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How Flaxseed Lowers Cholesterol And Prostate Cancer Risk

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A new study from the Canadian Center for Agri-Food Research affirms that flaxseeds can promote cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancer. They contain a high amount of lignans- fiber compounds that can bind to estrogen receptors and interfere with the cancer-promoting effects of estrogen on breast and prostate tissue.

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 the linen cloth.

Recently a new study from the Canadian Center for Agri-Food Research highlights flaxseeds ability to promote cardiovascular health and its ability to reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancer.

Background Data

The major health benefit of flaxseeds are said to come from 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.

Flaxseeds are the most abundant source of lignans. These components are fiber compounds that can bind to estrogen receptors and interfere with the cancer-promoting effects of estrogen on breast and prostate tissue. Lignans also increase the production of a compound known as sex hormone binding globulin, or SHBG. This protein regulates estrogen levels by helping to escort excess estrogen from the body.

Ground flaxseeds, as well as purified lignan dietary supplements (300 mg per day), have also been shown to lower blood LDL cholesterol levels. Ground flaxseeds consumption can lower blood pressure. In a double-blind study conducted at the St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre in Winnipeg, Canada, 30 g of ground flaxseed consumed daily produced an average reduction of 15 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure and 7 mm Hg in diastolic blood pressure in hypertensive patients.

New Data

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 (PAD) including many who were taking statins to lower LDL cholesterol levels. Patients (110) 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.

Dietary flaxseed in these PAD patients resulted in a 15% reduction in circulating LDL cholesterol as early as 1 month into the trial. Results at one year, however, did not reach statistical significance in all patients.

Interestingly, in the subgroup of patients taking flaxseed and statins (n = 36), LDL-cholesterol concentrations were lowered by 8.5% compared with baseline after 12 months. This result indicates that flaxseed consumption provides additional LDL-cholesterol-lowering capabilities when used in conjunction with statins.

Conclusion

The takeaway message from the study is that a simple dietary addition can produce significant health benefits. Most of the beneficial research has focused on the use of ground flaxseeds, as this form allows for the beneficial compounds to be more easily liberated compared to consuming the whole seeds.

When buying ground flaxseeds it is highly recommended to purchase ground flaxseeds in a vacuum-sealed package or has been refrigerated since once flaxseeds are ground; they are much more prone to oxidation and spoilage.

Here Are Some Quick Serving Ideas

  • Sprinkle ground flaxseeds onto your hot or cold cereal.
  • Add ground flaxseeds to your breakfast shake.
  • Mix in with yogurt.
  • To give cooked vegetables a nuttier flavor, sprinkle some ground flaxseeds on top of them.

References

Edel AL, Rodriguez-Leyva D, Maddaford TG, et al. Dietary flaxseed independently lowers circulating cholesterol and lowers it beyond the effects of cholesterol-lowering medications alone in patients with peripheral artery disease. J Nutr. 2015 Apr;145(4):749-57.

Michael T. Murray

Michael T. Murray ND is a naturopathic physician regarded as one of the world's top authorities on natural medicine. An educator, lecturer, researcher, and health food industry consultant, he is the author of more than 30 books, including his new book, The Complete Book of Juicing, Revised and Updated: Your Delicious Guide to Youthful Vitality (Clarkson Potter, 2014). Learn more at www.DrMurray.com.

Michael T. Murray

Michael T. Murray ND is a naturopathic physician regarded as one of the world's top authorities on natural medicine. An educator, lecturer, researcher, and health food industry consultant, he is the author of more than 30 books, including his new book, The Complete Book of Juicing, Revised and Updated: Your Delicious Guide to Youthful Vitality (Clarkson Potter, 2014). Learn more at www.DrMurray.com.

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Nilanjan Chakravarty
Nilanjan Chakravarty 5pts

# Ayurveda, will u please tell me what its called in HINDI,national Indian language.

Ayurveda
Ayurveda 5pts

Do not consume excess of anything! Adu Shirodkar :)

Adu Shirodkar
Adu Shirodkar 5pts

I use to consume everyday 1spoon with oats pourage for approxt a year ,starting it was ok but later on i was having intestine problem please help me out.

Marion Weinand
Marion Weinand 5pts

Hi Pathma, I am a breast cancer survivor myself. For my particular type of breast cancer, I have to be careful with the consumption and exposure to estrogen of any form. If you are in doubt whether or not to use flax seeds, please check with your doctor, he or she will best know your history

Kim Shone
Kim Shone 5pts

I been sneaking it into our food and will divulge to girls AFTER they complimenting the flavors of the ital...Mother knows what's best for her children.Well, most of us!

Pathma Pillay
Pathma Pillay 5pts

Please assisvi had breast cancer 17yrs, ago am well n healthy, I srarted taking each morning flaxseed oil, and flaxseed grounded in smooth cottage cheese Is this no ok

Vijaya Gauri
Vijaya Gauri 5pts

People with thyroid problems consult your doctors before eating flaxseed.

Ayurveda
Ayurveda 5pts

Thanks for sharing! :) Harsh Dara

Ayurveda
Ayurveda 5pts

Necessary caution is extremely important! Thanks for sharing! :) Marion Weinand

Ayurveda
Ayurveda 5pts

Thanks for sharing! :) Ashu Tosh

Ayurveda
Ayurveda 5pts

Flaxseeds Ram Narayan Mahto :)

Karina Fuentes
Karina Fuentes 5pts

Naralia Calderon estas semillas bajan el colesterol

Ashu Tosh
Ashu Tosh 5pts

Very powerful laxative too if taken with curd followed by a glass of hot water

Marion Weinand
Marion Weinand 5pts

However, be careful with hormone receptor positive breast cancer (ER). Flax Seed just like Soy and few other foods are Phytoestrogen (Xenoestrogen) and can adversely effect breast health.