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Try It: Camelina Oil

The plant-based ingredient can benefit athletes' hearts.

Every athlete knows that education is a crucial part of performance. Sport and exercise research, insight from top trainers, science, and technology help you to better understand your body so you can craft a healthier lifestyle, workouts, and recovery plan.

In our daily news series, experts address some of the latest fitness research, nutrition, style, and health stories.


THE SCIENCE
Consuming camelina oil could help with heart heath, according to a new study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. Participants who added one fluid ounce of the oil to their diets every day for 12 weeks lowered their LDL cholesterol levels more effectively than people who consumed lean or fatty fish during the same time frame.
EXPERT INSIGHT
Camelina oil is made from a wildflower that grows in parts of Europe and Asia and has a mild flavor. It's rich in alpha-linoleic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid produced by plants that has been shown to have heart-protective effects, says study author Ursula Schwab, Ph.D., group leader of nutrition therapy for the University of Eastern Finland’s Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition.

While the study examined people with an impaired metabolism, Schwab believes it would act similarly for a healthy population. Moreover, it can be helpful for those who prefer to follow a plant-based diet.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Adding camelina oil to your diet may help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels and promote heart health. It is higher in alpha-linoleic acid compared to olive or coconut oils and also has a higher smoke point, which makes it ideal for sautéing. You can also use it as a salad dressing or mixed into porridge, says Schwab.