Which flaxseed oil is best?
Consuming a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids has a whole host of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure and improving cholesterol levels. While fish oil supplements are a popular way to up your omega-3 intake, if you don’t eat fish, consuming flaxseed oil is a great alternative.
A plant-based oil, flaxseed also contains anti-inflammatory omega-6s and 9s. You can take flaxseed oil in capsule or liquid form. For adding to smoothies or salad dressing, Barlean’s Organic Lignan Flax Oil is the top choice for liquid flaxseed.
What to know before you buy a flaxseed oil
Flaxseed oil not only boasts health benefits but can also be used for cooking and beauty purposes.
- Heart health: Alpha-linoleic acid, the type of omega-3 found in flaxseed oil, may lower the risk of some heart diseases and decrease LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels.
- Lowering blood pressure: Consuming 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day may lower blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association.
- Cancer prevention: Flaxseed is rich in lignans — plant compounds studied for their cancer-fighting properties. It contains up to 800 times more lignans than any other plant and may lower the risk of breast cancer.
- Improving digestion: Flaxseeds contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Consuming flaxseed oil can promote regular bowel movements. If you have a sensitive stomach, however, use caution in consuming this fiber-rich oil.
- Hair and skin care: Flaxseed oil can be applied topically to the hair as a deep conditioning hair mask for healthier, shinier strands. Consuming it internally can help improve hydration levels of the skin, leading to softer, more supple skin.
- Culinary uses: To add more fatty acids to your diet, you can drizzle liquid flaxseed oil over food, use it to make salad dressing or pour it into your smoothie. Flaxseed has a mild nutty flavor.
Liquid vs. capsules
Flaxseed oil is a vegetarian alternative to fish oil. It can come in softgel form, which doesn’t have an aftertaste as fish oil pills can. Flaxseed oil capsules don’t need to be stored in the refrigerator. Liquid flaxseed oil is more versatile and can be used in recipes or consumed by the spoonful. However, it must be refrigerated so it doesn’t go rancid.
The recommended daily amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is 1.6 grams for adult males and 1.1 grams for adult females. Typically, a tablespoon of liquid flaxseed or one to three softgels will meet the RDA. Always check the label to see how potent each capsule is as some contain a higher amount of the plant-based omega-3 than others.
What to look for in a quality flaxseed oil
Opt for an organic flaxseed oil if you want a healthier choice that doesn’t contain any pesticides or other agrochemicals. Organic oils are also not genetically modified (non-GMO). Organic options are widely available in both liquid and capsule form.
Cold-pressed oils are made without the use of heat and minimal processing: the seeds are crushed at high pressures to extract their oil. This is believed to preserve the nutritional value, and flavor, of the oil that heat could otherwise degrade.
Fatty acid content
Flaxseed oil contains a ratio of omega 3-6-9s. You want to consume a diet with a higher amount of omega-3s than omega-6 fatty acids (two to four times fewer omega-6s). A diet too high in omega-6s can lead to inflammation. Flaxseed oil contains a healthy ratio of omega 6s to omega 3s at 0.3:1.
How much you can expect to spend on flaxseed oil
A 16-ounce bottle of liquid flaxseed costs $8-$22. For a 120-count bottle of capsules, expect to pay $9-$15.
Flaxseed oil FAQ
Are flaxseed oil capsules vegan?
A. While liquid flaxseed is almost always vegan-friendly, some softgels are made with gelatin, which is derived from animal sources. Check that the capsule’s shell is made from a plant-based ingredient, such as vegetable starch or glycerin.
Can flaxseed oil be heated for cooking?
A. We don’t recommend using flaxseed for sauteing or frying foods. It has a low smoke point and isn’t suitable for heating. Plus, exposing its high fatty acid content to heat will degrade its nutritional value and taste.
What’s the best flaxseed oil to buy?
Top flaxseed oil
What you need to know: This lignan-infused flaxseed oil includes an additional plant compound with powerful antioxidant benefits.
What you’ll love: The unrefined oil contains lignan particulates, which are polyphenols found in green tea and red wine. It’s highly rated for its slightly nutty taste and good flavor. It’s organic, vegan and perfect for culinary purposes.
What you should consider: You’ll need to keep an eye on the expiration date and store the oil properly to keep it from going bad after opening.
Top flaxseed oil for the money
What you need to know: Organic doesn’t always mean pricey, and this low-cost supplement is made from organic flax seeds.
What you’ll love: These softgels are easy to take and have no aftertaste. People report that they can be used as a natural laxative. Users also rave about their skin benefits and menopause relief.
What you should consider: The dosage is three softgels once or twice a day with food, which is high-maintenance for some.
Where to buy: Sold by iHerb
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This high-quality flaxseed oil supplement is made from non-GMO, organic seeds.
What you’ll love: The softgels are free from a whole host of common allergens and pass third-party purity testing. The oil is cold-pressed without the use of heat or solvents. Many find that this supplement is the remedy for their dry eyes.
What you should consider: These are not vegetarian capsules and contain gelatin.
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Ana Sanchez writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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