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Omega-3 fatty acids: why linseed oil and linseed are so healthy
Linseed oil and linseed are considered to be true superfoods. They not only stimulate digestion, but also contribute to the prevention of cardiovascular diseases thanks to the hypotensive and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids they contain.
It has long been known that linseed oil and linseed stimulate digestion. But not only that. These foods can also protect the heart.
Dietary fiber sets the intestine in motion
As the Federal Center for Nutrition (BZfE) explains, the small plants (Linaceae) are a large family with over 200 species. These include those that are used for human nutrition, but also species that are grown for oil production for paints and varnishes.
Even the inhabitants of Troy enjoyed flaxseed. This is documented by the remains of linseed that were found during excavations in amphorae.
Swellable fiber can be found in the linseed husks, causing the intestine to move. Flax seed has its optimal effect when it is easily broken open or crushed.
Always drink a lot at the same time
Flaxseed is a popular ingredient for mueslis and bread doughs. In oriental cuisine, it is traditionally used for porridge or soups.
When eating flaxseed, it is important to drink a lot at the same time so that the seeds swell and the mucilaginous substances (which are water-soluble fibers) can develop their effect.
If you drink too little, constipation and bloating can easily occur.
Hypotensive and anti-inflammatory effect
Linseed oil, which is pressed from linseed, tastes nutty and slightly tart. It is cold-pressed for human consumption to preserve its valuable unsaturated fatty acids.
The press residue, which is called linseed cake, is a very good animal feed because it is rich in fiber and vegetable protein.
Linseed oil is primarily known for its high proportion of alpha-linolenic acid. This belongs to the omega-3 fatty acids, which humans cannot form themselves, but have to ingest with food.
Nutritionists say that omega-3 fatty acids include hypotensive and anti-inflammatory effects. They are said to be particularly effective in preventing cardiovascular diseases.
According to the BZfE, the proportion of around 55 percent alpha-linolenic acid in linseed oil is extremely high for a vegetable oil. Rapeseed oil, for example, only has a share of ten percent.
Herbal omega-3 fatty acid suppliers
In the past, it was always pointed out that sea fish in particular supplies omega-3 fatty acids. But a few years ago, a study at the University of Jena showed that vegetable oils such as linseed oil also have the potential to protect (heart) health, reports the non-profit organization Carstens Foundation on its website.
As part of this study, the participants consumed two tablespoons of linseed oil daily over a period of eight weeks. They were strictly prohibited from eating fish during this period.
Compared to the beginning of the study, approximately eight times as many omega-3 fatty acids were found in the test subjects' blood after eight weeks. Blood pressure values and blood lipids were also reduced.
Linseed oil is sensitive to oxygen and light
As the BZfE explains, linseed oil is sensitive to oxygen and light. That is why the oil is usually offered in small quantities in bottles made of brown or green glass. After opening, it should be stored in a cool place and used up quickly.
Linseed oil goes well with mueslis, quark dishes and salad dressings. The oil gives dips and spreads a fine, nutty note.
Jacket potatoes with curd and linseed oil are a common, healthy and delicious dish in the areas that were formerly typical for flax, in Lusatia and in Silesia. (ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.