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Flaxseed Oil

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About Flaxseed Oil

The humble flaxseed (linseed) is a rich source of two important fatty acids, called linolenic acid and linoleic acid. Both of these fatty acids are termed “essential”, as they need to be obtained from the diet in order to maintain health and prevent deficiency disease states. Ideally, more focus should be placed on linolenic acid, which is a part of the Omega 3 family. This crucial fat is used in the body to produce eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and promotes anti-inflammatory signals in the body. 

 

The typical diets of those residing in developed nations are typically low in Linolenic acid (Omega 3), containing a disproportionately high level of Linoleic Acid (Omega 6). Research shows that most diets contain around a 20:1 ratio. This indicates that most people need to consume half as much omega 6 and 10 times more Omega 3 in order to find some balance! This was reported by AP Simopoulos in the journal Nutrients in 2017. The high Omega 6 and low Omega 3 levels that are so common in the standard Australian diet puts people at risk of obesity, heart disease and hypertension, cancer, diabetes, arthritis and even some autoimmune diseases.

 

A ratio of approximately 1:1 of these two essential fatty acids is ideal. A high omega 6 diet that has been adhered to for years or decades, typically needs some robust measures to re-establish balance in the body. This is due to the fact that the body stores fatty acids in the bodyfat and cell membranes. Therefore, to begin establishing balance once more, consuming more omega 3 than 6 for a period of time is ideal.

 

Food sources of Omega 3 fatty acids are fatty fish and walnuts, though green leafy vegetables also contain a small amount. Flaxseed oil is a fantastic source of Omega 3s, and according to the United States Department of Agriculture contains an Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio of 3.8 to 1. This makes the oil helpful for enriching the diet with this valuable essential fatty acid. Flaxseed oil is also an excellent source of natural gamma-tocopherol, which is one of the four forms of tocopherol. In smaller quantities, alpha, delta and beta tocopherol are also present. This is a classic example of mother nature weaving nutritional magic, as Vitamin E stabilizes polyunsaturated fats, like Linolenic acid, reducing the rate of oxidation (rancidity).

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