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Eat This to Lower Cholesterol by 10 Percent

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Eat This to Lower Cholesterol by 10 Percent

A new study suggests that the addition of a simple food to a man’s diet has the potential to lower cholesterol by 10 percent–curiously, it had no effect on the cholesterol level in women. The study from Iowa State University’s Nutrition and Wellness Research Center (NWRC) was led by Suzanne Hendrich, an ISU professor in food science and human nutrition. The study looked at the effects of flaxseed lignan in people with high cholesterol. The results showed that eating at least 150 milligrams of flaxseed lignans per day (about three tablespoons) lowered cholesterol in men by about 10 percent over the three months that they were given the flaxseed.

Although cholesterol-lowering drugs can decrease cholesterol by more–between 10 and 20 percent–flaxseed may be a promising option for those looking for a natural remedy. “Because there are people who can’t take something like Lipitor, this could at least give you some of that cholesterol-lowering benefit,” Hendrich said. “The other thing is, there are certainly some people who would prefer to not use a drug, but rather use foods to try to maintain their health. So this potentially would be something to consider.”

It’s the flaxseed lignans–a group of chemical compounds found in plants that are known for their protective health effects–that may help lower cholesterol, according to Hendrich. The study subjects were given the flaxseed lignans in tablet form. Hendrich notes the flaxseed lignan tablets used in this study are not currently available in the U.S., but she says flaxseed can also be sprinkled on cereal, or added in a muffin mix or bread, although whole seeds are not very digestible. Ground flaxseed meal can also provide the desired cholesterol-lowering lignans, according to Hendrich, but it will oxidize over time and may affect the flavor of the foods that it’s in. She also reports that the oxidation will also diminish the flaxseed’s omega-3 fatty acids, which can prevent heart attacks, so freshness is key in the product’s impact. But flaxseed whole, which stays fresh longer, and grind it in a spice mill when you’re ready to use it.

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Read more: Cholesterol, Conditions, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

120 comments

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11:06PM PDT on Mar 26, 2014

Thanks for sharing.

3:55AM PDT on Sep 1, 2013

Eating smart is health

5:03AM PDT on Aug 7, 2013

thanks

11:18AM PDT on Jul 2, 2013

ty

5:30AM PDT on Jul 2, 2013

Thank you.

3:39PM PDT on Jun 29, 2013

thank you

2:43AM PDT on Jun 27, 2013

Thank you :)

6:56AM PDT on Jun 22, 2013

Thanks for the Flax info, good stuff!

10:00PM PDT on Jun 14, 2013

thx for this info

9:56PM PDT on Jun 14, 2013

Thanks.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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