Get a rich omega-3 health boost
Melissa Baker, RD
Flaxseed oil is an all-around health superstar. With Canada as one of its largest producers, flaxseed oil is brimming with alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid our body uses to reduce inflammation and improve heart health. Incorporating flaxseed oil into a variety of dishes can up the omega-3 ante.
Flaxseed oil, also known as linseed oil, is one of the richest plant-based sources of an omega-3 fat known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). As our bodies are unable to produce these omega-3 fats naturally, we must consume them through our diets. As flaxseed oil provides more ALA per serving than the actual flaxseeds, it’s a great option to help increase ALA intake. Fatty fish is also an excellent source of omega-3 fats, but this is a less sustainable option compared to plant-based sources. Purchasing flaxseed products also helps to support the Canadian economy, as Canada is the world’s largest producer of flaxseed. Benefits of omega-3s Most westernized diets contain too many omega-6 fats and too few omega-3 fats, but omega-3s benefit our health in a variety of ways. Decrease inflammation Consuming more omega-3 fats, such as ALA, is important as they may decrease inflammation in the body while omega-6 fats promote it. Increasing omega-3 fat consumption is especially important for those suffering from a chronic disease, as many chronic diseases have an inflammatory element. Improve heart health Consuming more omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk for blood clots and improve heart health by lowering triglyceride levels and preventing the arteries from hardening. Omega-3 fatty acids may also lower blood pressure.
|One tsp (5 mL) of flaxseed oil per day is enough to meet an adult’s ALA requirements.|
Develop healthy babies During pregnancy, consuming sufficient omega-3 fats is essential for the brain and eye development of a growing baby. Flaxseed oil is a great vegetarian option for expectant mothers. Cooking with omega-3s According to corporate chef Alana Peckham, flaxseed oil on its own has a unique nutty flavour similar in taste to fresh shelled walnuts. Smoothies, salads, and more While nutty in flavour when taken on its own, flaxseed oil is a great addition to fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies. Once added, the flaxseed oil becomes more difficult to detect in the overall flavour of the smoothie, allowing for easy consumption of omega-3 fats. Flaxseed oil is most commonly drizzled on salads, granola, and yogurt as an omega-3 fatty acid supplement. Look for flaxseed oil that’s been specially formulated with a smoke point that can withstand high heat while cooking. Peckham says that the nutty flavour of flaxseed oil would most definitely complement many different styles of dishes and flavours from around the world, while providing another alternative for consuming our daily omega-3 fats.