By Kathryn Evans
Did you know that eating flax regularly can help lower blood pressure? Flaxseed is high in healthy fiber and an omega three fatty acid. Research suggests the acid helps reduce blood pressure by telling your body to stop making something that causes inflammation.
A review of 15 trials in 2016 noted, “significant reductions in […] blood pressure following supplementation with various flaxseed products.” In fact, one study carried out in a way that is considered the gold standard in medicine showed a blood pressure reduction that is like taking a blood pressure reducing medication. It is not recommended to stop or replace any prescribed medication without the advisement of a medical provider. It is, however, considered safe to start adding flax to your diet.
If you’re not used to getting a lot of fiber in your diet, it’s a good idea to start with lower amounts of high fiber foods like flax and increase the amount over time as your body adjusts. You can start with a teaspoon a day and work towards several tablespoons according to your liking. Grinding your flaxseed or buying flax meal will make it easier to digest and release more of the healthy nutrients inside the seeds.
It’s a good idea to store ground flaxseed/flax meal in the fridge or freezer to help keep it fresh. Some ideas to add flax into your diet are to sprinkle it on your breakfast cereal, mix it into smoothies, top salads & soups, or even add flax to baked goods. Some people even use it in place of breadcrumbs.
If you'd like more ideas on how to add flax into your diet, make an appointment with one of our Registered Dietitians at the Lifestyle Medicine & Wellness Centers.