A review was published in a medical journal titled “Flaxseed: A Miraculous Defense Against Some Critical Maladies.” “Miraculous”? Really? Well, a remarkable intervention trial published in the journal Hypertension suggests that, in this case, the term “miraculous” may not be too far off.

Flaxseeds and Hypertension

Researchers designed a prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial so they could randomize subjects into two groups and secretly introduce tablespoons of ground flaxseeds every day into the diets of half the participants to see if it made any difference. After six months, those who ate the placebo foods started out hypertensive and stayed hypertensive, despite the fact that many of them were on a variety of blood pressure pills. What about the hypertensives who were unknowingly eating flaxseeds every day? Their blood pressure dropped from 158/82 down to 143/75. A seven-point drop in diastolic blood pressure may not sound like a lot, but that would be expected to result in 46 percent fewer strokes and 29 percent less heart disease over time.

However, not all studies have shown significant blood pressure–lowering effects. There have been more than a dozen trials by now, involving more than a thousand subjects. And, yes: When you put them all together, overall, there were significant reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressures (the upper and lower numbers) following supplementation with various flaxseed products—but not as dramatic as that six-month trial. The longer trials tended to show better results, and some of the trials just used flaxseed oil or some kind of flaxseed extract. The thought is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, so the many components within flaxseed may all contribute towards blood pressure reduction.

Better Than Pills and Without Bad Side Effects?

In the six-month trial, the flaxseeds managed to drop subjects’ systolic and diastolic blood pressure by up to 15 and 7 points, respectively. Compare that result to the effect of powerful antihypertensive drugs, such as calcium-channel blockers (for example, Norvasc, Cardizem, Procardia), which have been found to reduce blood pressure by only eight and three points, respectively, or to ACE inhibitors (such as Vasotec, Lotensin, Zestril, Altace), which drop patients’ blood pressure by only five and two points, respectively. Ground flaxseeds may work two to three times better than these medicines, and they have only good side effects.

The Power of Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds, known as one of the richest sources of essential omega-3 fatty acids and having around a hundred times more cancer-fighting lignans than other foods, have also been demonstrated to prove helpful against breast and prostate cancers; controlling cholesterol, triglyceride, and blood sugar levels; reducing inflammation; and successfully treating constipation.

The Best Way to Eat Flaxseeds

It’s best to consume ground flaxseeds. They come in nature’s own finest packaging: a hard natural hull that keeps them fresh for up to a year in an airtight container. Unfortunately, nature’s packaging is a little too good. If we eat flaxseeds whole, they are likely to pass right through us, come out the other end, and not do us much good at all. So, if you don’t buy ground flax, be sure to chew them really well or grind them up in a coffee or spice grinder, a mini food processor, or a good blender. After they’re ground, you can store them in the refrigerator, and they’ll last a few months.

What About Flaxseed Oil?

Ground flaxseed is better than the flaxseed oil. The seeds are little nutrition powerhouses, and we lose much of that nutrition when we just press out the oil. Not only are flaxseeds the richest source of lignans, but they are also a great source of iron, zinc, copper, calcium, protein, potassium, magnesium, folate, and soluble fiber—which can lower our cholesterol and triglycerides—and even contain boron, a trace mineral important for optimum bone health. We don’t get any of those, though, with just flaxseed oil.

Cyanide in Flaxseeds?

Flaxseeds have such fantastic benefits that I recommend a minimum of one tablespoon of ground flaxseeds a day in my Daily Dozen, but concerns about the naturally occurring cyanide content have recently surfaced, which is why I only recommend a tablespoon of raw flax a day.

Cooking Flaxseeds

Cooking ground flax in baked goods appears to destroy the cyanide-forming compounds, but it doesn’t destroy their healthful nutrients. Ground flaxseed added to baked goods, for example, has been shown to keep lignan stability up to 350°F (177°C).

For substantiation of any statements of fact from the peer-reviewed medical literature, please see the associated videos below.

53 videos

Subscribe to our free newsletter and receive our Daily Dozen Meal Planning Guide.

Subscribe to our free newsletter and receive our Daily Dozen Meal Planning Guide.

All Videos for Flaxseeds

Pin It on Pinterest