How do you take your flaxseed? Two of its main forms, ground flaxseed and flaxseed oil, are widely talked about in health circles. Which one is better? In this article, we’ll discuss that. First, let’s look at how much omega-3 it has.
This is perhaps the biggest reason why people take flaxseed in the first place. Flaxseed is an incredibly high-source of omega-3, which has many health benefits and too many detriments if your body is lacking in it. It’s one of the biggest plant-based sources, made up of 50% omega-3 ALA if you use oil. Flaxseed that’s grounded has a source that’s 20%, and while that’s still a good amount, it’s significantly lower.
So if you’re consuming flaxseed for the omega-3 count, go with flaxseed oil. Not only does it have more, but its ALA amount causes the omega-3 to be absorbed easier, making it the clear winner.
But if you’re looking for omega-3, you should definitely consider fish oil. While flaxseed oil has ALA omega-3, it lacks some of the other forms of omega-3, such as EPA and DHA, which fish oil has. ALA is converted to EPA and DHA, but our poor diets may make it difficult. These two other forms are very important if you want the best benefits of omega-3, and you should look into adding fish oil to your supplements.
There are other types of omega-3s out there, including DPA, ETA, SDA, and more. Many of these haven’t been studied yet, but you better believe that they probably have some importance.
With ALA, you need plenty of that in your diet, especially since too much omega-6s are found in many processed foods out there. Adding a good balance of omega-3 and omega-6 is ideal for good health, and the best way to do that is to add cole-pressed, unprocessed flaxseed oil and fish oil to your diet.
The Many Benefits of Lignan
Lignan is a phytonutrient, and if you’re a woman, it’s quite important that you have plenty of this. Besides reducing your risk for breast cancer, it can take our cervical, ovarian, and endometrial cancers as well. With 80 grams in flaxseed meal per ounce, it’s one of the highest sources out there.
So how does oil stack up? It’s not so great by comparison. When the oil is extracted from the leaves, the lignans are typically left behind. But the good news is that there are brands out there that add lignans, so if you’re a woman who is taking flaxseed oil supplements, you better believe that you should look for oil that has added lignans.
We all know that fiber is great for digestive woes, but it also helps to lower your chances of heart disease by reducing your levels of blood cholesterol. And flax meal has a solid amount. For every tablespoon, it provides you with 2 grams of fiber, with a chunk coming from soluble fiber.
Oil, meanwhile, lacks fiber, so you may want to take some additional fiber supplements if you’re looking to increase your fiber.
For other nutrients, flaxseed meal contains a good amount of many valuable nutrients. Some of them include minerals such as copper, manganese, and magnesium. It contains vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6, folic acid, and vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant.
Flaxseed oil, however, lacks many of the nutrients the meal has due to extraction. However, it still contains a good amount of vitamin E.
So Oil or Meal?
To summarize, oil is the way to go if you want omega-3, and it contains a good amount of vitamin E. Meal contains lower levels of omega-3, but is high in lignans (although there are oils that have these added,) fiber, and vitamins and minerals.
So it all depends on what you’re looking for. If you want as much omega-3 as possible, stick with flaxseed oil. If you want a good balance of other nutrients and still get some omega-3, meal is the way to go. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a choice. You can have both and get all the benefits. Whichever you decide to choose, however, you’ll receive some great health benefits.