Flaxseed Oil: A Rich Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

by | Updated: July 3rd, 2012 | Read time: 1 minute

Flaxseed oil, also known as flax oil or linseed oil, is obtained from the dried, ripe seeds of the flax plant (Linium usitatissimum). It’s a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 essential fatty acid that’s converted to EPA and DHA, the same fatty acids found in fish that promote healthy heart and brain function. For vegetarians, or those who don’t like seafood, flaxseed oil is the perfect way to obtain these essential nutrients.

You won’t find flaxseed oil next to the canola, olive and other vegetable oils on grocery store shelves. Instead, look in the refrigerator section at your local health food market. Because its chemical components break down if exposed to light, oxygen or heat, flaxseed oil usually comes in an opaque bottle. 

Incorporate thick, rich, nutty-flavored flaxseed oil into your diet by drizzling it over salads, pasta, toasted bread, cereal, popcorn, or potatoes. It’s not recommended for use in high-temperature cooking, however, because heat causes it to lose its beneficial properties.