Flaxseed is one of the lesser-known “superfoods”, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less effective. While everyone knows the virtues of fish oil or olive oil, you just don’t hear as much about flaxseed oil.
That’s unfortunate, because flaxseed and its oil is a healthy dietary supplement that’s beneficial for a wide range of ailments, from high cholesterol or arthritis, to dry skin and nails.
Flaxseed is, as the name suggests, the seed of the flax plant, which grows throughout Canada and Northwestern United States. Flaxseed oil is made from crushed flaxseed. 1
Just like fish oil, flaxseed is a natural source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, an essential nutrient. Research has shown that omega-3s can reduce inflammation and help to prevent heart disease and arthritis. 3
According to the research, few side effects have been reported from taking flaxseed or flaxseed oil. 1
Wondering how flaxseed can help boost your health? Here are a few of the most commons benefits to eating flaxseed and flaxseed oil.
Flaxseed Oil Benefits
Scientific studies suggest that flaxseed oil could be an effective treatment for a wide range of conditions. 3 As always, be sure to check with your healthcare professional before adding any supplements to your diet. Flaxseed has the potential to interfere with certain other medications,1 so check with your doctor first.
Flaxseed, like any high-fiber food, can also be dehydrating, so be sure to drink plenty of water when increasing your fiber intake. 1
1. Flaxseed & Flaxseed Oil Can Relieve Constipation
Flaxseed’s high fiber content has made it a popular traditional remedy for constipation. Studies have shown that flaxseed and flaxseed oil, taken daily with plenty of water, are as effective as mineral oil for relieving constipation.3
Flaxseed’s soluble fiber, including a gummy material called mucilage, work by expanding when they come into contact with water. This adds bulk to stool and helps to move it through the intestines. 4
2. Flaxseed May Help Lower Cholesterol
Some studies have demonstrated that ground flaxseed and flaxseed oil can help to lower cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease.1 3 7 This is likely due to the omega-3 fatty acids that flaxseed contains. Scientists have noted that people who eat a Mediterranean diet, which features a healthy amount of omega-3s, tend to have good cholesterol levels. 3
3. Flaxseed Oil Can Promote Healthy Hair Growth
Flaxseed oil for hair is also a popular benefit. The omega-3 in flaxseed oil can also help to promote the growth of healthy hair11, keeping it moisturized and preventing dry, splitting hair. It also has skin-revitalizing and anti-inflammatory properties that may help those with psoriasis or eczema of the scalp. 7
4. Flaxseed Oil Heals a Variety of Skin Ailments
Flaxseed oil for skin is an effective moisturizer. Flaxseed oil contains essential fatty acids which aid it in healing a variety of skin conditions. It soothes and moisturizes skin, helping to heal ailments such as sunburns, eczema, psoriasis and rosacea.7
5. Flaxseed Oil Aids in Weight Loss
Because of flaxseed oil’s high fiber content, it fills you up and helps you to feel less hungry.9 Studies show that people who add more flaxseed to their diets, without any other changes, lose as much weight as people who completely switched to a healthy diet recommended by the American Heart Association. 10
Kathy Freston, wellness expert and author of Veganist and Quantum Wellness, says that “one of the easiest things you can do to speed weight loss is to add two tablespoons of flaxseed into your daily regimen.” 8
NCCIH. Flaxseed and Flaxseed Oil. 2006. Available at: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/flaxseed/ataglance.htm. Accessed December 22, 2015.
Publications H. Why not flaxseed oil? - Harvard Health. Healthharvardedu. 2005. Available at: http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/why-not-flaxseed-oil. Accessed December 22, 2015.
Ehrlich S. 2015. Available at: https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/flaxseed-oil. Accessed December 22, 2015.
Ehrlich S. Flaxseed. University of Maryland Medical Center. 2015. Available at: https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/flaxseed. Accessed December 22, 2015.
Just Simply Health | Simply Healthcare Provider. The Wonderful Benefits of Flaxseeds and Flaxseed Oil. 2014. Available at: http://www.justsimplyhealth.com/wonderful-benefits-flaxseeds-flaxseed-oil/. Accessed December 22, 2015.
Ehrlich S. Flaxseed oil - Penn State Hershey Medical Center. Pennstatehersheyadamcom. 2015. Available at: http://pennstatehershey.adam.com/content.aspx?productId=107&pid=33&gid=000304. Accessed December 22, 2015.
Herbwisdom. Benefits of Flaxseed. 2015. Available at: http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-flaxseed-oil.html. Accessed December 22, 2015.
Goudreau J. Forbes Welcome. Forbescom. 2012. Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jennagoudreau/2012/04/19/the-get-lean-diet-baby-steps-to-healthy-weight-loss/. Accessed December 22, 2015.
Webmd.com. FLAXSEED: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings - WebMD. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-991-flaxseed.aspx?activeingredientid=991&activeingredientname=flaxseed. Accessed December 22, 2015.
Gardner A, Kiefer D. The link between fiber and weight loss. WebMD. 2015. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/diet/fiber-weight-control. Accessed December 22, 2015.
Hairlossrevolution - Flaxseel Oil for Hair Loss. Available at: https://www.hairlossrevolution.com/flaxseed-oil-treatment-for-hair-loss/