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HEALTH & FITNESS ARTICLES

Flaxseed - The Healthy Oil

Flaxseed Oil - The Healthy Oil
Flaxseed oil has been of particular interest to me for many years, so I’m going to explain (briefly) what it is and why I hold this ‘fat’ in high regard.

First of all, what is it? To understand flax oil you have to understand what essential fatty acids (EFAs) are and what they do. The definition of an essential nutrient is anything the body cannot synthesize itself and must therefore be obtained from the diet. We need an assortment of vitamins, minerals, approximately nine to eleven amino acids to stay alive and healthy. The two essential fatty acids we need in our diets are linoleic acid (LA) which is an omega-6 fatty acid and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which is an omega-3 fatty acid. The highest known source of omega-3 fatty acid LNA is flaxseed oil which also contains a small amount of omega-6 or LA fatty acid.

So what’s it supposed to do? As with most vitamins and minerals, it’s very difficult to get optimal amounts of unprocessed EFAs from heavily processed foods.

The term ‘omega-3’ should ring a bell for you.
Fish oils are well-publicized omega-3 fatty acids and have been shown to have many benefits. Although early research (this is research and not my opinion) told us we need a bit more LA than LNA, in practice we may need a diet higher in LNA that gets better results for fat level reduction.

In general, Australians tend to get there fats from saturated fats, rancid fats, and highly processed fats (which contain byproducts such as trans-fatty acids), thus giving fats a bad name.
EFAs are not to be avoided as a ‘bad fat’ because all fats are NOT created equal. From a general health standpoint, EFAs are involved in literally thousands of bodily processes to our health and general well-being: immunity, aging, hormone production….well, you get the point. EFAs have been found to have many health uses including cholesterol reduction, cancer treatment and prevention and treating inflammatory conditions.

In particular, the omega-3 fatty acids are anti-lipogenic (they block fat storage), anti-catabolic, anti-inflammatory, and they increase beta-oxidation (fat burning!!), improve insulin sensitivity, increase thermogenesis, as well as a whole lot of other positive effects on fat loss I do not have the space on this article to go into.  On the other hand, a lack of EFAs- in particular the omega-3 EFAs- appears to be one of the dietary factors leading to the development of obesity and insulin resistance.

I have been a big fan of EFAs and flaxseed oil for quite some time now as I don’t see this as a supplement but rather as an essential element in ones nutritional needs.  So, don’t be afraid of having fat in your fat-loss endeavors.

Just choose the right ones.


This article was provided by Tom Aitken Personal Training
For more information on Tom Aitken Personal Training, check out their full profile here.
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