Study found Flaxseed Lowers Blood Pressure
In a recent double-blind, placebo-controlled study it was found that adding flaxseed to the diets of patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD) resulted in statistically significant drops in blood pressure (BP). In six month’s decreases of 10 mm Hg systolic (SBP) and 7 mm Hg diastolic (DBP) were seen.
In a subgroup analyses of the PAD patients with hypertension, it was shown that a greater reduction in DBP and SBP, compared to the study population as a whole.
Investigators randomized 110 patients with PAD with 30 g milled flaxseed daily in the form of bagels, muffins, and buns (n=58) or placebo products (n=52), made from wheat with a similar flavour, for one year.
Baseline characteristics were similar between the two groups, with hypertension being highly prevalent—around three-quarters of the PAD patients had high blood pressure, and 80% were taking antihypertensive medications. BP measurements were based on an average of three readings taken in the sitting position with a mercury sphygmomanometer by a trained nurse.
Dr. Grant Pierce, leader of the study and Executive Director of Research at St. Boniface Hospital, stated that “This is the largest decrease in blood pressure ever shown by any dietary intervention – including the Mediterranean Diet and low-sodium diets,”. To which he also added “We expect that this kind of improvement in people with hypertension could reduce their incidence of heart attack and stroke by 50 per cent.”
The study was led by the Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine (CCARM) centred at St. Boniface Hospital.
What’s so good about flaxseeds?
Flaxseeds are a plant source of omega-3 fatty acids. They have different components, including alpha-linolenic acid (a type of omega-3), enterolignans, and fibre. For those who have blood pressure these have all been shown to decrease BP.
How to incorporate flaxseed into your diet…
It is a versatile seed that comes in whole seeds or oil form. The seeds can be eaten whole or crushed, used them in breakfast cereals and smoothies. The oil is best when it has not been heated and therefore makes a great salad dressing, but it can also be used in smoothies and with pasta.
It is best stored in a dark bottle and once opened it is best stored in the refrigerator.