Flax seed oil: what it is
Known already in antiquity, flax seed oil is extracted from the seeds of Linum usitatissimum an annual herbaceous plant, with large sky blue flowers, which convey serenity and are also used for ornamental purposes. Its fruits contain tiny translucent seeds from which the oil is obtained. Originally from the Middle East and spread throughout the Mediterranean basin, Linum was already cultivated by the Babylonians 3,000 years ago, then by the Phoenicians, Greeks and Egyptians, who obtained a precious fabric from its fibers and used the seeds for food or for extract an oil, always used in textiles. In the past it was used as a fixative for colors and in the treatment of wood. Then the linseed oilit was used in folk medicine mainly as a laxative, but its properties act on a wide range. Here are what they are.
Flaxseed oil benefits
Derived from the cold pressing of the seeds of Lilium usitatissimum , flaxseed oil is rich in essential polyunsaturated fatty acids omega 3 (alpha-linoleic acid) and omega 6 (linoleic acid), but also of monounsaturated fatty acids such as oleic acid, and saturated fats such as stearic and palmitic acid, as well as vitamin C and vitamin E , as well as group B vitamins , and vegetable proteins (about 20%). Linseed oil also contains lecithin, a group of phospholipids that perform a powerful antioxidant action, as well as lignans , which are phenolic antioxidants. L ‘ flaxseed oilit also contains numerous mineral salts, especially magnesium and calcium , but also potassium , zinc , iron , manganese , copper , phosphorus and selenium , as well as mucilage and dietary fiber.
Flax seed oil properties
The beneficial properties of linseed oil and the polyunsaturated fatty acids contained in it extend to many organic systems and systems of our body, performing a nourishing and antioxidant action. In particular, linseed oil:
- Protects the heart and circulatory system
Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids regulate the heart beat and prevent the onset of cardio-vascular diseases. They also keep LDL “bad” cholesterol at bay and help dispose of triglycerides, keeping the arteries clean and rebalancing blood pressure.
- Nourishes the brain and supports the nervous system
Lecithin, vitamins B and E and essential fatty acids contained in linseed oil are also very useful for the proper functioning of the nervous system: they improve memory and concentration, and preserve brain structures from neurodegenerative diseases.
- It keeps the mucous membranes of the stomach and intestines healthy.
Consuming linseed oil habitually also has advantages for the gastro-enteric apparatus, because in addition to having a soothing action on the mucous membranes of the stomach, it contains mucilages that exert a gentle laxative action on the intestine. , freeing it from slags without irritating it like common laxatives, thanks to the emollient effect on the stool.
- Linseed oil is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-degenerative. Linseed
oil also performs a powerful antioxidant action, mainly due to the presence of lecithin and vitamin E, which in addition to stimulating the immune system also give it a remarkable anti-inflammatory activity, while lignans contribute to cancer prevention.
Flax seed oil in food
To benefit from its nutritional and healthy properties, flaxseed oil must be consumed raw , because it does not tolerate heat and loses all its nutritional properties, as well as becoming rancid and acquiring an unpleasant taste. It can be used to season salad or light dishes, low in animal fats and simple sugars, better if combined with olive oil , with which it integrates perfectly in meeting the daily needs of the whole range of fatty acids.
Alternatively, flaxseed oil can be drunk before meals, or added to yogurt for breakfast. Its bitter taste, with a strong walnut aftertaste, may not be liked by everyone, therefore it can also be taken as a remedy, in the dose of one tablespoon a day, preferably on an empty stomach: it is an excellent supplement especially for those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Flax seed oil: the doses
The maximum physiological daily dose is one tablespoon of linseed oil (about 1.5 grams), and it is good not to exceed it to avoid incurring unpleasant side effects (such as diarrhea and clotting problems). Also because, being a vegetable fat, it still has a high calorie content (100 grams / 534 kcal). The best solution is to use it cyclically, for periods of one or two months.
Flax seed oil in the treatment of skin and hair
Thanks to its emollient and repairing properties, flaxseed oil can also be used for the beauty of the body, and in the cosmetics of dull and brittle hair, which makes it soft and shiny.
Flax seed hair oil: regenerating properties
L ‘ flaxseed oil can be applied to the hair washed as balm restructuring: re-hydrates the stem and eliminates frizz, making the hair shiny and smooth. In the case of particularly damaged hair, it can be applied as a compress only on the lengths to nourish the stem, and left on for about half an hour, before shampooing.
To free the scalp from dandruff , before washing the hair, apply a compress directly on the scalp: it helps to normalize the production of sebum. A few drops on already dry hair also helps prevent and reduce split ends. In summer, linseed oil can be used as a protection for hair exposed to sun and salt, preventing dryness.
Nourish the face and body skin with linseed oil
The moisturizing properties of linseed oil are also evident when applied to the skin, because linoleic acid regulates hydration, giving the skin elasticity and resistance. You can apply it on the body after a shower, pouring a little on the still damp skin and massaging it until completely absorbed: in addition to nourishing the skin, it does not grease and flows well under the hands, leaving the skin soft and hydrated. Or you can use it to soften the skin of particularly rough areas such as elbows, knees and heels or massage it on the hands to repair chaps and redness.
Applied on the face, then, in addition to regenerating dry skin, it can be used as a make-up remover, pouring it on a cotton pad, or as a remedy for dark circles. Thanks to its sebum-regulating and purifying power, flaxseed oil is also excellent for fighting acne and reducing pimples, with the advantage of also having an anti-aging effect, thanks to the richness of vitamin E. Flaxseed oil can also be used as a massage oil, for the body, which
NB When purchasing linseed oil for cosmetic use, always make sure that it is a 100% pure product, cold-pressed and coming from organic cultivation.
Flaxseed oil contraindications
In general, flaxseed oil has no specific contraindications, so much so that it can also be taken in pregnancy and during childhood, after weaning, especially to promote good brain development, thanks to its phospholipid content.
But be careful not to associate it with taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and anticoagulants, or with supplements containing garlic and ginkgo biloba, or fish oil , so as not to run the risk of making the blood too fluid.
How to store linseed oil
Flaxseed oil should be stored in dark glass bottles to protect it from light and they keep unchanged the organoleptic properties. Close them well after each use, since linseed oil is also sensitive to air, and place them in a cool and dry place, preferably in the refrigerator, at a temperature below 4 ° C (above 20 ° C it starts to lose its nutritional qualities, above 40 ° C, completely lose them and become toxic, for this reason it must not be cooked, let alone fried). It is also very sensitive to light and heat, so much so that after 30 days it loses its organoleptic properties and, if stored poorly, turns rancid and takes on an unpleasant flavor, with a fishy aftertaste.
For this reason, once purchased in small bottles (250-500 ml) and consumed as soon as possible, no later than one month after opening. After a month it should no longer be used for food, but can be used as a natural cosmetic, or for the care of wooden furniture to polish them. When buying flaxseed oil for food use, always contact a specialized dealer, making sure that it comes from organic farming and that it keeps the product intact in the refrigerator for the entire supply chain.