Frequently Asked Questions
What is Extra Virgin Flax Seed Oil
Flax Seed Oil is the name given to oil extracted from premium quality, food grade Flax seeds (seeds from the European flax plant, also known as linseed, and NOT the native NZ Flax). The seed is grown primarily for its oil content, and the high amount of Omega 3 it contains. We cold-press our seed, and use natural processing techniques to produce high quality Flax Seed Oil. Extra Virgin is the term used (typically by the olive oil industry) to identify premium quality products with excellent taste, chemical and nutritional properties.
Is Flax Seed Oil related to the New Zealand native flax plant?
This is a very common question in New Zealand. Totally Kiwi Flax Seed Oil comes from the seed of the linseed plant (Linum usitatissimum), which is the European flax plant and not the New Zealand native flax plant. Linseed is known as Flax Seed in other parts of the world, particularly in the northern hemisphere, but this can be confusing for New Zealanders because of our native flax plant.
Is Flax Seed Oil the same as Linseed Oil?
No. Whilst the oil comes from the same plant, the grades of seeds used, and the extraction techniques are completely different. Globally, linseed oil is the term used for industrial grade oil used for staining wood for example. For food grade oil, the term used is flax seed oil. Therefore you will only ever find flax seed oil in health stores for human consumption.
Where does Totally Kiwi Flax Seed Oil come from?
Our seed is grown for us annually by a group of arable farmers in the Canterbury region. We monitor the crops right from when the seed goes into the ground through to harvest. We then cold press the seed at our cold pressing plant in Ashburton, to extract the oil from the seed – from Soil to Oil ®
What is cold pressing?
Cold pressed Flax Seed Oil is obtained by ‘squeezing’ the oil out of the seed, without the use of heat, chemicals or solvents. Cold pressed oils retain all of their flavor, aroma, and nutritional value, and are considered to be healthier than conventionally made oil because of the lack of heat and chemicals in the production process. Our established Ashburton plant has been dedicated to producing cold pressed Flax Seed Oil since 1987. Some large scale Flax Seed Oil producers use solvent extraction, exposing the seed to heat and solvents, which damage the health giving properties of the oil. Some also refine, deodorise and bleach the oil, which produces a colourless, bland and odourless oil.
What does Flax Seed Oil look and taste like?
Good quality Flax Seed Oil that is cold pressed should be a bright golden colour, with a fresh nutty aroma and delicate taste. There should be no nasty after-taste or bitterness to it, and it certainly should not be brown or clear!
What is Omega 3?
Omega 3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are essential nutrients for health. We need omega 3 fatty acids for numerous normal body functions, such as controlling blood clotting and building cell membranes, as well as normal growth and development. Our bodies cannot make omega 3 fats, so we must get them through food (hence the term ‘essential’ fatty acids). Research shows that omega 3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, and may help lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis. New studies are also identifying potential benefits for a wide range of conditions including inflammatory bowel disease, and other autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
It is important to have the proper ratio of omega 3 and omega 6 (another essential fatty acid) in the diet. While omega 3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation, most omega 6 fatty acids tend to promote inflammation. The ideal ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 in the diet is considered to be 1:1. However today the ratio in the typical Western diet is over 20:1! Omega 6 is primarily sourced from corn, soy, canola, safflower, and sunflower oils. These are overabundant in the typical diet, which accounts for excess omega 6 levels. Many health professionals believe that one of the causes of cardiovascular and inflammatory type conditions seen today is this profound imbalance in Omega 3 and 6.
Is Flax Seed Oil a healthy fat? Does it contain other Omegas?
Our Flax Seed Oil contains around 60% Omega 3, 15% Omega 6 and 15% Omega 9. Omega 3 and 6 are both polyunsaturated fatty acids, one of the healthy fats. Omega 9 is a monounsaturated fatty acid, another healthy fat. TK Flax Seed Oil contains over 90% poly and monounsaturated fats, so a very healthy oil!
Both monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats can have a positive effect on our health. The ‘bad’ fats, saturated fats and trans fats, can negatively affect our health. Studies show that eating foods rich in poly and monounsaturated fats improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease the risk of heart disease. Research also shows they help decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes. They also provide nutrients to help develop and maintain the body’s cells. Oils rich in polyunsaturated fats also contribute vitamin E to the diet. Our Flax Seed Oil also contains naturally occurring Vitamin E
Flax Seed Oil helps to support healthy skin and joints, brain and cardio vascular function, and helps to re-address any imbalance of the Omega 3: Omega 6 ratio in our diet. There is scientific research and belief to suggest that one of the causes of cardio-vascular disease and inflammatory conditions is the increase in Omega 6 in our diets. We are now eating more grains, consuming more fast food, and using vegetable oils such as sunflower and corn, all high in Omega 6. As a result, our diets now contain 10 to 15 times more Omega 6 than Omega 3. A healthy ratio is considered to be around 2:1.
Totally Kiwi flax seed oil provides nutrients for:
- Balancing inflammation & supporting joint health
- Nourishing skin, hair and nails (good for eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis)
- Maintaining healthy cholesterol & blood pressure
- Maintaining healthy digestion and bowel health
- Maintaining healthy hormone levels
- Maintaining energy levels
- Supporting brain function & development
- Supporting cardiovascular circulation & organ health (flax seed oil is one of the healthiest oils for heart health. There is research to show that each 1% increase in ALA can reduce the risk of CVD by 10%!)
As mentioned above, Flax Seed Oil is a very healthy oil for the heart. Omega 3 helps to reduce the stickiness of the platelets in the blood, having a thinning effect and hence helping to reduce thrombosis and clots, strokes etc. Therefore any customer who is taking thinning agents for the blood (stroke victims, those taking warfarin for example) should consult their doctor before taking a lot of flax seed oil.
Fish Oil or Flax Seed Oil?
For vegetarians the answer is simple – Flax Seed Oil. But for the rest of us, there are pros and cons to both. Fish Oil contains the omega 3’s EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), whilst Flax Seed Oil contains the parent omega 3 ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). The body needs all 3 of these omega 3’s, so ideally consumers should be eating fish and also flax seed oil, in order to get all three of these essential fatty acids.
The advantages of Flax Seed Oil over Fish Oil include:
- Delicate nutty taste, very palatable
- More versatile - it can easily be added to your meals and recipes
- Also contains Omega 6 and 9 which fish oil does not
- No contaminants. Concerns have grown during the past several decades about toxic contaminants in fish. Contaminants in fish can include mercury, and other heavy metals.
- Flax seed is a sustainable crop, grown annually, so no depletion of the oceans
Can I cook with Flax Seed Oil?
Oils that are high in essential fatty acids, such as Flax Seed Oil, should not be heated to high temperatures. They have a low smoke point (around 180 degrees), so are not recommended for frying. Therefore, we recommend adding Flax Seed Oil to foods after they are cooked. For example, if you grill, bake or sear meat you can add flax seed oil onto the meat after it is finished cooking to increase the heart healthy benefits of that meal, or stir through casseroles, soups, etc
How do I store TK Flax Seed Oils?
We recommend keeping your oil in the fridge once opened. Essential fatty acids are easily damaged by oxygen, UV light and heat, hence we only use dark coloured glass for our packaging. We recommend always replacing the cap, storing in a dark pantry, and keeping in the fridge once opened.
Is Flax Seed Oil suitable for people with food allergies and intolerances?
Our Flax Seed Oils are 100% oil. They are GMO free, gluten and lactose free. We only process Flax Seed Oil at our plant, so our oils are free of any traces of nuts, soy, and other known allergens.
How much should I take?
We recommend between 5ml (3ml of omega 3 ALA) and 20ml (12ml of omega 3 ALA) per day, according to the body weight, and if inflammatory conditions are being addressed. Incorporating the oil in our diets as a dip, drizzle or dressing equates approximately to these amounts daily.
Why does the bottle show a Traceability reference? What is this?
This Traceability reference allows you to go on to the TK website (www.totallykiwi.co.nz) and see the location of the grower of the seed used to produce your oil, together with images of the crop being grown. The origin of the ingredients in our food has grown in importance as reports of adulteration occur from around the world. Consumers are calling for increased transparency, credibility and accountability from food manufacturers and suppliers.
What are the infusions in the TK Flax Seed Oils?
We only use natural extracts and essential oils to infuse the oils with flavours. For example, we use Chinese Garlic essential oil, extracted using steam distillation, for our Garlic infusion. For our Citrus infusion we use lime essential oil expressed from whole crushed Mexican limes, and lemon essential oil extracted by cold pressing Italian lemons.
Does TK Flax Seed Oils come in different size bottles, and catering size bottles?
At the moment the oils available in 100ml and 250ml bottles. We will soon have the Original available in a 500ml bottles for retail.
Is your packaging recyclable?
Yes, we use glass bottles, with metal tamper evident caps and pull tab overcaps. We also use paper labels. All of this packaging can be recycled
Why is the price relatively expensive compared to other oils?
TK Flax seed oils are all New Zealand grown, cold pressed and naturally processed, to ensure the oils are 100% pure and natural with a great taste. They are packaged in dark glass bottles (glass doesn’t ‘breathe’ like plastic), and flushed with inert gas, to protect the quality and taste of the oil. Our infusions are natural, essential oils, and not artificial flavours. These factors all contribute to a premium price for a premium product, as with many other gourmet quality edible oils.
How much do you charge for shipping?
All of our products are shipped out to you free of charge. All prices listed on the website are freight inclusive. What you see is what you pay.