eating animals to obtain certain nutrients, my next question is, where are the animals getting it from? Can we cut out the middleman and go directly to the source? Absolutely we can! Fish get a fair amount of their omega-3 fatty acids from Algae. The problem however still lies in the fact that Algae is found in our oceans and are not immune to the effects of pollution. Meaning that with high enough consumption will still run the risk of elevating our blood mercury to unwanted levels.
Which is why it’s important to use flax oil to up your consumption of omega-3.
There’s a reason flax is popular in Ayurvedic medicine; a single teaspoon of flax oil has approximately 2-2.5 grams of omega-3!!! Which is on the upper level of the average daily recommended intake. Making it a simple solution to your DHA/Omega-3 needs.
Benefits of flax oil (in addition to all the DHA benefits it offers) – It can help:
- Fight off diabetes and cancer (look up lignans if you want to learn more);
- Improve heart health;
- Regulate blood pressure; and hot flashes during menopause;
- Reduce cholesterol levels;
- Help with digestive problems;
- Increase your body’s ability to take in nutrients (and feel full for longer) thanks to its mucilaginous fiber;
- Help hydrate and smooth out your skin; and reduce all kinds of inflammation.
Now this isn’t a completely biased article and I wouldn’t want to be blamed for seeming as though I am. There are certain drawbacks to flax oil, such as its sensitivity to heat and light exposure. In order to obtain the full benefits and reduce risk of having harmful side effects we must make sure that we are getting flax oil that has been cold pressed, refrigerated, and stored in a dark, anti-light container.
Ways to use flax oil
- Mix into your green smoothies; Check out our favorite smoothie recipe here that includes flax oil
- Add it to your homemade salad dressings, dips, & sauces;
- Baste your veggies with it after roasting them;
- Add it to your soups after they’re done cooking; or
- Apply to your skin and hair for increased moisture and shine.
- Hot tip – don’t cook with it. You lose its nutritional benefits and gain some harmful side effects due to its low smoke point.
Keep it refrigerated!So there you have it! Those are the amazing benefits of Flax. Now it’s time for you to go out and begin the experimentation process. Are you going to try it on food? Or take it as a shot? If you do try it in food we always love to hear about it. Feel free to share your experience or recipes!
Author: Carla Castro and Tessa Mini trainers of Bare Health
Also let me know if you have any questions.
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1241452/ 3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3262608/
- https://www.pcrm.org/good-nutrition/nutrition-information/ health-concerns-with-eggs
- https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-flaxseed-a nd-flaxseed-oil/art-20366457