Dec 27, 2011

Flaxseed Oil

Since becoming more responsible in regards to my skin care routine I thought it was time to not only take care of myself on the outside but also to become more pro-active in regards to helping my skin from the inside. Like many of you I am very aware as to the importance of a good diet but of course in reality I for one do not always put this into practice.
I have always known the importance of Omega 3's in regards to skin quality but was pleasantly surprised that it also has benefits for hair, nails and the digestive system and the only way to get omega 3 fatty acids is from your diet as they are not naturally produced by your body.       Foods high in omega 3s help your skin protect itself by increasing natural oils that your skin secretes on the surface. These fats and oils are critical for keeping your skin soft, protecting it from irritants and preventing it from drying out.
Tired of the after taste from Fish Oils?
Unlike many of the fish oils that are on the market and due to flax oil or flaxseed oil being derived from the blue flowering flax plant 'after taste' is not an issue therefore making consumption much easier. I originally tried to take the suggested daily amount straight from the spoon but found it to be a little unpleasant (probably psychosomatic!) but found mixing the flaxseed oil into yogurt was the best option and if mixed well it is barely noticeable.
How to use Flaxseed Oil
You can add flax oil as a dressing in salads, as a substitute for other oils (except in cooking, since flaxseed oil breaks down quickly when heated), or add to yogurt (I prefer this method).
Like vitamin C and olive oil, flax oil has benefits not only from eating it, but also from applying it directly to your skin. When smoothed on your skin, flax oil can help lock in moisture and prevent water loss through the skin. Applying it can also improve your skin’s dry dull appearance and even improve the appearance of fine lines but due to using other products I choose to take this by mouth.                                                       
Will it make us look younger?
Well I am not too sure about that but combined with using Retin a, vit c serum, sunscreen and regular peels I believe that it can only do good and according to a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women who 'consumed' the most linoleic acid had the youngest-looking skin among 40-74 year-olds therefore I presumed it was worth a try and I have been adding it to my yogurt for a six week period and I have noticed the following benefits:
:Skin does appear softer which is helping all my other products to penetrate more efficiently.
:Two small dry patches of skin that I have had for years have completely gone. 
:Hair appears 'fuller' and is also more 'bouncier' if that makes sense!
:Definite growth in nails which are also far less brittle.

As an added benefit, omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory, which can help minimize redness and skin irritation. There is also evidence that omega-3s can improve chronic skin conditions such as eczema (atopic dermatitis), rosacea, acne, and psoriasis.  Omega 3s have been shown to aid in wound healing as well. There is also some evidence that flax seed oil might protect against sun damage.
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition adding flaxseed oil to foods, or taken with a meal, creates a feeling of satiation (feeling of fullness). The essential fats in flaxseed oil cause the stomach to retain food for a longer period of time as compared to no-fat or low-fat foods. The addition of flax oil to food also results in a gradual release of this combination into the small intestine. The physiological effect is a slow, sustained rise in blood sugar, then a prolonged plateau of blood sugar. Ultimately, the blood sugar undergoes a slow and gradual drop. You will experience a corresponding feeling of prolonged energy, stamina and satisfaction with no immediate hunger pangs following the meal. The net result is that you feel fuller, longer, and actually eat fewer calories in the long run than if you would have chosen a no-fat, low-fat diet
What to look for when buying flax seed oil:
Because flax seed oil is easily oxidized, which diminishes its antioxidant capabilities, it is important that you find flax oil that is
  • in a dark container
  • protected from light
  • vacuum sealed when you buy it
  • stored in the refrigerator after opening it
What about cold pressed oil? Heat and/or high pressure is needed to extract the oil from the seeds 'but' Flaxseed Oil that is labeled as cold pressed apparently use 'less' heat to extract the oil therefore making it more effective but it is more expensive.
Organic vs non-organic
  1. Organic flax oil does not contain traces of additives that are found in conventional flaxseed oil. Consumers are assured that what they take in is purely natural and chemical-free.
  2. The absence of chemicals in organic oils lessens the probability that the body will respond unfavorably after intake; hence the body has lower tendencies to develop allergies or adverse skin /physiological reactions.
  3. Consumer reviews indicate that organic flax oil tastes better compared to conventional oil. This can be explained by the interaction of the chemicals and the natural components both present in flaxseed oil which may alter the distinct taste of the product.
I took all of the above into consideration and after six weeks of using Organic Flax Oil I came to the conclusion that this is an item I will continue to use on a regular basis as I feel the results are beneficial.             I personally feel that Organic Cold Pressed Flaxseed Oil is better due to the fact that there are no chemicals or pesticide's used during farming and cold-pressing is known as one of the best methods of processing organic flaxseed however, due to this process only yielding very small amounts of oil involving the most minimal of heat possible (*See note at bottom of article) and does not use added chemicals it is more expensive at approximately $10.00 for 8 fluid ounces and will last about 10 days.

*In the case of some flaxseed oil brands, solvent-extraction is the primary method of obtaining the oil. Compared to cold-pressing, chemical solvents such as hexane is added to increase the volume of oil squeezed from the seeds. Most of the time, traces of these chemicals can be found on the commercial oil consumed by users thus they reduce the organic value of the original plant source.

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