If you have hypertension, or high blood pressure, you know it is important to get it under control. It’s a serious condition that can lead to strokes and heart attacks.
If your blood pressure is consistently above normal (120/80,) your doctor may prescribe blood pressure lowering medication.
While these drugs help, they come with a long list of possible serious medical side effects.
Is there anything else you can do? Are there natural remedies?
Ground Flax Seed Lowers Your Blood Pressure Naturally
In a prospective, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized trial, participates unknowingly ate foods containing either ¼ cup of ground flax seed each day, or a placebo.
Six months later the participants eating the ground flax seed had significant improvements in blood pressure. Their systolic blood pressure (the top number) dropped about 10 points, and the lower number by about 7 points. Those with higher numbers saw an even greater drop, up to 15 points!
But how does this compare to drugs?
Vasotec (ACE inhibitor) may drop blood pressure by 5 and 2.1
Norvasc and Cardizem (calcium channel blockers) drop pressures by 8 and 3.
What was flax seed again? 10 and 7, on average.
“Flaxseed induced one of the most potent antihypertensive effects achieved by a dietary intervention.” – Study Authors
That beats out the drug companies – and the “side effect” is a “pleasant nutty flavor.”
Compare that to the side effects published by the drug companies:
Vasotec side effects include:
- lightheadedness, or
- weakness as your body adjusts to the medication
- dry cough
- loss of taste sensation
- loss of appetite
- sleep problems (insomnia)
- dry mouth
- skin itching or rash
Novasc side effects may include:
- dizziness, drowsiness
- tired feeling
- stomach pain
- flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling)
I don’t know about you, but a “pleasant nutty flavor” is preferable to headaches, drowsiness and problems sleeping.
Why Does Flax Seed Work so Well?
According to WebMD, “Research suggests that plant omega-3s help the cardiovascular system through several different mechanisms, including anti-inflammatory action and normalizing the heartbeat. Fitzpatrick says new research also suggests significant blood pressure-lowering effects of flaxseed. Those effects may be due to both the omega-3 fatty acids as well as the amino acid groups found in flaxseed.”
From the Worlds Healthiest Foods: “Most plant foods contain at least small amounts of phytonutrients called lignans. Lignans are unique fiber-related polyphenols that provide us with antioxidant benefits, fiber-like benefits, and also act as phytoestrogens. Among all commonly eaten foods, researchers now rank flaxseeds as the #1 source of lignans in human diets. Flaxseeds contain about 7 times as many lignans as the closest runner-up food (sesame seeds). They contain about 338 times as many lignans as sunflower seeds, 475 times as many as cashew nuts, and 3,200 times as many lignans as peanuts.” (Bold, ours.)
How to Easily Add Ground Flax Seed to Your Diet
When shopping for flax seed, make sure it is “ground” or “milled,” or it may be called “flax meal.” Whole flax seed will not lower your blood pressure. It will just pass through your digestive system.
You can usually find ground flax seed on the flour or grain aisle at the grocery store. Look for a brand that comes in a gas-flushed, light-protective pouch. Check the expiration date to make sure it hasn’t been sitting on the shelf forever.
Store it in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent oxidizing and losing its potency. Once the bag is opened, it should last 6-16 weeks.
Getting ¼ cup of ground flax seed into your daily diet can be as simple as sprinkling it on your cereal or oatmeal, or adding it to a smoothie or non-dairy yogurt. You can also add it to soups and stews.
The amazing health benefits of flax seed goes far beyond blood pressure. This nutrient-dense food also promotes a healthy heart, GI tract and kidneys. It is just one example of the powerful, health promoting effect that plant foods have on the body.
NOTE: If you are on a blood pressure lowering medication, it is important that you continue taking your medication and let your doctor know about any dietary changes. Blood pressure can normalize very quickly on a plant-based diet, and your doctor may need to adjust your medication or even have you stop taking it.
“Flaxseed can decrease blood sugar levels. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking flaxseed along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to be too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.” – WebMD
“Flaxseed might slow blood clotting. Taking flaxseed along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.” – WebMD
- Source: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/flax-seeds-for-hypertension/