When most people think of oil supplements, they think of fish oil. It has become very popular, and is recommended for many different people due to its wide array of health benefits. Fish oils contain EPA and DHA, which are omega-3 long-chain unsaturated fatty acids. They have anti-inflammatory benefits, have been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol levels, and even can help reduce triglyceride levels and blood-clotting potential. For all of these reasons, fish oil is an important supplement for those who are more prone to cardiovascular disease or who currently suffer from things like high cholesterol or high triglycerides. But the benefits of fish oil go beyond cardiovascular disease prevention and support. Fish oil can also help with joint pain, dry eyes, dry or blemished skin, flexibility, asthma, and more. Although these same health benefits are found in many types of cold-water fish, most of us don’t eat enough cold-water fish so the supplements help. I recommend fish oil for most people, in addition to including high-quality cold-water fish in the diet.
Flaxseed oil is another popular supplement. We frequently use ground flaxseed in our smoothies or yogurt. It can be beneficial for those suffering from obesity, because it helps increase arterial blood flow. Flaxseed oil contains the building blocks for omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, but our bodies must do the conversion themselves to obtain full benefits. Some research suggests our bodies do not efficiently make this conversion, and therefore we should consume other types of oils where the conversion is already made (such as fish oil). I think flaxseed oil is still a great part of a well-rounded diet. It helps with dry skin and is easy to use in smoothies, salad dressings, or on top of cooked veggies.
Wheat Germ Oil
Wheat germ oil can be beneficial for internal use or external application to burns, sores, scars, and other skin problems. Its high vitamin E content helps to protect the health of the skin. I’ve had many knee surgery patients in my family, and vitamin E is always a main component of post-surgery care. Since vitamin E is a strong antioxidant, wheat germ oil is more stable than other oils. However, I’d still recommend keeping it in the fridge, just to be safe.
Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil comes from the seeds of a primrose plant and contains high amounts of GLA, which is similar to omega-6 fatty acids. This plant has been used medicinally for hundreds of years, both externally for skin problems and internally to treat things like asthma, digestive issues, gynecological problems, and to help with wound healing. Some even consider it a “cure-all”. More recent research has revealed even more benefits of evening primrose oil, such as arthritis pain relief, PMS relief, help with eczema, anti-inflammatory effects, and help with cardiovascular disease and allergies. I haven’t tried evening primrose oil personally, but a few of my teachers have brought it up in class as being an amazing oil and recommend keeping it in the house.
These are just four oils that can be used therapeutically as well as for every day nutrition. I love foods like this, because it’s almost as if your refrigerator is also your medicine cabinet – a very appealing thought, at least for me. I recommend just giving one or two of these a try if you believe you could benefit from them. The great thing about using nutrition as medicine is there are rarely any side affects!