Flaxseed oil has numerous uses as a food ingredient, a health supplement and a type of medicine. It is made by compressing and processing the natural oils found in flax seeds.
There are many recipes that specifically call for flaxseed oil as a main ingredient, such as various types of breads and cookies. It can also serve as a healthy substitute for other types of oils, though it is usually more expensive than vegetable or canola oil. It is also frequently used as an ingredient in margarine.
Flaxseed oil is a popular health supplement because it contains high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids promote a healthy heart and circulatory system. Flaxseed oil is also used to treat physical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and mental conditions such as depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. As flaxseed oil is a polyunsaturated fatty acid containing alpha-linolenic acid, it is also known to decrease swelling and inflammation. This makes it a natural and effective treatment for dry or irritated skin.
The same health benefits in flaxseed oil are also present in whole or ground flax seeds. Ground flax seeds in particular are frequently used in healthy cooking recipes and medicines.