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Flaxseed Oil/ Linseed Oil

(Linum usitatissimum)

flax 

Flax seed has been used by various civilizations around the world for thousands of years. In modern times, we are rediscovering its nutritional benefits. The oil of the seed contains 50-60% alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

Flaxseed also contains other nutritional components including fibre and lignans. Flaxseed oil is prepared commercially in liquid form or in soft gel capsules. The seed is also available whole or milled for use in breads, or for sprinkling on salads and cereals.

ALA is an omega-3 fatty acid, important for the production of prostaglandins, which are hormone-like transmitters that help regulate fat metabolism, inflammatory response, hormones, as well as the cardiovascular, immune, and central nervous system.

ALA is the precursor fatty acid for the omega-3 series. In order for the body to use ALA, it must first be converted into EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), two nutrients that are constituents in many cells and are particularly abundant in brain and retina tissue, nerve relay stations (synapses), adrenal glands and sex glands.

Deficiency of omega-3 oils is endemic in Westernised populations, and chronic deficiency may be responsible for many of the ‘new’ diseases currently afflicting the citizens of the Western world.

Flax oil is pressed from the seeds of the flax plant. It tends to oxidise quickly in the presence of light or heat, and must be prepared as required by crushing the seeds, or extracted by ‘cold pressing’ or ‘molecular dstillation’ in order to retain its biological value. It has a pleasant nutty flavour and is is delicious drizzled on pasta, vegetables, potatoes, rice and other grains, it's not recommended for high-temperature cooking.

Flax oil is typically available in capsules or in liquid form in darkened bottles. The raw seed is also a valuable source of EFAs and can be sprinkled on salads, cereals or savoury dishes.

 

 

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