Linseed oil is obtained from linseed (Linum usitatissimum, L).It contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, necessary for the proper functioning of the body.Flaxseed oil also contains linolenic acid (ALA), which is processed by the body to obtain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), i.e. omega-3 fatty acids also found in fish oil.
Some scientists believe that linseed oil may be as beneficial as fish oil, but our body can not process ALA acids efficiently into EPA and DHA acids.Furthermore, the beneficial effects of ALA, EPA and DHA acids need not be identical at all.
Omega-3 fatty acids, mainly derived from fish oil, have proven anti-inflammatory action and help to avoid chronic conditions such as heart disease and arthritis.The results of tests determining the usefulness of linseed oil in the prevention of similar ailments are not consistent.
Maintaining the correct balance of omega-3 and omega-6 in our diet is very important.These important acids belong to a larger group of polyunsaturated fatty acids, also referred to as PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids).Omega-3 fatty acids counteract inflammation, while most omega-6 acids strengthen inflammation.In a healthy diet, the amount of omega-6 fatty acids should be approximately 2-4 times less than the amount of omega-3 fatty acids supplied to the body.The diet of a typical American, however, contains about 14-25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3.Many scientists believe that this is a serious factor affecting the growing number of inflammatory diseases in the United States.
Flax seed – in contrast to linseed oil – also contains a group of chemicals called lignans.It is believed that they have an anti-cancer effect.For more information on this subject, see the monogram on flax semen.
Clinical studies suggest that flaxseed oil and other omega-3 fatty acids may be helpful in combating many different ailments.
People who use the Mediterranean diet in many cases have elevated levels of HDL, the so-called good cholesterol.The Mediterranean diet puts a lot of pressure on fish and healthy fats, such as olive oil, and it also has a healthy balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.Whole grains, green and root vegetables, daily portions of fruit, fish and poultry meat, olive oil and rapeseed oil and ALA (derived from flaxseed, linseed oil and walnuts) are also part of the Mediterranean diet.Red meat and saturated fat are not part of this diet.
However, it should be remembered that eating flaxseed and linseed oil in the form of supplements may not always lead to lowering cholesterol levels.
The use of a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts or legumes and foods rich in ALA, can significantly reduce the risk of relapse of heart disease.One of the best ways to prevent and treat heart disease is to use a diet that guarantees a small intake of saturated fats and trans fats as well as a rich monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (including omega-3 fatty acids derived from flax and fish seeds).There is evidence that people who eat meals rich in ALA have lower likelihood of fatal myocardial infarction.ALA acids can reduce the risks associated with heart disease in many ways.They lead, among others, to reducing the viscosity of platelets, reduce inflammation, have a positive effect on the condition of blood vessels, reduce the risk of arrhythmia (irregular heart rate).
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