Flaxseed Consumption Lowers Cholesterol Levels
One of the most healthful additions to a heart healthy diet is ground flaxseeds. This wondrous little seed has played an important part of human history for over 5,000 years. Native to the Mediterranean, flax has been used not only as a food, but also for its fibers, which can be woven into linen cloth. Now most valued for its ability to reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancer, a new study from the Canadian Center for Agri-Food Research highlights another important effect in promoting cardiovascular health.
The major health benefit of flaxseeds has focused on their rich content of oil and the fiber components known as lignans. Flaxseed oil contains nearly twice the level of omega-3 fatty acids as fish oils although it is the smaller-chain alpha-linolenic acid rather than the longer-chain fats like EPA and DHA found in fish oils.
The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effects of dietary flaxseed on plasma cholesterol in a patient population with clinically significant peripheral artery disease including many who were taking statins to lower LDL cholesterol levels. Patients consumed daily foods that contained either 30 g of milled flaxseed or 30 g of whole wheat for one year. Plasma lipids were measured at 0, 1, 6, and 12 months.
Dr. Michael Murray
The big push conventional medical circles will make this month is encouraging men over the age of 50 years to see a physician for two tests:
On the Dr Oz show
Does Flax Reduce Our Testosterone Levels
A number of websites have proposed, using anecdotal information, that because flax contains mildly estrogenic compounds , it will reduce a mans testosterone levels.
The research does not show this. A 2008 study from the University of Texas tested 161 patients.7 Some were given a diet supplemented with 30 grams of flax per day for 21 days. The researchers found no difference in testosterone levels. They did, however, find that flax was protective for prostate cancer.
A 2004 study8 gave 15 men a diet supplemented with 30 grams per day of flaxseed. The researchers found no statistically significant change was seen in total testosterone. Thay also found a benefit for the prostate in this study. However, a 2001 study9 of 25 men did find that 30 grams per day of flax lowered total cholesterol among the men. But these men had prostate cancer and were heading into a prostatectomy . The flaxseed supplementation diet also included a severe reduction of fat in the diet which can reduce testosterone depending upon their normal fat consumption. So there were other factors involved with respect to the conversion of testosterone in the prostate in this case.
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Which Is Better For High Cholesterol: Fish Oil Or Flaxseed Oil
Fish oil and flaxseed oil provide high quantities of essential fatty acids. Fish oil contains eicosapentaenoic acid — EPA — and docosahexaenoic acid — DHA — which are used directly for such functions as production of healthy cell membranes and to reduce inflammation. Flaxseed oil contains alpha linolenic acid — ALA — which your body converts into EPA and DHA. The relative merits of flaxseed oil and fish oil for reducing cholesterol is an unfolding story with much research and popular interest.
Fish oil reduces inflammation and shows greater cardioprotective effects than flaxseed oil, according to a study published in the February 2009 issue of the journal “Cardiovascular Research.” In the study on laboratory animals, diets containing 0.7 percent, 2.3 percent or 7 percent fish oil or flaxseed oil produced improved heart function in the left ventricle of the heart, which pumps blood out to the body, and decreased levels of some markers of inflammation. Fish oil also increased production of the anti-inflammatory hormone adiponectin.
In a study that compared flaxseed oil, olive oil, fish oil and soy oil, fish oil resulted in lower total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides than the other oils. Flaxseed oil produced less activation of white blood cells, which is thought to be associated with arterial plaque formation. The study on laboratory animals was published in the June 2010 journal “Acta Chirurgica Brasileira.”
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Flaxseed Reduces Bad Cholesterol
Other research has found that flaxseed significantly reduces bad cholesterol, including low-density lipoprotein and triglycerides. A 2016 review of research from the University of California2 analyzed research related to foods that reduce bad cholesterol and found that flax had the ability to reduce bad cholesterol by up to 10 percent.
These bad cholesterols can significantly damage our blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart disease.
Health Benefits Of Flaxseeds
- Omega-3 essential fatty acids, known as the good fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Research indicates that flaxseed could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer, like prostate cancer and breast cancer. Besides that, essential fatty acids keep skin, nails, and hair shiny and healthy.
- Lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities, promoting hormonal balance. Flaxseed is the highest source of lignans in the plant world it contains 75 to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods. The lignans in flaxseeds may help both menopausal and postmenopausal women alike.
- Fiber. Flaxseed contains both the soluble fiber and insoluble fiber, which can help with regulating blood sugar, promoting weight loss and preventing constipation. Soluble fiber can also help reduce LDL cholesterol levels.
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids such as alpha-linolenic acid. The alpha-linolenic acid and related chemicals in flaxseed oil seem to have anti-inflammatory properties. That is why flaxseed oil is considered useful for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
- Choline, which contributes to brain health and function.
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How To Eat Flax Seeds
- Smoothies: For a morning jumpstart, add a tablespoon or two of ground flaxseed meal into a smoothie or shake. Your day just got a little healthier!
- Baking: Ideal for cookies, muffins, pancakes, and quick breads: If you love to bake, coarsely ground flaxseeds can be added to any of these to boost texture and nutrition.
- Salads: Drizzle some flaxseed oil over roasted vegetables, or add the chopped seeds as a last-minute topping. If you like, switch out olive oil and make a vinaigrette out of flaxseed oil.
- Snacks: Flaxseed oil can be sprinkled on popcorn, or the ground meal can be mixed with herbs and spices and used to make crackers or baked chips.
- Oatmeal: With flaxseed meal, oats just got a lot smarter. Shake overcooked oatmeal or pudding made of soaked chia seeds with a bit of cinnamon and brown sugar.
- Granola and breakfast bars: If you make energy bars or granola, add ground flax meal to the recipe.
Hint: because flaxseed oil has such a low smoking point, avoid cooking with it. However, it does make an excellent neutral oil for seasoning cast iron pans.
Flaxseed Health Benefits Can Flaxseed Help Your Blood Sugars
I just love flaxseed, and one I supplement with daily. Flaxseed has an amazing amount of benefits to help promote overall health. In saying that, how can one find flaxseed? What actual benefits does organic flaxseed provide? Can it help prevent your blood sugars from spiking? For that and much, much more, continue reading!
Flaxseed oil is an excellent supplement that supports the bodys vital systems. It is rich in the omega-3 essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA. Although omega-3s are crucial to human health, they are not manufactured by the body, so its important to get a steady supply through dietary sources and supplements.
There are two types of essential fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6. Most Americans get enough omega-6fatty acids from dietary sources such as meat, eggs and dairy. Omega-3s are necessary for growth, heart health and brain function, but many of us do not get enough of them from dietary sources. MayoClinic.com reports that multiple studies have shown that omega-3 supplements may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
These supplements have also been studied as a treatment for depression and other mental illnesses, Alzheimers disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, PMS, ADHD, osteoporosis, and even cancer prevention.
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Food And Nutrient Intake
Dietary intake in CO and FO periods is shown in Table . At 0 week, no significant differences in total energy, protein, carbohydrate, fat, dietary fiber or alcohol intake were observed between the periods.
Table 3 Dietary intakes of foods and nutrients in corn oil and flaxseed oil periods
Previous report showed that LDL particle size was influenced by TG concentrations . To elucidate the effect of baseline TG concentrations, we divided subjects into two groups according to TG concentrations. Except for TG concentrations, there were no significant differences between the TG> 100 mg/dl group and the TG< 100 mg/dl group at baseline , although sdLDL concentrations tended to be different . Among subjects with TG concentrations of > 100 mg/dl, FO supplementation led to 28.2% and 28.9% reductions in sd-LDL concentrations at 4 and 12 weeks compared with 0 week, respectively, and sd-LDL concentrations significantly differed between the periods at both 4 and 12 weeks . However, among subjects with TG concentration of < 100 mg/dl, sd-LDL concentrations did not differ between FO or CO supplementation at any time point, but were significantly lower at 4 weeks in the FO period compared with 0 week .
Flaxseed Is Nutritionally Powerful
Flaxseed may be small, but its health benefits are big. It contains numerous salubrious components, with highlighted nutrients being omega-3 fatty acid ALA , fiber and lignans.
Omega-3 fatty acids are good fats that may help lower total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of certain cancers. Fiber can help relieve constipation, control cholesterol levels and keep you feeling full longer. Flaxseed also contains lignans, which provide antioxidant protection.
To ensure you are getting the most benefit out of flaxseed, it must be ground or crushed. This is because the body cannot break down the whole flaxseed to access the omega-3-containing oil. You can purchase flaxseed whole or ground as flaxseed meal. Whole seeds, oftentimes less expensive, can be ground using a coffee grinder or food processor. Once ground, flaxseed should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight, non-transparent container, as they are much more prone to oxidation and spoilage.
While there are no specific recommendations for flaxseed intake, 1-2 tablespoons a day is considered a healthy amount. One tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains 37 calories, 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat , 0.5 gram of monounsaturated fat and 2 grams of dietary fiber.
Tips for including flaxseed in your diet:
Flaxseed Muffins Recipe
Yield: 12 muffins
Nutrition Information :
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Study Identification And Selection
Two researchers independently searched PubMed , the Cochrane Library , clinicaltrials.gov , the World Health Organization ICTRP , and the ProQuest Digital Dissertations Database for English-language reports of clinical trials published from January 1990 to October 2008 and studies describing the effects of flaxseed or its derivatives in adult humans were selected. The key words flax* OR linseed* OR lignan* OR Linum usitatissimum, with the constraints noted above, were used in the literature search. Bibliographies of selected studies and relevant reviews were checked to ensure a complete collection. Attempts were also made to contact investigators for unpublished data. Studies were chosen for analysis if they met the following criteria: 1) the subjects consumed flaxseed or its derivatives for > 2 wk 2) the study was an RCT with either a parallel or crossover design 3) the study reported the dose of flaxseed, lignans, or ALA when whole or ground flaxseed, lignan supplement, or flaxseed oil were administered, respectively 4) the effects of flaxseed or its derivatives on lipid profiles could be extracted from the report and 5) the control regimen did not contain phytoestrogens, ALA, fish oil, or hormone replacements. According to these criteria, a total of 30 citations were identified .
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Lignan Reduces Lipid Peroxidation
The mechanisms at play with regard to flax and oxylipins relate to the fact that various lignans and sterols of flax reduce two problematic mechanisms linked to cardiovascular disease: lipid peroxidation and the formation of oxylipins.
Lipid peroxidation occurs when cholesterol vehicles such as low-density lipoproteins and very low-density lipoproteins become oxidized.
Lipid peroxidation causes free radicals, and these oxidative free radicals damage blood vessel walls, producing the plaque that causes peripheral artery disease and other cardiovascular diseases.
The fact that the lignans in flaxseed lower lipid peroxidation were illustrated in a recent study from researchers at the University of California at Davis. For six weeks, 37 people were given either a bar with flaxseed with 0.41 grams of lignans or a bar with three grams of flaxseed with 0.15 grams of lignans. Both bars had the same amount of omega-3 fats .
The researchers tested levels of cholesterol and lipoprotein carriers such as LDL and HDL.
The group that ate the high-lignan flax bars every day for six weeks had 12% lower cholesterol levels. They also had 15% lower LDL-c levels and more importantly, had 25% lower levels of oxidized LDL by 25% compared to the lower-lignan flax group.
The researchers concluded:
High-lignan FLX has the unique property of decreasing Ox-LDL, which is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
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Might Improve Blood Sugar
Since flax seeds contain ALAa certain type of healthy fatthey may also help manage pre-diabetes. That’s because ALAs appear to regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, both of which reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
A 2013 study published in Nutrition Research gave 41 people with obesity and pre-diabetes either 13 grams, 26 grams, or 0 grams of flax seed daily for 12 weeks. It found that those who consumed 13 grams of flax seeds per dayabout two tablespoonssaw the greatest reductions in blood sugar levels and the most significant improvement in insulin sensitivity.
Research Says Eat Heart Healthy Omega 3 Flax
Studies have shown that flax is a Food Lowering Cholesterol Bad levels in the body. Flax helps to reduce the bad LDL cholesterol and lower blood triglyceride levels as well as keep blood pressure from being elevated due to its omega-3 fatty acid content.
Flax seed also helps in preventing platelets from getting sticky and reduces chances of heart attacks. Itâs easy to see the beneficial connection flax seed and cholesterol have for health!
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Is Flaxseed Oil Good For Hair
When applied to your hair, any type of plant-based oil may help seal the cuticle, which helps prevent breakage and frizz for optimal growth. Flaxseed oil offers even more specific benefits based on its overall nutritional profile. The following ingredients can offer specific benefits for your hair: Omega-3 fatty acids.
What Is Flaxseed Oil
For a more concentrated dose of all the benefits flaxseed has to offer, many people rely on flaxseed oil, which is extracted oil from the seed. Since its an oil, its richer than ground flaxseed, but its a wonderful supplement on its own.
One teaspoon of flaxseed oil contains 40 calories. Not only can flaxseed oil be consumed, but it can be used directly on the skin to balance out minor skin problems, as well.
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Could Benefit Heart Health
Several studies have found that flaxseed oil could benefit heart health.
One study in 59 people compared the effects of flaxseed oil to those of safflower oil, a type of oil high in omega-6 fatty acids.
In this study, supplementing with one tablespoon of flaxseed oil for 12 weeks led to significantly lower blood pressure levels than supplementing with safflower oil .
High blood pressure can harm heart health, as it places extra strain on the heart, forcing it to work harder.
Flaxseed oil may also improve the elasticity of the arteries. Both aging and increased blood pressure are generally linked to decreases in elasticity .
These benefits are likely due to the high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed oil, as supplementing with it has been shown to significantly increase the amount of omega-3s in the blood .
Whats more, numerous studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids improve heart health, with benefits such as reduced inflammation and lower blood pressure .
Summary: Some studies have shown that flaxseed oil could improve heart health by reducing blood pressure and increasing the elasticity of the arteries.
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Types Of Healthy Fat In Oils
Incorporating a variety of different oils in your diet can help to provide an array of different micronutrients.
Monounsaturated fats contain a single unsaturated carbon bond in the molecule. A good source of vitamin E, monounsaturated fats are found only in plants. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends MUFAs make up 15% to 20% of total daily calories.
Polyunsaturated fats have more than one unsaturated carbon bond in the molecule and are found in plants and fish such as salmon. PUFAs also contain vitamin E and high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acidsnutrients essential for brain function and cell growth.
Some oils are high in omega-3 fatty acidshealthy fats that help to reduce inflammation and prevent the formation of arterial plaque. Avocado, canola, flaxseed, olive, peanut, sunflower, and walnut oils are all good sources of omega-3.
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