- According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, the typical American diet has an omega-6 fatty acids (found in vegetable oils) to omega-3 fatty acids ratio between 10:1 and 15:1. This ratio is linked to numerous diseases. Potent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseed oil and fish oil can tip that ratio toward the healthier ideal ratio of 4:1 for your diet. This ratio is associated with lower incidences of cancer and heart disease.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Fish oil contains docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). You'll find mostly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in flaxseed oil. The body must convert ALA into DHA and EPA to be used in body functions.
- Fish oil supplements may reduce high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels and heart disease, while the link between heart health and flaxseed oil is not as strong. In people with a history of heart attack, flaxseed oil does, however, reduce the risk of suffering another heart attack. It also reduces the risk of fatal heart attacks.
Vegetarian Source of Omega-3s
- Flaxseed oil is a vegetarian alternative to fish oil. One tbsp. of flaxseed oil contains around 7 g of ALA, which can be substituted for 1 g of fish oil.
Flaxseed Oil Precautions
- Physicians typically recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women avoid flaxseed oil. The oil may stimulate menstruation, which is potentially harmful for pregnant women.
Fish Oil Precautions
- Avoid taking large amounts of fish oil. Too much may increase the chance of nosebleeds.