Flax Seeds for Hypertension

Flax Seeds for Hypertension
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Extraordinary results reported in a rare example of a double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of a dietary intervention (flaxseeds) to combat one of our leading killers, high blood pressure.

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A recent article in the journal Meat Science acknowledged that “a sector of the population perceives meat as a food that is detrimental to their health” because of studies associating meat consumption with heart disease and cancer. “For these reasons, these meat consumers look for healthier food alternatives as a means to maintain good health;” so, this represents a good opportunity for the industry to develop some new products. Natural foods could be added to meat to reach those health-oriented consumers by boosting antioxidant levels, for example. Foods like flax seeds and tomatoes are healthy, associated with reduced risks of cancer and cardiovascular disease. So, by making flax seed-tomato burgers, they figure they can reduce saturated fat intake and maybe eat less sugar somehow? It’s like their flax seed-fed pork idea, to produce “enriched lard.” Wouldn’t it be easier to just cut out the middle-pig and eat flax seeds ourselves?

Flax seeds have been described as a “miraculous defense against some critical maladies.” I’m a fan of flax, but this title seemed a bit over exuberant; I figured something just got lost in translation. But then, I saw this study, and realized maybe that title was not too far off.

Rarely do we see a dietary study of this caliber. A prospective, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized trial—you know how hard that is in a nutrition study? For drugs it’s easy, you have two identical looking pills: one’s active, one’s placebo, and until the end of the study neither the researcher nor the patient has any idea which is which, hence, double blind. But people tend to notice what they’re eating. So, how did they sneak a quarter cup of ground flax seeds into half of the people’s diets without them knowing? They created all these various flax- or placebo-containing foods, and even added bran and molasses to match the color and texture; so, it was all a big secret–until six months later, when they broke the code to see who ate which.

Why test it on hypertension? Because having a systolic blood pressure over 115—that’s the top number—may be the single most important determinant for death in the world today. If you take a bunch of older folks, most of them on an array of blood pressure pills and don’t improve their diet at all, despite the drugs, they may start out, on average, hypertensive and stay hypertensive six months later. But those who were unknowingly eating ground flax seeds every day dropped their systolic blood pressure about ten points, and their diastolic, the lower number, by about seven points. That might not sound like a lot, but a drop like that could cut stroke risk 46%, heart disease 29%, and that ten-point drop in the top number could have a similar effect on strokes and heart attacks. And for those who started out over 140, they got a 15-point drop. “In summary, flaxseed induced one of the most potent antihypertensive effects ever achieved by a dietary intervention.” In other words, the magnitude of this decrease in blood pressure demonstrated by dietary flax seeds, is as good or better than any other nutritional interventions, and comparable to many drugs, which can have serious side effects. And they’re not exaggerating about the comparable to drugs bit. The flax seeds dropped systolic and diastolic up to 15 and 7. Compare that to powerful ACE inhibitors, like Vasotec, which may drop pressures only 5 and 2. Calcium channel blockers, like Norvasc or Cardizem, 8 and 3–half of what the flax can do. Side effects include… Compare this list to the side effect of flax seeds–its pleasant nutty flavor.

During the six-month trial, there were strokes and heart attacks in both groups. Even if the flax seeds can cut risk in half, though, any avoidable risk is unacceptable. Isn’t high blood pressure just inevitable as we get older? No. The prevalence of hypertension does increase dramatically with age, but not for everyone. People who eat more plant-based diets or keep their salt intake low enough tend not to exhibit any change in blood pressure with advancing age. So, flax is great, but always better to prevent the disease in the first place.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to John and Anni Winings via Flickr.

A recent article in the journal Meat Science acknowledged that “a sector of the population perceives meat as a food that is detrimental to their health” because of studies associating meat consumption with heart disease and cancer. “For these reasons, these meat consumers look for healthier food alternatives as a means to maintain good health;” so, this represents a good opportunity for the industry to develop some new products. Natural foods could be added to meat to reach those health-oriented consumers by boosting antioxidant levels, for example. Foods like flax seeds and tomatoes are healthy, associated with reduced risks of cancer and cardiovascular disease. So, by making flax seed-tomato burgers, they figure they can reduce saturated fat intake and maybe eat less sugar somehow? It’s like their flax seed-fed pork idea, to produce “enriched lard.” Wouldn’t it be easier to just cut out the middle-pig and eat flax seeds ourselves?

Flax seeds have been described as a “miraculous defense against some critical maladies.” I’m a fan of flax, but this title seemed a bit over exuberant; I figured something just got lost in translation. But then, I saw this study, and realized maybe that title was not too far off.

Rarely do we see a dietary study of this caliber. A prospective, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized trial—you know how hard that is in a nutrition study? For drugs it’s easy, you have two identical looking pills: one’s active, one’s placebo, and until the end of the study neither the researcher nor the patient has any idea which is which, hence, double blind. But people tend to notice what they’re eating. So, how did they sneak a quarter cup of ground flax seeds into half of the people’s diets without them knowing? They created all these various flax- or placebo-containing foods, and even added bran and molasses to match the color and texture; so, it was all a big secret–until six months later, when they broke the code to see who ate which.

Why test it on hypertension? Because having a systolic blood pressure over 115—that’s the top number—may be the single most important determinant for death in the world today. If you take a bunch of older folks, most of them on an array of blood pressure pills and don’t improve their diet at all, despite the drugs, they may start out, on average, hypertensive and stay hypertensive six months later. But those who were unknowingly eating ground flax seeds every day dropped their systolic blood pressure about ten points, and their diastolic, the lower number, by about seven points. That might not sound like a lot, but a drop like that could cut stroke risk 46%, heart disease 29%, and that ten-point drop in the top number could have a similar effect on strokes and heart attacks. And for those who started out over 140, they got a 15-point drop. “In summary, flaxseed induced one of the most potent antihypertensive effects ever achieved by a dietary intervention.” In other words, the magnitude of this decrease in blood pressure demonstrated by dietary flax seeds, is as good or better than any other nutritional interventions, and comparable to many drugs, which can have serious side effects. And they’re not exaggerating about the comparable to drugs bit. The flax seeds dropped systolic and diastolic up to 15 and 7. Compare that to powerful ACE inhibitors, like Vasotec, which may drop pressures only 5 and 2. Calcium channel blockers, like Norvasc or Cardizem, 8 and 3–half of what the flax can do. Side effects include… Compare this list to the side effect of flax seeds–its pleasant nutty flavor.

During the six-month trial, there were strokes and heart attacks in both groups. Even if the flax seeds can cut risk in half, though, any avoidable risk is unacceptable. Isn’t high blood pressure just inevitable as we get older? No. The prevalence of hypertension does increase dramatically with age, but not for everyone. People who eat more plant-based diets or keep their salt intake low enough tend not to exhibit any change in blood pressure with advancing age. So, flax is great, but always better to prevent the disease in the first place.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to John and Anni Winings via Flickr.

Doctor's Note

And that’s not all flax can do. Check out:

Hibiscus tea may help with high blood pressure as well: Hibiscus Tea vs. Plant-Based Diets for Hypertension

Diet can also play an important role in preventing heart disease (One in a Thousand: Ending the Heart Disease Epidemic) and diabetes (Plant-Based Diets and Diabetes). In some cases diet can even reverse some of the worst ravages of high blood pressure: Kempner Rice Diet: Whipping Us Into Shape.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

181 responses to “Flax Seeds for Hypertension

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  1. Glad I bought some Milled Flaxseed the other day for my cereal. I noticed in the transcript, it repeats itself. Was that supposed to happen?




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  2. Too sad that I drop my flaxseed intake in the past few month.. Now it’s time to boost my consumption again. Even if I know that I’ll probably never suffer from hypertension, flax are still the highest food source of plant-based omega 3 and cancer fighting lignan..
    Anybody got tips to boost one’s flaxseed intake ?




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            1. Your kosher salt sodium estimate looks about 2.5x too high. By my calculations, it’s more like 1 g total for both baking powder and the salt, making it about 110 mg sodium per serving. Not very high if you’re eating 1500-2000 mg/day and eating it as a meal (breakfast) replacement. Anyone who’s restricting sodium severely would know to omit it as Raisa suggested.




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      1. They sound good and thanks for the link, but in reality they only have 1/18 cup of flax seeds per bar. If my math is any good it would take 4 bars to get 1/4 cup of flax and then the fat would be 36 g which is pretty high in my opinion.




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      1. Thanks for your reply, but sorry I’ll pass on the 5 eggs recipe.. this is almost 1000mg cholesterol for a piece of bread.. I plan to keep my healthy cholesterol level, so I’ll put oats instead.




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        1. Dr. Greger says it will last months in the fridge. Just buy enough ground flax for a month or two. I might buy a grinder eventually




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        2. I keep milled flaxseed flour in the freezer and sprinkle it on my homemade cereal of steelcut oats, buckwheat, walnuts and raisins with cinnamon, never noticed any rancid smell or taste. All of these are beneficial in terms of blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol in slightly different ways. I make a big batch to last a few days, microwave it the night before to give time for absorption. I try to start each day with a healthy meal and then I can go to hell with myself the rest of the day with a clear conscience!

          My total cholesterol is good and my HDL has been over 100 even before I started adding flax to my trailmix, really more interested in it’s BP lowering benefits.

          I’d rather spend a few mins each morning making cereal than drag my ass into multiple doctors offices twice a year for each to see how the meds are working!




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    1. Hi Adrien!
      you can add 1 TS (10 g) grounded flaxseed to a cup of turmeric milk, and eat it as it is, or add it to buckwheat flakes or oatmeal.
      Here’s the recipe of my turmeric milk:
      Mix in a pan:
      – some black pepper,
      -1/2 ts turmeric,
      – 1/2 ts cardamom,
      – 1/2 ts cinnamon,
      – 1/2 ts ginger,
      – 1 cup of non-dairy milk.

      Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently uncovered for about 15 minutes, stirring now and then.




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    2. Grind up 2 tablespoons daily and add to mashed banana, dry oat, cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, handful of ground nuts, and your favourite plant-based milk (soy, almond, coconut) or add 2tbs to your favourite smoothie! All you need is 2 tbs to get recommended daily intake! Hope this helps!




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    3. Flax seed oil! Add a tsp to your toast, use it as a dipping oil or even drizzle it on salad! It is a delicious way to add this healthy super seed to your diet! Be sure to never heat flax oil, it has a low smoke point and will become rancid! Enjoy!




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  3. A quarter cup is a lot of flax seed. I do have a tendency to high blood pressure, but a quarter cup is 4 times more than I take. If I take a quarter cup, don’t I also have to increase omega 6 fats to balance out the omega 3s?




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    1. I would say that depends on where you are in omega 6s. I think recommendations run from 4:1 to 1:1 so you have a lot of latitude (and it is possible that missing on the 1:1 side is healthier than missing on the 4:1 side…)




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  4. Nina Teicholz was interviewed today on the CBC Radio program “The Current”. In her book, “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet” she seems to argue with some persuasiveness that saturated fat from meat, diary and eggs can form part of a healthy diet. Dr. Greger, I would be very grateful to have your comment.




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    1. I stopped reading the book when I saw that early in the book the author had given the structure of a hydrocarbon as the structure of a fatty acid, proving that she doesn’t even have the basic knowledge of the pertinent science.




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    2. See the Doctor’s recent video
      The Saturated Fat Studies: Buttering Up the Public
      Everyone is on the butter and bacon bandwagon now. It’s all based on contrived research which is explained in the above video and the desire to make a buck by appealing to the gullibility of people wanting to hear good news about their bad habits.




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    3. I’ve been blocked by Nina on Twitter. Like Jimmy Moore, she blocks everyone who disagrees with her openly on social media. I had to laugh at her comment that those who challenge her “don’t make sustained arguments”. Blocking people just makes it look that way.

      Follow the money. Nina is.

      https://mobile.twitter.com/bigfatsurprise/status/468576257643667456

      Fortunately, there are several NON-vegetarians who have done a fair bit of fact checking Teicholz’s primary references. Most of her study citations and many of her other references don’t say what she claims they do.

      Seth Yoder

      https://thescienceofnutrition.wordpress.com/tag/nina-teicholz/

      …and Evelyn Kocur. You can plug Nina Teicholz in the search field at her blog :

      http://carbsanity.blogspot.com

      Or follow the first several links in this Google search.

      https://www.google.com/search?q=nina+teicholz+carbsanity.blogspot.com&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&client=safari

      I’ll leave it to you to decide if her problem is journalistic integrity or flat out incompetence.




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    4. Thank-you all for the responses here.

      I suspect it will not be easy for the lay person to decide which side has the better science.

      As I look at the debate, two things stand out. First, Dr. Greger is outlining what genuinely seems to be a path to better health, whereas Ms. Teicholz’s agenda seems to be more about blame shifting (i.e. from fats to carbs). Second, I think Dr. Greger has been fairly transparent about the economic interests surrounding his work, whereas Ms. Teicholz’s seems not to have been.




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      1. I heard the interview, too. I wasn’t particularly convinced by her arguments, although she is articulate. She sounded like a politician sticking and repeating ad nauseum her speaking points. CBC had a bureaucrat in from Health Canada as a rebuttal, and I don’t believe the reporter treated him fairly. They really should have brought in the new President of the American Cardiological Association who has said that to eliminate heart disease and put cardiologists out of business, doctors should be prescribing the vegan diet.




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    1. I actually found this video upsetting. I’ve been eating freshly ground flax seeds in my breakfast cereals since I started on the WFPB/no-oil regimen over a year ago. Yet, my BP has remained elevated. Doctors, even those who offered me prescriptions for lisinopril, never told me that my fairly consistent systolic—in the 130s to 140s—was dangerous. I’ve found indifference. Clearly, the two or three TBLS of flax that I’ve been grinding is not adequate. I didn’t take the drug, but perhaps I should? Not a drug taker, which is why I was so glad to learn about WFPB/no oil eating. I’m old/been over many hills, but hadn’t been aware of healthy eating.




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      1. Congratulations on switching to a healthier diet. Your BP is probably lower than if you had not changed your diet. In following patients who have switched to a plant based diet we often see an initial lowering in of BP in the first week or so. My guess is that this reflects improvement in the nitrous oxide system. Studies suggest that you will see continued improvement over months and years. One intervention study showed reduction of 8/5 in the first year. Another study showed greater improvement over length of time. You might benefit from reading Dr. John McDougall’s November 2009 newsletter article, How I treat patients with elevated blood pressure. Many physicians are over-treating patients with blood pressure. Each person is a bit different but if you keep following NutritionFacts.org you will certainly be aware of what constitutes healthy eating. You want to make sure you are getting adequate Vitamin B12… http://nutritionfacts.org/video/vitamin-b12-recommendation-change/ plus the other four video’s from February 2012. Good luck.




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        1. I have high blood pressure, and like Bj nothing seems to do much for it. I tried completely vegan for maybe 6 months and in general eat more vegeatable and less meat now, and did not notice any change, but I did not really know what to eat or how to cook, so what does someone like me do to naturally get my blood pressure down?

          Is there any way to figure out why blood pressure is high and do something about that? I’ve read a bit on it and they all seem to say no one really knows why BP is high, but implication seems to be atherosclersos? I just get to the point where I don’t see an upside is worrying about it other than to just try not to eat back stuff and get exercise. Cooking good stuff would be nice, but I just do not know much about cooking, need to learn from the start?




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            1. I have had the exact same issue with my fingers.
              and with Adrenal Axis issues.

              I have had every single kind of test you could do to figure out what is going on.

              You might want to read a book titled ADRENAL FATIGUE. (I don’t agree with a lot of it, but it has some good info also)

              The writer talks a lot about it, but there is one spot in particular where he describes REAL physical signs you are having adrenal issues. One of two things happen, either your palm gets a fatty lump on it, or The TIPS of your FINGERS turn RED! while the rest of your hand looks normal.
              I also have Reynaud’s Syndrome, where the back of your hands and feet can look purple, but your fingers and toes look white. It is weird, because my hands on the palm side have red fingertips, yet my fingers on the other side are white.
              I have had 20+ doctors look at what is going on, and no one seems to have a clue. Everyone has just made something up, given me some various medication, or laughed and said I am a hypochondriac and to have my head checked. Yet it is OBVIOUS on my hands and INTENSE. You cannot mistake how different it looks.
              There has only been one doctor who took me seriously and has talked at great length about it. He was a Rheumatologist. I have had so many inflammation tests done to make sure I don’t have an Autoimmune disease problem, which could cause inflammation and therefore the redness. I DO NOT.
              The redness, is NOT from inflammation. It is from what he calls: VASOMOTOR DYSFUNCTION. and as he says, “it isn’t a diagnosis or a disease, it is only a descriptive explanation of what is going on in the body.”
              Basically, usually from extreme overt stress, the Sympathetic (fight or flight) and Parasympathetic (cool down, relaxing) nervous system go haywire. They seem to lose their understanding of when and how to smoothly pump blood through your veins. If you have WAY too much Cortisol (the fight or flight hormone) pumping through your veins for too long, and especially if you suffer from PTSD so your body can’t stop feeling in danger, well, it messes up the nervous system. (and the Adrenal Axis as well) These systems are the central systems for figuring out when and how much blood to pump through your veins.
              So, sorry for all this information, but it took me 5 years, hundreds of doctors, a hundred books to decipher all the info and come up with an understanding of what was going on.
              I don’t have an answer as to what to do or how to resolve it. Meditation, Yoga, sleep, getting out of town on vacation, nothing works.
              If you find something that helps, please, let me know.

              http://www.amazon.com/Adrenal-Fatigue-Century-Stress-Syndrome/dp/1890572152/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1422590624&sr=1-2&keywords=adrenal




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              1. My physiology professor said that there is no medical treatment for Renaud’s disease. Perhaps not, but psycologists have been treating it for at least 35 years using biofeedback. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s all in your head, just that you can learn to use your head to control it.




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              2. Hi, sorry for the late response but when my head or body gets overloaded I have no choice but to stop and drop everything.
                I read your reply and started a few searches, and I came across broken heart syndrome, read it and from that point on I pretty much had to drop the topic for a while. This happened to me, what I now suspect very very low grade multiple times in the gym, but one time in a really bad way at my psychologist.
                I was in a clonidine experiment, and months in very low blood pressures, had a very very nervous session, he asked about my father and I turned grey felt wet but could wipe dry and very uncomfortable in my stomach, not really very nauseous but had to keep swallowing to stop anti movement, that jolted me again but my heart didn’t race, drove home.
                At home had like 90-50 with a 45 heartbeat while maxed out on adrenalin. Pretty much accepted I might have a heart attack at that moment, felt an enormous urge to stay as calm as possible and with it chose this option over calling an ambulance.
                Felt horrified by the idea my 2 cats would have to starve if I were to die, called a woman that helps me normalize my life a bit once a week, asked her to call me the next day and pick up the guys if I didn’t respond. Then I fell sleep exhausted within 10-15 min flooded with adrenalin (very very weird). Stopped with the medicine.
                Felt better pretty fast somewhat weaker maybe, easier lightheaded by elevation changes.
                Had a similar episode but way less intense a few weeks later.
                It all happened during the downhill the brain fry stuff I’ve reported on else here on Disqus, I do not think these two conditions are linked in any way. It didn’t happen again why the choline problems only got solved 3- 4 months later, and that was something that just got worse and worse and worse till I couldn’t do anything anymore.
                At the time of shock I didn’t even have the heat sensation in my upper spine and scalp yet.




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          1. There are some causes of elevated blood pressure that are called secondary and some folks who can benefit from treatment. If you haven’t already view the video by John McDougall posted by tkramer. Once you get the concepts regarding healthy eating you need to develop some skills like label reading… good resource is Jeff Novick’s DVD, Should I Eat This and then learning to cook gives you control over what you eat. Jeff Novick has a straightforward approach in his first Fast Food DVD. John McDougall’s website has many free recipes. Good luck.




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            1. Many paths to the ultimate goal. After seeing this one :
              http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-leaky-gut-theory-of-why-animal-products-cause-inflammation/

              I condensed all animal based food intake I still consumed to one single point of time in day, leaving the remaining 18 hours in the day open for limited damage control. And it worked, that did in fact make a difference.
              There are many different roads to Rome, this could also be one.




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          2. BruK Join McDougall Friends on FB – you’ll learn a ton about what to eat and recipes, recipe, recipes. However, that said, I have been oil free vegan for two years and my blood pressure is just getting higher. I’ve been trying to cut back more on salt and sugar, although its not like I eat a lot of it to begin with. I avoid gmo food, try to eat at least the worst offenders organic, even avoid gluten. The thing I think is surprising is that I had my blood vessels checked by ultra sound and they were clear. I really suspect that my blood pressure is high due to my COPD. I think my body needs the higher pressure due to not enough oxygen (although I am on oxygen 24/7). I wrote Dr. McDougall and he said I could be right. One thing I haven’t tried yet is exercise. That may be my missing link.




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          3. Have you ever tried drinking beet juice? Beets contain a high amount of inorganic nitrates. When we eat these nitrates present in food, they are metabolized in the body, first to nitrite, and then subsequently to nitric oxide (NO). NO is essential for normal functioning of the vasculature of the human body. It is synthesized by the endothelial cells and is a potent vasodilator. Reduced production of NO has been linked to hypertension, atherosclerosis, and stroke. More and more studies are showing benefits of consumption of nitrates (in the form of beets & beet juice) on various cardiovascular diseases. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out Dr. Greger’s video Hearts Shouldn’t Skip a Beet which talks more about the blood pressure lowering power of beet juice.




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      2. Ground flax seeds, and all the health benefits they bring to the plate, are a great addition to one’s diet. But, of course, the rest of the diet needs to be great too. With the bulk coming from greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, and seeds (G-BOMBS as Dr. Fuhrman would say). With little or no sugar, salt, or oil added (I myself prefer 0%). Adding in daily 30 minutes or more aerobic exercise, and at least one day per week for anaerobic exercise, will benefit you greatly as well. Plus good amounts of sleep, feeling in control of your life, etc. Then all that is required is time. That is, it took a long to get your body in the condition that it currently is in, it will take time to bring it back to a healthful state. But, you’ll get there. Just consistently strive every day to make every choice you make a healthful one. :-)




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      3. For hypertension or high blood pressure, this site would recommend beets, hibiscus tea, seaweed, grapefruit, beans, Brazil nuts, whole grains, the vegan diet and now flax seed meal. Even a single cup of coffee can raise your blood pressure many points. Meditation, prayer services, listening to classical music, swimming and other exercise, and being married can lower blood pressure. Each of these activities can individually add many years to your life, along with flossing. Donating blood can lower blood pressure when done regularly. Other techniques can include pretending to have tourettes for someone of the opposite gender as you or visualizing an attractive or distressed individual. Others have recommended the art of mindfulness, which is like or moving yourself through the stages of grief towards acceptance. Or to think of things that are stable, or based as fundamental, things like food, color, atoms or elements, weapons, cities, an action unto G-d, an item, or a profession,




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        1. I’m trying to figure out what you mean by this, Matthew; “Other techniques can include pretending to have tourettes for someone of the opposite gender as you or visualizing an attractive or distressed individual.” Are you talking “tics”?




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          1. Yes, I think tics are a very effective means at dealing with anxiety. They can be turned to be an ally of yours, if you do a loved one’s ticks. Perhaps you should ask what they would do or say if they are nervous. Men for instance, say they explain profanities, women snap their fingers and make facial movements with anxiety. Perhaps if you train yourself to trade you would be more in control of your emotions. Football quarterbacks, snipers, fighter pilots, gamblers, and people who try to beat lie detector tests are trained extensively in controlling their blood pressure. They are told to think of their mother or making a winning pass in a football game. That seems to be too exciting. Thinking of a loved neighbor or saying something really dirty as a girl is more of a way to be in control of your emotions. These techniques have been relegated as dishonest, without regards to the fact that they would be the key to controlling mental health, being happy, and handling anxiety all day. They would be powerful tools for intelligence. If you had a frustrated crush on a neighbor, and imagine her failing, perhaps you should visualize her being married, this is a path to happiness and a control for anxiety. It would help to avoid traps. I am doing mine right now. “Illegal Laundry” “Vase Baster” “Marriage for you, rabbit,” These help me deal with things not in my control. Some Buddhists monks are taught to fake death. If everyone could be that in control of their blood pressure, as it says here in this video, they would live a lot longer. Your blood pressure being your best indicator of health. You can hold your breath and count to ten, you can put your arms in cold water, you can admit to yourself deep visualization of marriage and oneness for health. It can add up. I wish you a very happy life and a great deal of stability. What do you do when you are just too nervous, like after four cups of coffee? Can I visualize you having a perfect life? Can I imagine you winning in school or in a sport you were subjectated at? This helps me. Imagining friends winning is winning and makes your whole body win.




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              1. Sometimes something really helps. Many people live in terrifying anxiety, knowing that depression and anxiety are highly linked and anti-depressants can cause both and are used to treat both. I think we should study tics. I think they are natural and healthy signs of an active mind. Sometimes people use tics against the desperate, saying something like “towers.” How often do you feel you have to explain yourself even when alone? The mind can handle externalities, they are something. A true path to understanding the nature of a conscious sentientcy with human language. The brain can do its own risk assessment, and tics are a path to discover what it is really saying. The brain uses everything at its disposal to handle problems it is presented. I would like to present my brain with more. I hope the mind can work better within universally handled parameters. I think the brain would like to see more about the present. I think it would also like a richer past and a more successful future. The brain can use any type of training or word game to get at its own goals.




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          1. Some psychology majors report that they are taught that happily married couples live more than ten years longer than their single peers. Marriage is very salubrious for health. Mothers are known to have less cancer than childless women. Ironically, people with large strong social networks are healthier than those without. How does one balance a desire to be separate with the ideal that having more stronger friends is healthier? That the married live longer than the monastic? These are questions for a religious human ecologist and theological demographer! I should be grateful for my friends and this group.




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      4. Make sure your diet is high in magnesium and that you have a high potassium to sodium ratio as well. Sometimes magnesium supplementation is necessary. Flax seed are fine to eat if you tolerate them but magnesium kicks butt when it comes to regulating BP. However 115 systolic is way too low for a lot of people, especially the elderly. Also for once I agree with a NutritionFacts Team member that many physicians or over-treating patients with higher BP’s




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        1. “However 115 systolic is way too low for a lot of people, especially the elderly.”

          I’ve seen you make this claim a number of times. Have you any evidence to support it? The AHA maintains that normal systolic is under 120. The same advice is given in the UK. It is not considered low until reaches 90 or below. Between 90 and 120 is described as “ideal”.
          http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/AboutHighBloodPressure/Understanding-Blood-Pressure-Readings_UCM_301764_Article.jsp
          http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/AboutHighBloodPressure/Understanding-Blood-Pressure-Readings_UCM_301764_Article.jsp




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      5. I have found that deep breathing 15 minutes a day helps me significantly. When I am at the computer, watching tv I do this. Also walking, bike riding plays a big part. Also try drinking dandelion or hibiscus tea too. I occasionally take Carditone from Amazon, now that will drop it whammo. That is the one thing I have still struggled with. Lost weight, am no longer pre diabetic working with the Pre Diabetes Center here in Austin, by excercise, plant based diet. They told me that it can be in the genes for some people and may struggle with it. I only need to lose about 15 more pounds to give you an idea. Try some of these things along with what you are doing and see if it doesn’t help. Ive had people tell me to get on medication, but my PreD doc says no. I’ll listen to them. They care more about me than drugs and $. Since I started the breathing, it has dropped enough for me to drop off the Carditone less. Make sure if you take it to check you BP, it can drop quite a bit. It worked better than just taking Magnesium.




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      1. Great video by Dr. McDougall. I appreciate that he explains that HBP is a symptom and at what level it should be treated by drugs. And that it is not a quick fix to repair the system. I do everything correctly but migraines raise my BP. Doesn’t go up to or over 150/80 very often so I don’t worry. Worry only makes all of it worse. Then some of the time the BP is 115/60.
        Am off turmeric now as it seemed to worsen the migraines.
        Use 2 heaping Tbsp ground flax seed mixed in with cereal for breakfast added after cooking. Add that much to an evening meal of veges and legumes. Also use flax in baking as egg replacer. Great stuff.




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      2. Magnesium, Dr. McDougall, magnesium!!! Magnesium is nature’s natural calcium channel blocker and also increases nitric oxide. No conversation about blood pressure should be had that does not include discussing magnesium’s role. Shame on you, doctor!!! Maybe you should read Dr. Carolyn Dean’s book The Magnesium Miracle and get some tips. She is both an MD. and and ND and knows her stuff.




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            1. There has been alot of speculation about the causes of “primary” hypertension. It is clear from one study that persons on a plant based diet can realize a 9/5 decrease over the first year and in one study showed that folks on plant based diet for 20 years were about 20/10 less than those of SAD. Magnesium is one thing that lowers blood pressure as any women who has been hospitalized for preeclampsia and put on iv magnesium will attest to. See… http://nutritionfacts.org/video/mineral-of-the-year-magnesium/. Other considerations are lowered sodium intake, elevate potassium intake, maybe the sodium/potassium ratio. phytonutrients or soy. The jury is still out on causation but it is clear that eating a whole food plant based diet with adequate Vitamin B12 will lead to lower BP. In fact it has been estimated that 90 per cent of persons with elevated blood pressure would not have elevated pressures if they ate a WFPB diet… exercise, weight loss, relaxation are other lifestyle issues that will decrease BP. If on medications you need to work with your physicians as some patient’s blood pressures drop too low with “proper” eating.




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              1. How about drinking excessive (lots of) water ? Would that help clear the arteries and dilute the blood ? Also would multi-vitamins containing adequate ratios of magnesium and other minerals and vitamins help ? I may be deficient but not sure.




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    2. I am somebody else caught this little tidbit as well. As far as I am concerned the drug companies keep lowering the norm to be able to sell BP lowering drugs. A systolic of 115 is often too low for many elderly people, predisposing them to dizziness and falls. 130 systolic use use to be the norm for the elderly.




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    1. Flax oil is not recommended. Unlike flax, it is unstable, goes rancid easily and rapidly and then causes inflation and worse. It is associated in some studies with increased prostate cancer. Also, it is not a whole food as the fiber and some nutrients are removed.




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    1. 30 g (approximately 3 Tbsp) of milled flaxseed or placebo were added,

      Incidently, this is the amount of whole flaxseed I add to my blender to powderize before adding wet ingredients for mornings smothies.




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      1. In chronometer,
        30 g of flaxseed, ground (USDA) is 4.29 Tbsp.
        30 g of Bob’s Red Mill ground flaxseed (CRBD) is 2.31 Tbsp. CRBD designates Cronometer user supplied data; looks like this entry can be discounted.
        30 g of flaxseeds, whole and ground (Canada) is 4.23 15ml or International Tbsp. (15ml = 1.014 U.S. Tbsp. according to http://www.convert-me.com/en/convert/volume/ )
        And 4 Tbsp = 1/4 Cup
        Also some seeds may be dryer or damper than others, especially from opened packages, which would affect weight and volume (minutely).
        Just sayin’




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  5. Any thoughts on whether cooked flax (eg. porridge, muffins) and raw flax have similar nutritional value? I like to eat it at a place with no stove…




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  6. I had ground flax seeds in my breakfast smoothie for years. I started to have some digestive problems, and my doctor said to stop the flax. The digestive problems cleared up pretty quickly. So, i quit the flax. I am on a plant based diet, and before that was a vegetarian for all of my adult life – I’m now in my 70’s. My dietician suggested substituting hemp, but that probably doesn’t have the same blood pressure benefits that flax does? I have had high blood pressure for over 20 years. Both of my parents had high blood pressure. Now I’m wondering if I should take flax because of the benefits and just deal with the digestive problems?




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  7. We find it easy to grind seeds ourselves and store it for maximum 7 days in deep freezer in a stainless steel closed vessels and consume 3 heaped tablespoons of this flaxseeds powder over juicy fruits like papaya or melons or grapes or pomegranate and in season mangoes. Fruits hide the woody taste of flaxseeds powder.




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  8. conflicting research/data re: flax. is it the wonder drug filled with dha or the potentially harmful host of ala that is nearly impossible to convert to dha/epa and can increase risk of prostate cancer. definitive medical research would be welcome.




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    1. Could you share your source or reasoning as to why you consider ALA harmful? Frankly it sounds like perhaps you’ve fallen victim to some animal product pushing paleo pseudoscience if someone is claiming not only that ALA can’t be converted but that it’s “potentially harmful”.

      In short, yes flaxseeds are filled with ALA and this is a good thing. ALA is an essential amino acid, and provided you are eating a healthy diet low in omega-6 fatty acids, there will be successful conversion to EPA and DHA. However for someone eating animal foods rich in omega-6 fatty acids, then in fact their ability to convert ALA to long chain omega-3 acids will be impaired.

      Some additional commentary on conversion rates in vegans and non-vegans as well as the impact of lower DHA levels itself in vegetarians, provided originally by NF Team Member Toxins in a different comment thread:

      “‘Comparison of the PLLC n23 PUFAs:DALA ratio between dietary-habit groups showed that it was 209% higher in vegan men and 184% higher in vegan women than in fish-eaters, was 14% higher in vegetarian men and 6% higher in vegetarian women than in fish-eaters, and was 17% and 18% higher in male and female meat-eaters, respectively, than in fish-eaters This suggests that the statistically estimated conversion may be higher in non-fish-eaters than in fish-eaters.’

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20861171

      In addition, another study showed that despise this “theoretical” low conversion rate, there is no evidence of any harm so, the problem may not be in the conversion rate, but in the assumption that it is low.

      ‘There is no evidence of adverse effects on health or cognitive function with lower DHA intake in vegetarians’

      ‘In the absence of convincing evidence for the deleterious effects resulting from the lack of DHA from the diet of vegetarians, it must be concluded that needs for omega-3 fatty acids can be met by dietary ALA. ‘

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19500961




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      1. really appreciate your time in sharing this data. obviously not a ton of research on the topic but glad you presented this. would be reassuring for a vegan to know more precise/specific numbers (conversion from ala to epa/dha…just for peace of mind. but thanks to you, this will hold me over till more extensive studies are done.




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  9. “Wouldn’t it be easier to just cut out the middle-pig “… I love your style, Dr Greger!
    Thanks a lot for giving us all that very serious information in such a clear and entertaining way!




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  10. Is it ok to grind pre-roasted flaxseeds? in other words is it ok to consume roasted flaxseeds as long as they are whole and you grind them yourself?




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  11. I mix 2/3 cup flax with 2/3 cup chia and 1/3 cup of seaweed and sprinkle it on most food. Seaweed can be bitter so add it slowly to get the right flavor for you. I cut up the sheets of dried seaweed 1st and grind. Then 1/3 each flax and chia twice. Divide the sea-
    weed in half and add to flax and chia and tumble it in your dryer (just kidding about the dryer). I have named it Fla-chi-sea.
    My other mixture I call Pepturm. 3 parts turmeric and 1 part freshly ground peppercorns. It turns green when it hits the cooked wet
    meat but I also use it on my breakfast of mashed 1/2 avocado and 1 boiled egg. Turmeric can take some getting used to, I started
    putting it on my cereal 8 years ago and now am used to the flavor. So adjust the mix until it meets your taste buds.




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  12. Totally intolerant of flax seeds. Cannot detoxify the cyanogenic glycosides in them. However, Frankly this is one video of Dr. McGregor’s that wasn’t half bad. Better to change the diet rather than just rely of flaxseeds to lower BP. Plus some in both groups suffered strokes and heart attacks. I’ll place my bets on a diet high in magnesium for BP lowering, with supplemental magnesium as needed. Plus making certain that I have a nice sodium to potassium ratio. But stating that any systolic measurement of BP > 115 is risky is pushing the envelope, in my view. If the elderly have too low BP’s they are at increased risk of falls. A 120 systolic is fine, and for some elderly people maybe even a bit higher.




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    1. Hi Lawal, I’m not familiar with which companies offer shipping to Nigeria, but as an example, a product like this http://www.amazon.com/Bobs-Red-Mill-Flaxseed-24-Ounce/dp/B000ED7M2W

      could be shipped with a third party service like DHL to Nigeria in case Amazon doesn’t. If ordering online is troublesome and you don’t want to have to do it too often, I would recommend purchasing whole flaxseeds as shown above and grinding them yourself, rather than purchasing the already milled variety, as the whole flaxseeds will stay fresh longer. Still a good idea to keep them in a cool location or fridge/freezer just in case.




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    2. Perhaps an Indian grocer would have it if you’re in a larger city. Flaxseed is known as Alsi (Gujrati, Hindi Punjabi), Jawas (Marathi), Tishi (Bengali), or Agasi (Kannada) in Indian languages.




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    3. Flax seed is also unavailable in Japan. a small amount of genetically modified seeds (one in 10,000) was found in flax imported to Japan from Canada and as a result, it was banned in accordance to Japanese law.




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  13. Dr. Greger has also done several videos on the blood pressure lowering effect of hibiscus. Black chockeberries, which are among the most concentrated sources of anthocyanins in Nature (but also contain a fair amount of other polyphenols), have been shown to have a similar or even more powerful effect on blood pressure. Remarkably, both an open trial in patiens with metabolic syndrome as well as a double-blind trial in patients already receiving a statin drug have shown not only a significant drop in blood pressure but also marked improvments in a whole host of other important risk markers (LDL, triglycerides, hsCRP – you name it).

    Although I am not a medical doctor, I regularly give dietary advice to people with hypertension, which is based on a predominantly (but not exclusively) plant-based, sodium-reduced, whole food diet, but also “prescribes” these most potent specific dietary interventions. Everyone that I counseled and from which I received some feedback has seen marked improvements. In one case, a middle-aged woman with familial hypertension, who took large doses of three different anti-hypertensive medications and still regularly had a systolic blood pressure in the 150s wrote to me that after three months of religiously following my advice (which included 30g of milled flax seeds daily, 50ml aronia juice, a cup of hibiscus tea and a magnesium supplement), she was able to reduce her medication to the minimum dose of only one drug and safely maintain her systolic blood pressure in the 120s or below.




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    1. Timar: You have mentioned chokeberry. I’d like to add chokeberry to my diet for its anthocyanin content but can’t find it at supermarkets. Dried chokeberry powder is available online but all products I’ve found contain maltodextrin, which I don’t want to consume on a regular basis. Have you found any sources of chokeberry? Thank you




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      1. I don’t really know about the availability in the US, sorry. Here in Gemany you can get a variety of chokeberry products in most health food stores: juice, dried berries, tea and so on. I did a quick search on amazon.com and there are some chokeberry products available but unfortunately many of them are insanely expensive. The juice concentrate (it is really only the juice, which is naturally highly concentrated) by Superberries is about ten times(!) as expensive as it is in Germany. But it is interesting to know that it has an ORAC of 52,000 per tablespoon.




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  14. Not saying the benefits of this report isn’t valid. However weren’t these studies funded in part by the Flax Council. Why do you point that out in other studies when they are funded by the Dairy, egg, etc organizations but not here. Does lack of disclosure or consistency lead to skepticism on the credibility of the report or study?




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    1. Hard to tell. The authors of the cited study wrote another paper, theorizing that the effect is indeed due to the ALA. On the other hand, I know of no trials suggesting that the relatively small amount of ALA present in 30g of flax seeds (about 6 g) alone could have such a pronounced effect. My guess is that there may be a synergy between the ALA (which is protected from oxidation in the seed) and other constituents – the lignans and maybe even the soluble fiber present in the whole food.

      I would hesitate to recommend flax seed oil as a substitute for flax seeds. Firstly, even lignan-enriched oil contains only a small fraction of the amount of lignans present in the seeds and secondly, once the oil has been extracted from the seeds it is extremely susceptible to oxidation, even when kept in the refrigerator. The oxidation products present in any but freshly pressed flax seed oil may well negate at least some of the health benefits of the ALA. Last but not least, you miss the fiber.




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  15. I add ground flaxseed to my daily morning oatmeal. The nutty flavor enhances the taste not to mention the increased fiber omega 3, proteins and lignans.




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  16. Does eating straight flax seed oil have the same effect? If you cook flax doesn’t that diminish the health benefits? I had read that in the past.




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  17. Any advice on a high fiber diet? I am vegan and eat a whole foods plant based diet but fart a lot and they stink. It’s embarrassing and my family calls me “stinky.” That’s the one downside to a plant based diet I have found. Any suggestions on supplements or anything I can do? I’ve been vegan almost 2 years now so no it is not because I just started being vegan. Sorry, i don’t intend to be rude but that is what most people say if I ask them about suggestions.




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  18. I think it also needs to be taking into account that some people (like myself) eat the healthy WFPB diet yet have really high blood pressure.
    I don’t drink, don’t smoke. I walk or hike 2 hours a day or more.

    The issue is I suffer from PTSD of an extreme nature, and it reflects in my body as stress, anxiety, fear, even terror at things I have no reason to be afraid of. The lasting effects are that my blood pressure, No matter what my healthy eating / living level is at, STILL runs really high.

    So constant anxiety / PTSD / fear affects the adrenal system, which then pumps up the blood pressure and keeps it there. You can’t take blood pressure lowering meds because they don’t work (since you don’t have diet related blood pressure issues) and can really hurt you.

    I took an Anti-Anxiety med for a while and it helped a tiny bit, but you don’t want to be on that for very long because they are highly addictive. If you are on it for 2+ years you become an addict and the number of people who are able to get off of them at that point is almost ZERO.




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    1. Hi, I’ve read your other response thank you for that. I will reply but I need a little time to recuperate before I do, it is a complicated issue.
      Just a quick comment though, I think the best anti-anxiety med wasn’t a med but actually my former girlfriend.
      I was just to busy following narcissism fueled dreams at the time to fully appreciate that, maybe the second best gift in my life was that narcissism got just beaten out of my system for a good part, which happened during the 3 years lying eyes closed curled up depressed and shaking like a leaf from anxiety.
      But losing that “protective shield” opened a Pandora’s box of horrors of a different kind, which I’ll just have to conquer 1 by 1.
      And there is a lot of sadness involved in dealing with it and the realization of what has been lost.




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  19. i eat low sugar yogurt or applesauce with a tablespoon of GROUND flax seed in it a day, 2 would be better I’ve already heard. Ground is important cause I really don’t think that the stomach processes these sharp little seeds properly, what a waste!




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  20. pulverize them yourself in a cheap little coffee grinder and keep in an air tight container in the refrigerator. no, i don’t drink coffee.




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  21. I beg to differ with Dr Greger — the study used 30 grams of flax seeds (ground). That is NOT 1/4 cup. Hang with me fellow fans. 1/4 cup of flax seeds (whole) is about 40 grams. 10 more grams than the study used, or about a tablespoon more. The measure un-ground for 30 grams would be 3 Tablespoons. And since fresh ground is best, get out your clean, small coffee bean grinder (the one you keep for grinding spices, right?) and grind to your liking, then eat. By way of comparison, 1/4 cup of ground flax seeds (at least in my kitchen) averaged 25 grams — 5 grams less than the study amount. They fluff up when you grind them. If measuring pre-ground flax seeds, aim for 1/3 cup. Since buying ground flax requires cold storage (freezer is best), while the whole flax seed is shelf stable, I am recommending grinding your own. As for measures, more is likely better, and they taste good, but if you want to be exact, 30 grams is 3 tablespoons before grinding, or about 1/3 cup after grinding.




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  22. The Flax seed shown above are for commercial use in industrial solvents…bad choice in using for healthy treatment/preventative of health challenges..it is a start in obtaining the omega one is looking for…a better choice is “Golden Flax Seed” North Dakota seeds are of the finest for health…I purchase in bulk a 10lb bag for $50 usd…keep it in freezer when stored…use this as a seed topping once ground along with Plain Yogurt on my formulated oat meal…best health to those whom are on the journey of discovery…




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    1. Your flax seed seems a bit high priced. I don’t buy this because I buy locally but this is from North Dakota also.
      25 lbs. Golden Omega Whole Flaxseed in Resealable bag – includes Measuring Scoop, Recipes + FREE SHIPPING. $65.00
      Packaged in bulk box with plastic liner. Retains freshness without refrigeration.
      Our unique and patent pending cold milling process provides you with the highest quality milled flax available. Cold milling seals in the Omega oils and our stay fresh re-sealable pouch maintains their quality. Experience the convenience and quality of Premium Gold True Cold Milled® Flaxseed! Organic.




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  23. Dr. Greger —- Important —-

    **** Indonesia’s department of communications has blocked your videos ****

    That said, it may be part of a blanket ban on more dubious video sites, and your video hosting site has the luck of being one of those, rather than a ban on your content. Further, the entire description area (sources cited; transcript; acknowledgments; topic) are disabled as well, presumably because their url shares that of the video. I am still able to watch them via a proxy service; however, this isn’t something that the average user can or should have to do.

    I will write to the department of communications here in Indonesia as soon as possible, but it will probably get me nowhere. Which video service are you currently using? If it’s Vimeo, I know that they have blocked that one.

    I’m including my screenshot from this morning highlighting the issue. There is a translation into English directly under the referenced communications’ regulation in Indonesian. As you can see, this is just for the video section alone.

    http://i254.photobucket.com/albums/hh82/mjlwaimea/Mobile%20Uploads/nutrition%20facts/nutritionfactsblocked.png

    Thanks for your time and tireless effort,

    Michael




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    1. Michael Lederer: What a bummer this is happening. I asked the NutrtionFacts staff to look into it. Here is the reply:

      “Yeah there is a ban on Vimeo in Indonesia because they have an anti-pornography law. Basically if a few videos are guilty of it, Indonesia will block the service. They have blocked a lot of major websites and providers there. It’s not really anything we can do anything about as long as we use Vimeo and unless we are targeting Indonesian traffic considerably, it’s a small loss. (GA reports 0.14% of our users.)”

      So dang. I’m glad you have a work around. I agree that the average user will not know to do what you have done. It’s a bummer for everyone when “the baby is thrown out with the bathwater” as the Indonesian government appears to be doing.




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  24. An earlier poster raised an important issue that ground flaxseed meal can go bad even if refrigerated. I would like some clarification on this point — other than freshly grinding on an as-needed basis, does ground flaxseed meal (I use Bob’s Red Mill, for the most part) need to be refrigerated? I already seal it in a bag when I’m not using it. Are there any pros / cons to golden flax vs. regular? Etc.




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  25. Such a great video and a simple intervention! Adding 1/4 cup of flax meal per day would be an easy addition with big results! Whole flax is not digested very well so be sure to use ground flax. One tablespoon of flax meal mixed with 3 tablespoons of water makes a great egg replacer in a recipe as well!!




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  26. I read somewhere that most of the flaxseed in stores today is GMO. Is that something we should look out for when buying flaxseed? I buy Certified Organic, but it doesn’t say anything about non-GMO.




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    1. From what info I found there was too much resistance to gmo flax in 2001 and 2004. Europe will not allow its import. Some renegade gmo flax was discovered in Canada in 2013 so Canada has implemented rigorous testing of any flax put into the commercial market. Would give the link but I lost it. There are a lot of sources of non-gmo flax available. Certified organic should be non-gmo. http://gmo-awareness.com/2011/05/05/is-organic-always-gmo-free/




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  27. is 1 Tablespoon a good amount to eat daily if the diet is comprised of all sorts vegetables,beans,fruit ,starchy vegetables but no other added fats from seeds/nuts?




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    1. I think it is hard to say. Fat needs depend on many factors. I general, folks do not need much, but it depends on overall diet.




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    1. Hi SF Jeff! Yes, the evidence suggests 120/80 good, but (naturally) lower may be even more protective. Check out this piece Dr. G. did about rural Kenyans with blood pressures at 110/70 and lower…no heart disease! Hope this helps!




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      1. Thanks for the response. I have been trying veganism the last couple of months and have been on a diet as well (20+ pounds) and I dropped from 122/80 to about 122/72 or so. I guess I will have to see how far this goes.




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  28. I read on a website that, altho flax meal is a good source of Omega3, it is in a form (ALA?) that the body cannot easily use. Is this true? Do I need to buy fish oil instead?




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    1. Yes. Harder to convert ALA from flax to EPA, but it still occurs! I would not recommend fish oil based on Dr. Greger’s latest blog on fish oil. Here is a study looking at DHA/EPA levels in both fish and non-fish eaters. Researchers found “Total n-3 PUFA intakes in non-fish-eaters were 57-80% of those in fish-eaters, but status differences were considerably smaller [corrected]. The estimated product-precursor ratio was greater in women than in men and greater in non-fish-eaters than in fish-eaters.” And to conclude “Substantial differences in intakes and in sources of n-3 PUFAs existed between the dietary-habit groups, but the differences in status were smaller than expected, possibly because the product-precursor ratio was greater in non-fish-eaters than in fish-eaters, potentially indicating increased estimated conversion of ALA” It appears vegans have a high product-precurser ratio, (women even better than men) making their conversation of ALA to EPA/DHA acceptable. ​Dr. Greger discusses, How to achieve a good omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acid ratio. I mention sources of DHA and EPA from algae sources here. Lastly, Dr. Greger mentions how golden algae is used to make algae-based omega 3 supplements without some of the contaminates that are found in fish oil.




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  29. Please, could you report on Nigella Sativa seeds? Also called black caraway, they are said to be even better than flax for so many reasons. Thank you.




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    1. Hi Sylvia. Caraway seeds are used in many populations. I’m not sure their omega-3 content, but they have been heavily researched and appear to have many health benefits. This review mentions possible therapeutic roles.




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  30. I see I am not the first one to ask this, but see no answer… my blood pressure is normal (110/70 or lower), and just a tea spoon of flaxmeal per day drops my blood pressure to unbearable levels all day long… What in flax seeds is responsible for lowering BP? and what can I do about it, besides not consuming flax seeds?




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  31. I can’t seem to find the answer to this question: Is pre-ground flax seed good enough to get the benefits or is it better to grind your own on a ddily or weekly or monthly basis?




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  32. I like ground flax seeds. If it were up to me I would eat 9 tablespoons of them daily. However, that would raise my calories from fat quite a bit. How do I know when more is not better?




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  33. If you add ground flax seeds to your casseroles or stews at the table it will add, what to me is, a pleasant oiliness and flavor.




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  34. I am interested in peoples views on flex seed and EPA/DHA plant based supplements. I was on blood pressure tablets, but stopped them a couple of months ago. I have been following Dr Gregor’s dietary guidelines and taking about 2 tablespoons of flax seed meal a day.

    My blood pressure is currently averaging about 122/58 and pulse rate about 50/min.

    I just ordered these Omega 3 DHA capsules:
    DEVA Omega-3 DHA is 100% vegan, vegetarian and is certified by the Vegan
    Society, the non-profit organization that actually invented the word
    “vegan”.
    Supplement Facts
    Serving Size: 1 Vegan Softgel
    Servings per Container: 90
    DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) Amount Per Serving 200 mg
    Other Ingredients: High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Carragenaan, Starch, Vegetable
    Glycerin, Purified Water, Natural Vitamin E, Lemon Oil, Silicon Dioxide,
    Sorbitol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Sunflower Lecithin, Rosemary Extract. (All of the
    ingredients are from plant / mineral sources)
    Recommended Use
    For adults take one (1) vegan softgel a day with food or as directed by a
    health care professional.

    Is there any benefit taking both the flax seed meal and the DHA supplement?

    Thank you.




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  35. Will there be a massive difference if it’s ground or whole flaxseed? I’ve read that the high insoluble fiber in whole can digest quickly. Also, does blending whole flaxseed in a smoothie fix the latter issue?




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  36. i got a copy of the “Potent hypertensive action of dietary flaxseed” paper and noticed that the recipients of the flaxseed start out at some unnamed dose which was gradually increased to 30g/day over the 6 month study period. I didn’t find any explanation for this. Is this the reason for the ever improving SBP measurements.
    Any ideas?




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    1. Hi Jim, I ‘m one of the site’s moderators. I downloaded the study and if you read in the discussion it does say that the amount of flaxseed was increased gradually and appeared to correlate inversely with the blood pressure. It would make sense that they increased gradually since adding a huge amount of fiber so suddenly would increase adverse effects and no doubt cause some of the participants to drop out of the study. I was surprised to see that it was gradual in the discussion because in the methods it only mentioned the 30 gm dose.




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    1. Hi Madolyn, In the study cited in this video, they used 30g of ground/milled flaxseed per day. I measured 30g out on my digital kitchen scale and it was just under a quarter cup. I was measuring whole flax seeds. By the time you grind them they would likely measure out to a rounded quarter cup ground. That’s quite a bit, but from the study it appears that they were cooking the flax seed into different foods. I suppose you could get that much in without too much trouble if you were creative with it throughout the day.




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  37. Hi, I am a new vegan and I am trying find a concise list as to what I need to supplement my nutrient dense plant based diet with. Here is what I am adding daily:
    500 mcg B12
    2 TBS Ground Flax
    1TBS Amla powder
    2 caps Deva epa dha
    I would love it if a doctor would write an article that updates what vegans should be supplementing with at a minimum and maximum, every day to help summarize all of the scattered info on sites like this.
    Thank you




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  38. Hi Juliet, the link you provided shows someone with a very uninformed opinion. Dr Gregor has 20 videos included under flaxseed with all sources thoroughly checked.

    Just a preliminary look at Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flax shows the oil has been used medicinally for thousands of years. The fiber aspect of flaxseed has only come into prominence in the past 100 years or so, as the general population consumes more and more processed food, devoid of many of a vast array of highly beneficial substances.




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  39. RE: John Lynes request that a doctor write an article about what vegans should be consuming…In my humble opinion, by and large, US based doctors have less than a clue about nutrition or what vegans should be doing. If you do your own research, you will create a good list of considerations. Generally, less is more. Good luck on your nutritional explorations.




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  40. Hi – I’m happy to hear that flax seeds can contribute to the lowering of hypertension – however – I add a tablespoon of flaxseed into my daily breakfast (either yogurt or oatmeal) on a daily basis – and I have just been diagnosed with hypertension! Not sure what that means.




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  41. Hi Andrea there are many different factors that can contribute to high blood pressure. It’s good that you are having a tablespoon of flaxseed with your breakfast daily, but if you have high blood pressure there are likely other factors at play. You would have to look at your complete diet and lifestyle to determine if there might be something you could do differently to help lower your blood pressure.
    Dr G has several videos that relate various aspects of diet and lifestyle to hypertension. Here’s the page with all the videos related to high blood pressure. https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/blood-pressure/
    In addition if I were you I would talk to my doctor to see if there may be other potential causes that you are not aware of.




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  42. Fat (oil) in flaxseeds scares me! Help!
    One tablespoon of raw (not ground) flax has about 4.5 grams of oil. Four tablespoons, as used in this study, have about 18 grams of oil, or more than a tablespoon!
    As Dr. McDougall says, “The fat you eat is the fat you wear!”
    I want to do this flaxseed regimen but I DON’T want to get fat. Dr. Greger, please help!




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  43. I was interested in purchasing flaxseed and milling with my pestle & mortar. When finding out what the Swedish name was, which is linfrö, I found that the Swedish National Food Administration, Livsmedelsverket, recommend staying away entirely from milled flaxseed due to a greater chance of the flax releasing its hydrogen cyanide content.

    I was curious if nutritionfacts.org or Dr Greger have researched this possibility and have an answer that could placate my worries.

    Thanks.




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