Au Natural Factual: Flaxseed Oil

Flaxseed oil or flax oil is derived from the flax plant (linum usitatissimum), a blue-flowering plant. This oil is also commonly known as linseed oil. The common species of the flax plant, linum usitatissimum is mainly cultivated for its fiber and seed. Other types of flax oils can be used ornamentally or for industrial and pharmaceutical purposes depending on the production method. Industrial uses for flaxseed oil include paint binders, waterproofing agents and glossing.

Flaxseed oil can be found as nutritional supplement and a topical oil. Traditionally, flaxseed oil was used as medicine by many different cultures specifically for skin irritation and other inflammatory ailments. High in anti-inflammatory properties, flaxseed oil is thought to be useful for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory (swelling) diseases.

The oil is produced by processing the seeds from the flax plant and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids (about 50-60% Omega-3s) and specifically, alpha linoleic acid (ALA). Due to its high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseed oil works wonders on the skin when applied topically as it norishes and locks in moisture on the skin. Flaxseed oil’s anti-inflammatory properties help minimize redness and skin irritation. The oil can also prevent skin having a dull appearance and smoothes fine lines.

Flaxseed oil can also be ingested as a nutritional supplement and is also said to prevent various diseases such as heart disease, cancers, diabetes allergies and more.

Because flax seed oil is easily oxidized, which diminishes its antioxidant capabilities, make sure to find and maintain flax oil:

  • in a dark container
  • protected from light
  • vacuum sealed when you buy it
  • stored in the refrigerator after opening it

The EWG’s Skin Deep database rates Flaxseed Oil with a score of 0 for overall hazard. 

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Sources and to learn more: Barbara Mendez NutritionEnvironmental Working Group, FrontierNet, The Derm Blog, Wikipedia

Images: Barbara Mendez Nutrition, Dr. Seibel

Au Natural Factual Friday: Chia Seeds

Cha-cha-cha-Chia! I’m not going to be talking about those cute plant creatures that grow in a tabletop pot, but Chia seeds, the seeds from those plants.

Chia seeds have been all the health-food rage since it’s 2012 induction, dubbed as a super-foods supplement, chia seeds are super-nutrients that helps control hunger and enhance one’s diet. Chia seeds are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and are also considered a concentrated food as the seeds are loaded with antioxidants, carbohydrates, fiber, calcium and protein.

It’s no wonder why I couldn’t turn a corner at work without seeing ladies spilling this into their yogurts, mixing it into their drinks, or just plain munching on some seeds. And it seemed my own encounter with chia seeds was inevitable as I walked to work and health-food promoters practically threw packets of free chia seeds to me on the street. (Seriously.) 

A couple of these Chia Shots were thrown to me while walking to work…

Chia seeds are derived from a flowering plant known simply as the Chia plant (salvia hispanica) which are native to many areas in central/southern Mexico. The use of chia seeds date back to the times of the Mayans and Aztecs when chia seeds were also eaten as a staple food and believed to be an energy booster. It’s still used in Mexico today as a nutritious food source, ground or sprinkled into drinks or on food.

Not only are these super-nutritious seeds good to eat, they’re also a beneficial natural beauty ingredient. When chia seeds are cold pressed into an oil they have proven to do wonders for skin. Chia seed oil is very moisturizing and hydrating to the skin and can also calm redness due to a high level of vitamin B3, a natural anti-inflammatory. The antioxidants in the oil also help protect skin from free radical damage such as aging and UV rays. Since Chia seeds are rich in omega 3-fatty acids, as an oil, the acids aid in encouraging collagen and elastin formation, allowing skin to stay firm and supple.

Although I’m not hooked on Chia seeds in my daily diet, I think they are a beneficial health supplement. I’ve seen so many more natural/organic beauty products using Chia seeds or oil as an ingredient and I’d love to try some out in my skincare routine! Would you add chia seeds or chia oil to your beauty and health routine?

Products with Chin seed/Chia oil ingredients:

One Love Organics Skin Savior Waterless Beauty Balm

I received a sample of this balm with a recent order from BeautySage and I love it! It’s great to moisture the skin, remove makeup and a favorite use of mine: tame flyaway hairs! I think I’ll purchasing a full-size in the future. The One Love Organics skincare line mostly features Chia seed oil.

Annmarie Gianni Anti-Aging Facial Oil

The chia oil in this product is said to provide an ulta-glowing face and lots of hydration.

 

 

 

 

 

Foods Alive Organic Chia Seed Oil

Last but not least, pure cold-pressed Chia seed oil from Foods Alive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources (click for links): Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics The New York Times Well + Good NYC Prevention.com Organic Authority 

Au Natural Factual Friday: Omega-3 fatty acids

Happy Friday! I’m going to be starting a series every Friday (or every other Friday, depending on my schedule) called, Au Natural Factual Fridays.

I’m excited to delve into this topic where I’ll highlight ingredients, additives, and chemicals prevalent in our food and personal care products (and ones that may be highly talked about) and why you should be familiar with them. I’ll give you basic facts and share tips. Let’s see how this goes!

Remember: everything we put in and on our bodies have potential risk for harm but it’s up to you to become educated and make your own choices when it comes to personal care and dietary habits. I’m just here to share information with you. 

This Friday’s we’re talking about: Omega-3.

Omega-3 (or Omega-3 fatty acids) are a group of fatty acids that are usually discussed in terms of supplemental health.

Omega-3 fatty acids aren’t produced within the body so we obtain these nutrients through food and supplemental products as they have been proven to be essential to body development, basic bodily functions and overall good health.

Fish oil capsules: a source of Omega-3s

Fish oil capsules: a source of Omega-3s

Omega-3s are classified into 3 different types according to the sources they are derived from. They are: ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). ALA Omega-3s are often found in plant oils while EPA and DHA Omega-3s are both commonly found in marine oils. Examples of ALA Omega-3s you may be familiar with are: flaxseed oil, canola, soybean, and Echium oil. While EPA and DHA Omega-3s are found in fatty fish. 

There are many health benefits that researchers have found regarding the intake of Omega-3s ranging from the reduction of heart disease, stroke, Cancer prevention and decreased risk of degenerative diseases. See this detailed list of tests performed by the Mayo Clinic showing proven and unproven benefits: http://tinylink.net/93574

Recently however, Omega-3s have made headlines as the Journal of the National Cancer Institute shared a study which found an increased risk of prostate cancer in men with high blood levels of omega-3s either through regular intake of fish oil supplements or eating cold water fish (eg. Alaskan salmon, mackeral, or sardine).

While the risks and benefits of Omega-3s are still being further researched and understood, it has been concluded that adding more Omega-3s (at your own risk) in our everyday consumption generally benefits your health.

With data showing low levels of Omega-3s among must individuals, specifically low among the average American, and because these are fatty acids our bodies cannot create, eating a source of Omega-3s is important but reliant on your actionsTry to add at least one source of omega-3 fatty acids in your everyday diet by consuming foods with Omega-3 rich ingredients such as walnuts, canola oil, soybean and more regular (but controlled) amounts of fish. 

How I start my day with Omega-3s!

How I start my day with Omega-3s!

My new favorite breakfast cereal from Nature’s Path is a great source of ALA Omega-3s!

Do you eat foods with Omega-3s on a regular basis? Do you plan to include them in your diet and how? Any suggestions? Let me know!

Resources used (hover for links): The Mayo ClinicThe Health JournalHarvard School of Public HealthWikipedia