The Food That Naturally Lowers Cholesterol

Cholesterol, a waxy substance found in every cell of our body, plays a crucial role in various bodily functions. However, an imbalance in cholesterol levels can lead to numerous health issues, including heart disease and stroke. With the standard American diet, it isn’t hard to get imbalanced. In fact, over 94 million American suffer from borderline high to very high cholesterol. And 4.4 million people around the world die because of high cholesterol every year. Mostly from developed countries like America.

While medication is often recommended to manage cholesterol levels and can help lower cholesterol, meds come with some nasty side effects such as muscle pain/weakness, gastrointestinal symptoms (diarrhea, constipation, nausea, and abdominal pain), liver problems, increased blood sugar, and neurological effects.  

High-fat, meat, fried foods, dairy, and processed foods are the biggest contributor to high cholesterol levels. But is there any food that can help lower it? The good news is that there is. There is growing evidence to suggest that incorporating flaxseed into your diet can be an effective and natural way to combat high cholesterol.

Flaxseed, also known as linseed, is derived from the flax plant (Linum usitatissimum) and has been consumed for centuries due to its nutritional benefits. Packed with fiber, healthy fats, and a variety of essential nutrients, flaxseed has gained popularity in recent years for its potential to improve heart health and lower cholesterol levels. Research shows that flaxseed may be one of the best at de-clogging arteries after a study showed it reduced plaque formation by a whopping 40 percent!

So, what makes flaxseed so beneficial for combating cholesterol?

  1. Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Flaxseed is an excellent plant-based source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol (often referred to as “bad” cholesterol) in the blood, thus promoting a healthier lipid profile. By incorporating flaxseed into your diet, you can boost your omega-3 intake and potentially lower your LDL cholesterol levels.
  1. Abundance of Soluble Fiber: Flaxseed is rich in soluble fiber, which forms a gel-like substance when it mixes with water in the digestive system. This gel-like substance binds with cholesterol in the gut, preventing its absorption into the bloodstream. As a result, the overall cholesterol levels decrease. By consuming flaxseed regularly, you can increase your soluble fiber intake and help manage your cholesterol levels effectively.
  1. Lignans and Antioxidants: Flaxseed contains high levels of lignans, which are plant compounds that possess antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help protect the body against harmful free radicals and reduce inflammation, both of which play a role in heart disease. Lignans have also been found to have cholesterol-lowering effects, making flaxseed an ideal addition to a heart-healthy diet.

Incorporating Flaxseed into Your Diet

Now that we understand the potential benefits of flaxseed in combating cholesterol, here are a few simple ways to add flaxseed to your meals:

  1. Ground Flaxseed: To reap the maximum benefits, it’s best to consume ground flaxseed as opposed to whole seeds. Whole seeds may pass through the digestive system undigested, reducing their potential benefits. You can purchase ground flaxseed or grind them at home using a coffee grinder or food processor. Add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed to your morning cereal, yogurt, or smoothie for an easy boost of nutrition.
  1. Flaxseed Oil: Another option is flaxseed oil, which is a concentrated source of omega-3 fatty acids. However, it lacks the fiber content found in ground flaxseed. Use flaxseed oil as a salad dressing or drizzle it over cooked vegetables to enhance both the taste and nutritional value of your meals.
  1. Flaxseed Flour: Flaxseed flour is a great alternative for individuals looking to reduce their intake of refined flour. You can substitute a portion of regular flour with flaxseed flour in baking recipes such as bread, muffins, and pancakes, thereby increasing the nutritional content of your favorite treats.

It’s important to note that while flaxseed offers numerous potential benefits for cholesterol control, it is not a standalone solution. It should be incorporated as part of an overall healthy diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods, regular exercise, and medical guidance when necessary.

In conclusion, flaxseed is a natural powerhouse of nutrition that can potentially contribute to managing cholesterol levels. Its abundance of omega-3 fatty acids, soluble fiber, lignans, and antioxidants make it a valuable addition to a heart-healthy diet. By incorporating flaxseed into your meals regularly and adopting a holistic approach to managing cholesterol, you can take a proactive step towards a healthier heart and overall well-being.

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Danny Kwon JD

Danny is the executive director of Life and Health and identifies with the struggle most people have to eat and live healthy, going back to his days eating fast food and working long hours as an attorney all the way to his present trying to find ways to get his kids to eat their veggies. Those challenges inspire him to produce evidence-based media designed to help people live healthier, happier lives. Danny is also the CEO of Carbon Biotech, the makers of Black Ice charcoal patch and is an attorney licensed in California and Canada.

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