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What is Cold Pressed Flaxseed Oil?

Sara Anastasia
Sara Anastasia

Cold pressed flaxseed oil is a supplement made from the seeds of a flax plant that has been processed at a minimum temperature to preserve its integrity. In some oil-making processes, heat is added to increase product yield but results in degraded flavor and nutrition. When considering purchasing flaxseed oil, the cold pressed variety is usually more expensive but is of optimal quality for taste and health benefits. This type of oil is abundant in essential fatty acids, especially alpha-linolenic, or omega-3, fatty acids. Omega-3 fats are said to protect the body from numerous ailments, including heart disease, hypertension and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.

In deriving flaxseed oil, the oil is extracted from flaxseeds that have been ground into a paste. The paste is stirred very slowly to encourage oil in it to clump. The oil is then withdrawn, either by mixing the paste with warm water or by using slight heat before it is pressed. An alternate method uses an oiled stone to press oil from the paste.


Expeller pressed flaxseed oil can also be labeled as cold pressed if the temperature doesn't rise a great deal during the process — though "expeller pressed" usually means that a higher heat and pressure environment was applied to help break down the seeds. An "expeller cold pressed oil" label can clarify the circumstances. "Cold pressed" label requirements differ depending on where the flaxseed or other types of cold pressed oils were manufactured. For an oil to be considered cold pressed in Europe, it cannot have been processed with temperatures exceeding 80° Fahrenheit (27° Celsius).

In the United States, cold pressed oils aren’t standardized and may not be as genuine. Consumers are encouraged to discern the quality of cold pressed flaxseed oil by taste and smell. The best oils have a light and nutty taste.

The flowers of a flax plant.
The flowers of a flax plant.

This oil is usually found in health food groceries and supplement stores. It easily spoils with exposure to light and oxygen. The best cold pressed flaxseed oil is stored in a tinted glass bottle and needs to be refrigerated at all times. It has a short shelf life and needs to be consumed within a few weeks after opening.

Flaxseed oil supplements are available as a liquid and as a soft gel capsule. The liquid version isn’t meant to be used as cooking oil, though it can be added to cooked foods afterward. Liquids are often used in dips, dressings and smoothies.

Discussion Comments


Are there more benefits from taking organic flaxseed oil vs the ground flaxseed? I buy organic golden flaxseed, grind it up and mix it in with my hot cereal or fruit smoothie. I am just curious if the liquid form has more benefits than the way I am currently using flaxseed?


The only negative thing I have to say about flaxseed oil is the short shelf life. I bought some of this knowing I should be taking it, but not really knowing the best ways to use it. It sat in my refrigerator for months, and I never realized it would go bad after only a few weeks.

This is not all that cheap to buy, so I was pretty frustrated with myself that I let that happen. I never liked taking it by itself, so would add it to smoothies, but this was in the winter when I didn't make smoothies very often.

Since I know there are a lot of benefits of flaxseed oil, I like to take them in a gel form now. This way I get the benefits without wondering how I am going to use it up before it goes bad.


I would have a hard time trying to determine which is a high quality flaxseed oil by taste since I don't care for the taste of this oil. I take flaxseed oil capsules to get the benefits I am looking for.

I find it very interesting that there are not standardizations for cold pressed oils in the United States. I buy my flaxseed oil from a company that I know and trust and they spend a lot of money on scientific research. I feel more comfortable spending my money with this company than I would many of the others out there that I don't know anything about.


When I am buying any kind of oil, I always look for the cold-pressed label. Whenever less processing or heat is used, that makes for a much better product.

When I read about all the flaxseed oil benefits from so many different sources, I decided I needed to add some to my diet. I have arthritis and am looking for ways to reduce the inflammation without taking medication.

It took about 3 months of taking this every day before I felt like I saw results. I am sure it was helping my body in other ways, but for the stiff and sore joints, I had to take it for quite while. Now I would be afraid to stop taking it for fear that I would be really sore all over again.

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