Study Shows Ground Flax Seed Lowers Blood Pressure
Elevated blood pressure (hypertension) is an important risk factor associated with both cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease and is the most common medical diagnosis in the United States. Although most people believe that hypertension is a natural consequence of aging, hypertension is actually a symptom of diseased arteries caused by years of consuming a diet rich in saturated animal products, refined vegetable oils, sugars, processed foods, and salt. Because hypertension is a dietary-induced illness, using food as medicine has proven to be the most effective and safest form of treatment. Specifically, a diet based on whole, unprocessed grains, beans, colorful vegetables, starchy vegetables, fruits and a small amount of nuts and seeds significantly improves circulation and lowers blood pressure in many ways, due in part to its being high in micronutrients, antioxidants, fiber, and phytochemicals.
For example, in the video below, Dr. Michael Greger highlights a study that showed how eating ground flaxseed everyday lowered systolic blood pressure by about 10 points, and diastolic pressure by about 7 points. The double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized trial was conducted on 110 elderly patients with peripheral artery disease. Those with systolic blood pressures over 140 had an even greater reduction in blood pressure, a 15 point drop. "A drop like that," Dr. Greger says, "could cut stroke risk 46%, heart disease 29%; and that 10 point drop in the top number could have a similar effect on strokes and heart attacks." He goes on to compare the effect of flax seed to powerful ACE inhibitors like Vasotec which may only drop pressures 5 and 2, or calcium channel blockers like Norvasc or Cardizem which drop pressures 8 and 3.
"Flax seed induced one of the most potent antihypertensive effects ever achieved by a dietary intervention" Dr. Greger said. "In other words, the magnitude of this decrease in blood pressure demonstrated by dietary flax seed, is as good or better than other nutritional interventions and comparable to many drugs, which can have serious side-effects."
The high fiber content, alpha lipoic acid, lignans, peptides or perhaps the combined action between all 4 components within the flax seed was believed to be responsible for its antihypertensive effect.
It's important to mention that ground flax seed is an optional item in a healthful, whole-food, plant-based diet. The synergestic effect from eating beans/legumes, whole grains, and a wide variety of colorful vegetables--especially green leafy vegetables, safely lowers blood pressure without the addition of ground flax seed.
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