Flaxseed oil is yellowish in colour and obtained from the flax plant seeds. The seeds are dry and ripe. Flaxseed is the seeds from the flax plant, a blue-flowered herbaceous plant. It grows up to 1.2m.
(Linum usitatissimum, Linaceae)
Flaxseed & Flaxseed Oil:
Ground flaxseed is ground seed from the flax plant, while flaxseed oil is extracted by cold pressing, sometimes followed by Liquid–liquid extraction, or solvent extraction and partitioning, from the seed.
Due to its high levels of Alpha linolenic acid (ALA) between 52% and 63% (a particular form of omega 3 fatty acids), it is used as a nutritional supplement available as capsules.
It can also be purchased as flour, in its seed form or as oil. The oil is also an effective way to benefit from omega 3 fatty acids and omega 6 fatty acids both of which are needed for good health.
The Alpha Linolenic Acid in flaxseed is converted by the body into Eicosapentaenoic Acid and Docosahexaenoic Acid which is not unlike the fish oil that has the omega 3 fatty acids.
However, the body is slow and inefficient in the process of converting Alpha Linolenic Acid into Eicosapentaenoic Acid and Docosahexaenoic Acid, therefore the benefits of ALA, EPA and DHA may not necessarily be the same.
Flax is grown for its seeds, fibre and ornamental garden plants. Various parts of the plant can be used to make dye, fishing nets, fabric, hair gels, medicines, paper, soap, clothes and ropes. Flaxseed is the source of linseed oil which is an ingredient used in many wood finishing products.
Flaxseed has two basic varieties:
- Yellow or Golden
Either has omega 3 fatty acids (ALA) and nutritional characteristics that are similar and beneficial to health and well being. The active compounds found in flaxseed is not the same active compounds found in the extracted oil. Therefore, the flaxseed health benefits may not necesarily be the same as the flaxseed oil health benefits.