It has been well-documented that lifestyle changes can have a significant influence on blood pressure. Consumption of a plant-based diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in sodium reduced systolic blood pressure by up to 12 points compared with a high sodium, standard American diet in the DASH study. Plant-based foods can lead to lower blood pressure through various mechanisms, including higher intake of potassium and magnesium, consumption of nitrates which can cause blood vessels to dilate, and reduced intake of high fat and processed foods which can cause blood vessels to constrict.
Reducing alcohol consumption has also been shown to reduce blood pressure, as have various forms of exercise and meditation/stress reduction (see charts).
Flaxseed is superfood which has been show to have numerous health benefits, including reducing the risks of prostate and breast cancer development and recurrence.
A 2013 Study in the medical Journal Hypertension evaluated the effect of 4 tablespoons of daily flaxseed supplement over a 6 month period on blood pressure in patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD).
Compared to those not consuming flaxseed, those receiving a daily supplement reduced both systolic (10mmHg) and diastolic (7mmHg) blood pressures. In those patients who had a systolic blood pressure more than 140mmHg at the beginning of the study, an even greater effect was seen: their blood pressures dropped 15mmHg/7mmHg on average. Even more impressive was the fact that the additional blood pressure lowering was noted beyond the effects of the blood pressure medications that patients were already taking.
Some hypothetical mechanisms include the anti-inflammatory effects of ALA (the essential, long-chain fatty acid component of flax), as inflammation is felt to be in part responsible for high blood pressure. Also, the lignans in flaxseed have an anti-oxidant effect, and free radical oxidation is felt to play a role in causing hypertension. Finally, the peptides in flax have been shown to inhibit an enzyme called ACE which produces hormones that cause high blood pressure.
To get the greatest benefits from consuming flax, it is important that it is ground into a powder. Otherwise, most of the nutrients are not absorbed.
Here’s a link to the article: