You’ve probably heard of fl axseed as a “super food” and a cure-all for everything from cancer to high cholesterol. Flaxseeds are put in everything from cereal and margarine to egg-replacement products today. Yet fl axseed is not a time-tested food product. Originally, our native ancestors didn’t consider fl ax a food. They turned fl ax fi bers into linen and rope, and if they used the fl ax seeds, it was to feed their animals.
When agriculture took over from the hunter-gatherer way of life, people began to crack open the fl ax seeds to make oil – you may know it as linseed oil – for paints, wood varnishes and skin ointments. But in its natural form, the seed of the fl ax plant does nothing for you. Your body isn’t built to digest it.
Flaxseed oil isn’t saturated which means it could easily become rancid, especially when it’s heated for the detoxifi cation processing. It can even become rancid before it hits the shelves at your local health food store. And rancid oil is not something you want to put in your body. It can be strongly toxic.
Flaxseed is quickly replacing fi sh oil because it contains omega-3 fatty acids. But fl axseed doesn’t have the kind of omega-3 your body needs. It has short chain omega-3 and some omega-6 that your body does not need. You need the EPA and DHA forms of omega-3 to promote proper body function. Flaxseed does not contain EPA and DHA. In one respect, fi sh oil is defi nitely “better” than fl ax seed oil.
Fish oil contains two omega-3s that are especially important: EPA and DHA. The body uses EPA to create many hormone-like substances that reduce infl ammation and other “excited” states in the body, such as raised blood pressure. Also, eight percent of the brain is composed of EPA and DHA, and one wants to be sure this 8% stays healthy!
Taking fi sh oil can guarantee that the body gets enough of these two vital omega-3s. Fish oil decreases infl ammation and prevents pressure overload-induced cardiac dysfunction.
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