Eating flaxseed was associated with reduced blood pressure in people with hypertension, according to a study by researchers at St. Boniface Hospital, Winnipeg, Canada.
They studied 110 hypertensive patients with peripheral artery disease, which is strongly associated with high blood pressure. They sought to determine if adding 30 grams of milled flaxseed each day for six months would lower blood pressure. Researchers compared their findings to a similar group of people who administered a placebo to add to their diets.
In the flaxseed group, systolic blood pressure dropped an average 15 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure fell an average 8 mmHg. In the placebo group, systolic blood pressure increased slightly while diastolic blood pressure remained steady. The flaxseed group had notable increases in a healthy type of fatty acid, alpha linolenic acid, as well as a potent antioxidant, enterolactone. The placebo group had no such changes.
"These changes may be related to the antihypertensive effects of flaxseed,” the researchers concluded. “The change in blood pressure from flaxseed could result in about a 50% reduction of strokes and 30% less heart attacks.”