Flaxseed’s health benefits are as complex as the components of the remarkable seed itself.
Over the past decade, hundreds of studies have been performed on flaxseeds revealing their value in over 100 health conditions. Top on the list of clinically confirmed health benefits are its anti-breast cancer properties, but it also contains the following properties of value in cardiovascular conditions:
Cholesterol: Flaxseed may reduce circulating total and LDL-cholesterol levels, and prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing, causing heart disease.
Increased Blood Flow: Flaxseed consumption improves flow-mediated dilation of the arteries and reduces blood pressure.
C-reactive Protein Reduction: Elevated C-reactive protein is often a marker for heart disease related inflammation and associated increased risk of cardiovascular events. A flaxseed-derived lignan supplement appears to reduce C-reactive protein in type 2 diabetics – a population a far greater risk for cardiovascular disease and associated events.
Plaque Reduction: It is believed that secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG), a phytoestrogen present in flax, is responsible for this anti-atherosclerotic effect.
Other ways in which flaxseeds provide cardioprotective effects is through their anti-inflammatory activity, largely due to the abundance of omega-3 fatty acids they contain, and their fiber, which improves the elimination of oxidized lipids, cholesterol, fat-soluble toxins and hormone metabolites through its bile-binding action.
Tips for including flaxseed in your diet:
Add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed to your hot or cold breakfast cereal.
Add a teaspoon of ground flaxseed to mayonnaise or mustard when making a sandwich.
Mix a tablespoon of ground flaxseed into an 8-ounce container of yogurt.
Bake ground flaxseed into cookies, muffins, breads and other baked goods.