You probably know that olive oil and fish oil are good for your heart. And you can also add coconut oil to the list.
But a study has discovered that another oil may do far more to prevent heart disease than any of these. And, chances are, you haven’t heard of it.
Camelina oil comes from the seeds of the cold-climate plant camelina sativa. It’s also known as false flax and gold-of-pleasure. It’s native to Europe and Central Asia.i
Camelina is part of the brassica family, which also includes broccoli, cauliflower, and kale.ii
Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland tested of camelina oil’s health benefits against those of fish. Fish and fish oil pills are often recommended to prevent heart disease.iii
Better for Your Heart Than Oily Fish
The 79 participants were randomly divided in four groups. Each followed one of these diets for 12 weeks:
- Ate lean fish such as cod or bass four times per week.
- Ate fatty salmon or mackerel four times per week.
- Took a daily 30-ml dose of camelina oil.
- Ate their normal diet (control group).
Afterward, the lean fish group and the control group showed no improvement in their cholesterol profile.
The fatty fish group improved their HDL cholesterol composition. Both the size of their good cholesterol particles and the amount increased, which is good for heart health.
But the group that took camelina oil daily had a greater benefit. They improved their HDL profile like the fatty fish group. But they also decreased their levels of a lipoprotein called IDL. It’s associated with heart disease.
The study was published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.
4 Camelina Oil Health Benefits
Camelina is extremely rich in alpha-linolenic acid. This is an essential omega-3 fatty acid. Researchers believe this is the key ingredient that makes it so good for heart health. But it also has other health-boosting properties:
- Antioxidant. Camelina oil is a strong antioxidant due to its high vitamin E content.
- Anti-inflammatory. It strongly inhibits inflammation both topically and when ingested.
- Anti-arthritic. Because of its high omega-3 content, it can alleviate arthritis pain. Patients apply the oil topically on the affected joints or ingest the oil.
- Slows brain aging. There is some evidence that camelina oil may protect against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Its high omega-3 content tamps down brain inflammation that can lead to cognitive decline.
Each tablespoon of the oil provides four grams of omega-3s. That’s 40 times more than olive oil and nearly three times more than most fish oils.iv v vi
Camelina oil also contains a rare and powerful fatty acid called gondoic acid. It has been shown to improve a person’s lipid profile to reduce heart risk.vii
Camelina oil has no known side effects or drug interactions.
How to Add Camelina Oil to Your Diet
Camelina oil has a slightly nutty flavor. It can be used in salad dressings or as a cooking oil. Its extremely high smoking point of 475 degrees makes it a good choice for frying or sautéing.viii
You can also take camelina oil as a daily supplement. The Finnish researchers used 30 ml, which is just over two tablespoons. Unlike many fish oils, it does not have a disagreeable flavor.
You can buy camelina oil online and at some health food stores. But be sure to get a cold-pressed brand, not one that’s heat-extracted. This should be noted on the label. Cold pressing allows the oil to retain its nutrients.
One advantage of camelina oil is that it doesn’t spoil as quickly as other healthy oils. The shelf life is 24 months from the date of processing. It should be stored at room temperature and away from heat and direct sunlight.ix
Camelina oil is not as well known as other healthy oils, but it is a true super-food.
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