Flaxseed Oil Benefits & Uses


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There are so many options for cooking oils these days; one oil gaining attention in recent years is flaxseed oil. But despite certain health benefits, it’s not ideal for some recipes. Read on to learn how you should and shouldn’t use it in the kitchen.

Flaxseed oil benefits & uses in cooking.

What is flaxseed oil? The name is pretty much a dead giveaway. Also known as linseed oil, flaxseed oil is extracted from flaxseeds from the flax plant. No surprises there. It has a mild, nutty flavor. You can find it in pure and refined forms, which may contain chemical solvents. But what else is there to this trendy oil? Let’s explore.

Health benefits

Flaxseed oil is best known for its omega-3 content which is why it’s thought to improve heart health. But the effect of flaxseed oil has been connected to better digestion, reduced inflammation, slowed cancer cell growth, and improved skin health. However, more research is needed before we sing those claims from rooftops.

Several human studies suggest it can lower high blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. But if you’re already on medication to lower blood pressure, be careful about combining it with flaxseed dietary supplements and consumption. Some side effects could be that they lower your levels too much, which can cause dizziness and fainting.

How to use flaxseed oil

Unfortunately, flaxseed oil has a low smoke point in the 200-degree range, where it loses flavor and converts healthy fats into not-so-healthy ones. It’s best used in recipes that require low to no heat. For example, add it to salad dressings or beverages like smoothies, or drizzle it on food after it’s already been cooked.

But there’s another way to use flaxseed oil that has nothing to do with eating it — it’s great for seasoning your cast iron. Exposing flaxseed oil to high heat creates a durable layer of seasoning that other oils don’t provide.

There’s a particular method that requires heating your pan before adding oil, but you can learn about the science and read the step-by-step in Cooks Illustrated.

Pouring flaxseed oil into a glass jar.

What is better for you, flaxseed oil or fish oil?

Both flaxseed and fish oil are good sources of omega-3s, and they provide similar health benefits. But there’s a slight difference.

Fish oil contains the omega-3s known as EPA and DHA, while flaxseed oil contains the type of omega-3 known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). This needs to be converted to EPA and DHA in the body, but only a tiny percentage does.

That’s why research suggests, according to Harvard Health, that roughly one capsule of fish oil provides about the same amount of omega-3s as six capsules of flaxseed oil supplements. The other downside to flaxseed oil is that its omega-6 fatty acids can counteract the omega-3s. Fish oil has also been studied far more than flax oil, so there’s a lot we don’t know yet.

Hungry for more knowledge?

Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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8 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Beverly-Ann Nielsen says

    Thank you for the recipes you send as well as your informative posts. There are hardly any that I do not save to use at a future date.

    • Cahya says

      Hi, thank you for the recipes and information in you posts! Maybe you could try coconut oil, a healthy cooking oil, from what i heard, it has a high smoke point, so its very convenient for cooking.

  2. Dave says

    I enjoy reading the science behind the food prep. You’re right up there with J.Kenji Lopez Alt and Meathead Goldwyn when it comes to practical uses and explanation of food science.

    My other favorite site is Modernist Pantry. I love their kitchen alchemy.

  3. Mary Blair says

    I recently found you site and love it. I have a question for you: If Flaxseed oil is consumed with a protein, isn’t the body better able to use it’s nutrients? I put my organic flaxseed oil in organic cottage cheese with organic Moringa leaves, crushed. I cannot say it is a tasty combination. but I feel so much better when I eat it for breakfast. Do you know anything about consuming protein with flax oil? I read that in my cancer research. I want to know if it is correct.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Mary- I haven’t seen any specific research recommending the combination for better nutrients absorption. But what you mentioned seems like a really interesting pairing! I’d love to hear about the article you found.