The Health Benefits of Flaxseed Oil
Dr. Kristie Leong
A recent study showed that flaxseed oil may increase bone density in diabetics and older women; but this isn't the only health benefit this healthful oil from the flax plant has to offer. Some studies show that the alpha-linolenic acid or ALA found in flaxseed oil reduces the risk of heart disease and some types of cancer - although this hasn't been conclusively proven in humans yet. It also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which make it a good choice for people with arthritis and other diseases that cause pain and inflammation.
Other Health Benefits of Flaxseed Oil
The ALA in flaxseed oil is converted in the body to the omega-3 fatty acids, although it's unclear how efficiently this process is carried out. One of the many benefits of flaxseed oil is that it provides vegetarians with omega-3 fatty acid precursors that doesn't come from fish. Despite its potential health benefits, many people are still unsure as to how to use this oil. Here are some simple ways to add flaxseed oil to your diet.
How to Use Flaxseed Oil: Does It Taste Good?
Flaxseed oil has a slightly nutty taste that many people enjoy. Some describe the taste as similar to melted butter - which most people enjoy. It's an inoffensive and even tasty addition to many foods.
How to Use Flaxseed Oil: How Much Do You Need?
A tablespoon per day is recommended for most adults. More than this shouldn't be used except under a doctor's care since it can alter the ability of the blood to clot at high doses. Talk to your doctor before starting flaxseed oil and don't take it if you're taking blood thinners or aspirin.
How to Use Flaxseed Oil: Suggestions and Ideas
* Use it as a dipping oil for bread or mix it half-and-half with olive oil to tone down the nutty taste. Add extra flavour with herbs and spices.
* Use it in place of olive oil to make salad dressings. Its nutty flavour adds a unique taste to salads of all types.
* Use it in place of butter on top of hot vegetables.
* Add flaxseed oil to soups and smoothies for more nutritional punch.
* Add it to cold cereal or yogurt in the morning.
* Stir it into your favourite pasta or spaghetti sauce.
How to Store Flaxseed Oil
Flaxseed oil goes rancid quickly, so refrigerate it after opening. It can be kept in the refrigerator for six weeks if tightly sealed. Avoid exposing it to light. When buying flaxseed oil, look for the cold-pressed kind that's available in the refrigerated section of most health food stores in a dark bottle. Enjoy the health benefits of flaxseed oil.
Health Disclaimer. Copyright ©2009. Dr. Kristie Leong is a family practice physician and medical writer. Published with permission.
Related: Also see flax hull lignans.