Camelina Oil: What Your Cooking Has Been Missing

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH; Justin Lam, ABAAHP, FMNM


Natural camelina oilFor those who prepare their meals at home, there are a wide variety of options available. More ingredients are available from all over the world that you can buy at your local grocer than at any other time in history. There are many cooking oils to choose from too. But most people have not heard of camelina oil. It’s their loss. This little-known oil packs anti-inflammatory properties and a balanced omega fatty-acid profile that could make it perfect for supporting a body weakened by stress. It also tastes great and is an excellent cooking oil. It could be what your recipes have been needing.

What is Camelina Oil?

Camelina oil is oil that has been extracted from an ancient oilseed crop known as Camelina sativa, which is native to central Asia and Europe. The plant was grown throughout Europe in the 1940’s until other crops with higher yields became more readily available. Today, it is only being cultivated in the United States, Canada, Italy, and Slovenia.

This oil has light earthy and nutty tones. Camelina also has a relatively higher smoke point of 475 degrees Fahrenheit. That is much higher than canola, grape seed, coconut, and even olive oil. This makes it perfect for any type of cooking.

Camelina Oil Benefits

Aside from being perfect for just about any culinary use, this oil has also been linked to several benefits for the body. These include improving heart health while also maintaining good eye, nerve, and brain health.

Camelina boasts several essential nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. It also contains these omega fatty acids in the proper balance, which is much healthier for your body.

Your Omega-6 to Omega-3 Fatty-Acid Ratio

Without a doubt, the omega fatty acids are essential in maintaining one’s health, especially when it comes to the adrenal glands.

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of essential fats that your body is not capable of producing on its own. Foods rich in these fatty acids include fish, other seafood, plant oils, flaxseeds, and walnuts.

Omega-3 fatty acids are also key components of phospholipids that form the structures of your body’s cell membranes. They also help provide the body energy while also being used to form eicosanoids. These are signaling molecules with varied functions in your body’s immune, pulmonary, endocrine, and cardiovascular systems. In addition, these fatty acids are involved in the production of hormones that are used to regulate various functions in the body, including the contraction and relaxation of your artery walls, inflammation, and blood clotting.

On the other hand, omega-6 fatty acids are typically derived from linoleic acid. This type of fatty acid has been associated with the prevention of cardiovascular disease. However, most people’s diets contain too many omega-6 fatty acids, which can have an inflammatory effect. Similar to omega-3 fatty acids, one can also acquire omega-6 fatty acids through food, namely nuts, seeds, grains, leafy vegetables, and certain vegetable oils.

While both types of essential fatty acids are beneficial to one’s health, it is important to maintain the right balance of omega-6 to omega-3 to keep your body healthy, especially in times of stress. This is necessary because these essential fatty acids stimulate inflammation differently. Whereas omega-3 fatty acids possess anti-inflammatory properties, omega-6 fatty acids tend to be pro-inflammatory.

Diets that are low in omega-3 but rich in omega-6 tend to cause inflammation, as found by a study conducted by the National Research Council in Italy. Moreover, a study conducted by The Center for Genetics, Nutrition, and Health in Washington, DC also found that a very high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is associated with several diseases including inflammatory diseases, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer. Meanwhile, when omega-3 levels were increased, it resulted in the prevention of cardiovascular disease as well as a 70 percent lower mortality rate.

Ideally, the proper ratio should be much lower than the 15:1 many people get. A ratio of 2:1 has been shown to suppress inflammation among patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Meanwhile, a ratio of 5:1 benefited patients suffering from asthma. Indeed, a similar ratio would also benefit those dealing with stress.

Whenever you experience a stressful episode, the body automatically responds with the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response system. The NEM stress response uses six sets of organs, or circuits, to manage these responses. This includes the inflammation response and the hormone response, which involve the adrenal glands.

Stress and camelinaWhen under stress, the inflammation response works by creating a hostile environment for all the harmful intruders, including toxins, parasites, bacteria, and viruses. It then proceeds to clean away cells and tissues that have already sustained damage from the immune system’s attack, injury, or pathogens.

Meanwhile, inflammation can also be induced by stress. In fact, one study published in 2013 found that chronic stress can change the gene activity of immune cells right before they enter your bloodstream. This makes them ready to fight off a trauma or infection even when none exist. Because of this, there is an increase in inflammation in the body.

According to studies, having consistent low-grade inflammation can also affect the brain’s ability to deal with stress. This is because inflammation increases the permeability of your gut lining and allows toxins to enter your system while causing a depression in the central nervous system. This may explain why an anti-inflammatory diet can help relieve depression in some cases.

Problems also occur once the inflammation response of the NEM has been disrupted. These include food sensitivities, slow healing, musculoskeletal pain, GI tract disorders, recurring infections, and more. In addition, it was also found in a 2017 study that chronic inflammation, which is linked to chronic stress, is associated with several serious diseases such as atherosclerosis, depression, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

This is why, in order to ensure that your body’s inflammation response is as effective and efficient as possible, you need to make sure that you are getting the right ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. You will not only be able to deal with stress better, you will also have a better chance of avoiding Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS).

Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Adrenal Fatigue

Aside from achieving the necessary balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, the omega-3 acids in this healthy oil have also been shown to be quite beneficial when it comes to helping the body deal with stress.

As your body experiences a stressful episode, the adrenal glands prepare you for a fight or flight response by producing more of the primary stress hormone cortisol. Typically, the amount of cortisol is reduced as the stress is resolved. However, when faced with chronic stress, your adrenal glands are essentially pushed to the limit.

It is forced to keep producing cortisol to deal with unending stress until, finally, it can no longer keep up with demand. When this happens, you experience a hormonal imbalance. This, in turn, can cause AFS and manifest in various symptoms such as irritability, panic attacks, foggy thinking, anxiety, low blood pressure, heart palpitations, low libido, exhaustion, temperature intolerance, muscle mass loss, muscle pain, fertility problems, and more.

camelina and AFSTo avoid suffering from AFS and its symptoms, your body needs nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, which are capable of lowering cortisol in your body. In fact, one study conducted by Hôpital de la Cavale Blanche in Brest, France found that a diet high in omega-3 can inhibit adrenal activation as triggered by mental stress. Meanwhile, another study conducted by the Ohio State University College of Medicine found that supplementing with omega-3 can help lower both anxiety and inflammation among medical students.

Because omega-3 is present in camelina oil, there is no doubt that it can help greatly in alleviating stress and anxiety. This, in turn, goes a long way in helping to prevent adrenal fatigue.

Cooking with Camelina: Recipes for Your Health

Now that you know a lot more about this incredibly healthy oil, it’s time to discover how you can utilize camelina oil in your kitchen.

However, before you try any new foods, especially if you have AFS or other health conditions, it may be a good idea to consult with your physician or have a food allergy test done. Some people are more prone to food sensitivities and paradoxical reactions with adrenal fatigue.

That said, here are some recipes featuring this amazing oil, which are perfect for your adrenal health:

Fruity Chicken Liver Salad

Ingredients A

  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • ¾ pounds chicken liver, chopped
  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 1 cup arugula leaves
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • 1 green apple, cored and sliced
  • ½ cup hazelnuts

Ingredients B

  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup camelina oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. From ingredients A, heat the oil and cook chicken liver over medium heat until golden brown. Set aside.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients A items in a mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine ingredients B. Season with salt and pepper before mixing well.
  4. Toss the cooked chicken liver into the bowl with ingredients A before pouring on the ingredient B mixture.

Beef Stir-Fry

Ingredients A

  • 2 tablespoons camelina oil
  • 1 pound organic lean beef meat, sliced

Ingredients B

  • ½ inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 large white onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder

Method

  1. Take ingredients A and heat oil over medium heat. Add the beef slices and stir.
  2. Add ingredients B and continue cooking until beef is cooked through. Serve immediately.

Healthy Brownies

Ingredients A

  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • ¾ cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup cocoa powder

Ingredients B

  • 6 organic eggs
  • ¾ cup honey
  • 1 cup camelina oil
  • 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract

Method

  1. Grease or line a 9×9 brownie tin with wax paper.
  2. Preheat your oven to 320 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. In a large bowl, take ingredients A and mix well.
  4. In another bowl, combine ingredients B and mix before stirring into ingredients A.
  5. Stir well before pouring the mixture into the prepared brownie tin.
  6. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until they are firm and cooked in the center.
  7. Allow brownies to cool for ten minutes before slicing and serving.

camelina oil useNow you are ready to enjoy camelina oil!

Without a doubt, this new oil can make your body much healthier. There are many more ways to include it in your dishes. Remember, just a little drizzle can go a long way in helping you manage stress and preventing adrenal fatigue from taking over your life.

 
© Copyright 2018 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.


Dr. Lam’s Key Question

Camelina oil is extracted from the Camelina sativa oilseed. It contains a well-balanced ratio of omega-3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which can help prevent Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. In addition, it also has a high smoke point, making it ideal for various cooking methods.


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