Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Doing Your Skin a Favor with Flaxseed Oil

Lately when I make my salads (a delicious array of organic greens adorned with avocado, cherry tomatoes, sunflower seeds, and the occasional dollop of goat cheese or sliced pears)  I add a high-quality cold-pressed flaxseed oil to the dressing.  Mixing a tablespoon-full with either a bit of organic apple cider vinegar or a half a lemon, along with a trickle of virgin olive oil, I know I am giving myself an extra boost of nutrients that help give my skin a healthy, youthful glow. 

The Omegas
Flaxseed oil is pressed from flaxseeds, and the result is a dark golden liquid that can be eaten or  topically applied.  Flaxseed oil gets its healing value from a myriad of nutrients, including a high percentage of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.  Because these fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties, they help to soothe and lubricate the skin, which is especially good if your skin tends towards irritation.

Linoleic Acid and More…
One of the Omega 6 fatty acids is a substance called linoleic acid, which is abundant in flaxseed oil and plays a big role in keeping moisture locked in to skin cells.  A report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition regarding a study on women from 40 to 70 years old shows that  those consuming the most linoleic acid had the youngest skin.  This, along with flaxseed oil’s vitamin and mineral content, including vitamin B complex, magnesium, potassium, and iron, also helps to maintain skin cell structure as well as overall health. Vitamin E, lecithin,  flavanoids, and protein also contribute to flaxseed oil’s ability to soften and soothe wrinkles, while enhancing the complexion in general. 

Flaxseed oil contains naturally occurring compounds called lignans, which act as phyto-estrogens and anti-oxidants.  Their role is to help maintain hormonal balance,  contributing to skin health and fighting against free radical damage that leads to aging.

Encouraging the Skin
Flaxseed oil  asks the skin itself to join the party, encouraging the secretion of  natural oils that help diminish the appearance of those pesky fine lines that have no right to appear, but do so just the same.

Add flaxseed oil to smoothies, drizzle it over oatmeal, pasta, grains, potatoes, and steamed veggies.  Place a drop or two on your fingertips and massage into the skin.  However you prefer to take it, you will be doing your skin a world of good.

Note: Keep flaxseed oil in the fridge to avoid rancidity.  Also… be sure to consult with your dermatologist before applying flaxseed oil to the skin if you have a condition that requires specialized treatment.

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