If you’re like me, you love to throw flaxseeds on top of salads and into smoothies for a boost of nutty flavor and an extra dose of heart-boosting goodness. If you’re not familiar with these tiny nutritious gems, they are a health-boosting, anti-aging superfood you’ll want to start incorporating into your diet ASAP — and their oil packs an even greater punch!
Said to have been grown since the beginning of human civilization, flaxseeds are one of the oldest known crops. They boast a dense nutrient profile and a plethora of impressive health benefits, like boosting heart health and controlling blood sugar. Flaxseed oil is extracted from ground, pressed flaxseeds, and consuming it has been linked to even more impressive health benefits — and even some beauty benefits, too!
Flaxseed oil is one of the best anti-aging superfoods because it’s loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3’s, touted as the “good fats” in our diet, are potent anti-inflammatories and have shown to improve cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and even protect against brain aging. Specifically, flaxseed oil is high in an omega-3 fat called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is one of the essential fatty acids we need to get from our food. The ALA in flaxseed oil is suspected to boost brain and heart health because it helps keep our arteries from hardening, something that naturally occurs as we age.
What’s more, flaxseed oil has been linked to healthier skin. One small study including 36 women indicated that adding flaxseed oil into their diet resulted in improved skin elasticity (that means fewer wrinkles!) as well as more hydration and a smoother complexion. Another animal study indicated that flaxseed oil reduced symptoms of dermatitis such as inflammation, redness, and itching of the skin. Wow!
Beyond its anti-aging powers, flaxseed oil boasts a number of other health benefits that will keep you feeling your best as time goes along, while also protecting you from disease. Impressively, supplementing the diet with flaxseed oil has shown efficacy in animal studies and test-tube research for preventing the growth and spread of cancer cells. It has also shown to be a promising supplement for a healthy digestive system, reducing constipation and even relieving diarrhea.
Luckily, incorporating flaxseed oil into your diet is pretty simple. We wouldn’t recommend cooking with it because the heat can break down those crucial fatty acids, but you can purchase a high-quality flaxseed oil like this from Barlean’s ($15.84, Amazon), and drizzle it on salads, add it to smoothies, or take it straight from the teaspoon! If that doesn’t really sound so appealing and you’d rather try a supplement, look for quality, cold-pressed oil products (again, heat during manufacturing can break down the fatty acids!) like this one from Sports Research ($19.95, Amazon). As always, consult with your doctor before trying any new supplement.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Woman’s World.