Your Road to Wellness


3 Important Benefits of Flax Seeds

Posted by on Anti-Aging, Anti-aging, Antioxidents, Blood Pressure, Bloodsugar, Body fat, Bone density, bone loss, Diabetes, Flaxseeds, General Health, General Health, Glucose, Green tea, Happiness, HDL, HDL Level, Health, Health Risk | 0 comments


One of the impressive health benefits of flax seeds is the ability to decrease blood pressure (Rodriguez-Leyva D,, 2013).

In a double-blinded, placebo-controlled study, 30 g of flax seeds daily for 6 months reduced the systolic blood pressure of 10 mm Hg and the diastolic blood pressure with 7 mm Hg.

 This is as good as some blood pressure medications, and instead of side-effects, you get even additional benefits.

13 g of flax seeds daily has shown to decrease blood glucose and insulin and improve insulin sensitivity in obese individuals with pre-diabetes (Hutchins AM,, 2013).

Flax seeds can also lower cholesterol. 

In just 7 days a drink made of flax seeds lowered total cholesterol by 12% and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) 15% (Kristensen M,, 2012).

Even if many people are not aware of these health benefits, it’s been known for a long time that flax seeds can reduce total cholesterol, LDL and decrease the blood glucose after a meal (Cunnane SC,, 1993).


It is very important to keep the blood glucose in a good range even after a meal, it is not enough to only have good fasting blood glucose.

I recommend grinding 2 tablespoons of flax seeds in a coffee grinder and put them in a glass with water, stir it and drink it thick. You can of course also sprinkle it on food, like a salad if you prefer.



Cunnane, S. C., Ganguli, S., Menard, C., Liede, A. C., Hamadeh, M. J., Chen, Z. Y., … & Jenkins, D. J. (1993). High α-linolenic acid flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum): some nutritional properties in humansBritish Journal of Nutrition69(2), 443-453.

Hutchins, A. M., Brown, B. D., Cunnane, S. C., Domitrovich, S. G., Adams, E. R., & Bobowiec, C. E. (2013). Daily flaxseed consumption improves glycemic control in obese men and women with pre-diabetes: a randomized study. Nutrition research33(5), 367-375.

Kristensen, M., Jensen, M. G., Aarestrup, J., Petersen, K. E., Søndergaard, L., Mikkelsen, M. S., & Astrup, A. (2012). Flaxseed dietary fibers lower cholesterol and increase fecal fat excretion, but the magnitude of the effect depends on food typeNutrition & Metabolism9(1), 8.

Rodriguez-Leyva, D., Weighell, W., Edel, A. L., LaVallee, R., Dibrov, E., Pinneker, R., … & Pierce, G. N. (2013). Potent Antihypertensive Action of Dietary Flaxseed in Hypertensive PatientsNovelty and Significance. Hypertension62(6), 1081-1089.

Is fat good or bad?

Posted by on Eating, Fat, HDL, Nut consumption, Vegetables | 1 comment


Until recently the belief was that fat, especially saturated fat, increased cholesterol and increased cardiovascular risk, but that is now being questioned.

Even saturated fat from animal sources is now promoted by some as a healthy way to eat. Fat is certainly necessary for production of hormones, the cell membranes and the nervous system, but does that mean that saturated animal fat is healthy?

Total cholesterol levels by itself does not tell the whole story, what’s more important is the particle size of both LDL and HDL cholesterol, how many small particles of LDL cholesterol you have, and if you have low grade inflammation.

I explained in a prior post how atherosclerosis may be created.

First, I want you to know that there is research showing contradictory results. I have looked at a lot of studies, and I picked some of the ones I thought were the most accurate as examples here, keeping the big picture in mind.

When The data of 8 studies including 13,614 participants was analyzed, it was found that by consuming polyunsaturated fat instead of saturated fat the rate of cardiovascular disease would be significantly reduced(Mozafarrian D, et al. 2010).
Polyunsaturated fat is found in vegetables, nuts and seeds, and saturated fat is mainly found in animals products although nuts and seeds also contain some saturated fat, but not that much.

Research including 80,082 women showed that the ratio of polyunsaturated fat to saturated fat was strongly and inversely associated with cardiovascular disease risk(Hu FB,et al. 1999). They found that higher ratios of red meat to poultry and fish consumption and a high fat to low fat dairy consumption were associated with significantly greater risk.

When a diet, which included 1 avocado per day, was compared with 2 other diets matched for macro-nutrients and fatty acids, only the avocado diet significantly decreased the LDL particle number and small dense LDL cholesterol which are important factors for cardiovascular disease risk(Wang L.,et al. 2015).

The thickness of the carotid artery intima –media and plaque height were reduced in study participants on a Mediterranean diet supplemented with 30 grams per day of mixed nuts, but not when supplemented with olive oil(Sala-Vila A, et al. 2013).

I also think you will find this study interesting. 300 calorie drinks of either glucose, saturated fat as cream, orange juice and water were compared(Deopurkar R, et al. 2010). The participants were tested for several inflammatory markers and also lipopolysacharides (LPS) after drinking these drinks. LPS is a byproduct from gram negative bacteria known to trigger inflammation, and it cannot be removed by cooking.

These were the results. Several inflammatory markers increased significantly after both the glucose and the cream, but LPS increased only after the cream. You may remember that inflammation is one of the risk factors for cardiovascular risk.

What’s the most effective solution?

If you want to improve your numbers consider this data.
When 4 different diet groups omnivores, lacto-ovo vegetarians, lacto vegetarians and vegans were compared, this was the results(De Biase SG, et al. 2007). Total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL were all lower in the vegetarians. The more plants and less animal products the participant consumed, the lower the numbers. As an example the LDL was on average 123.43 for omnivores and 69.28 for vegans.

More plants and especially more nuts is the way to go to reduce your cardiovascular risk.




De Biase SG1, Fernandes SF, Gianini RJ, Duarte JL. Vegetarian diet and cholesterol and triglycerides levels. [Article in English, Portuguese] Arq Bras Cardiol. 2007 Jan;88(1):35-9.
 Deopurkar R1, Ghanim H, Friedman J, Abuaysheh S, Sia CL, Mohanty P, Viswanathan P, Chaudhuri A, Dandona P. Differential effects of cream, glucose, and orange juice on inflammation, endotoxin, and the expression of Toll-like receptor-4 and suppressor of cytokine signaling-3. Diabetes Care. 2010 May;33(5):991-7. doi: 10.2337/dc09-1630. Epub 2010 Jan 12.
Hu FB1, Stampfer MJ, Manson JE, Ascherio A, Colditz GA, Speizer FE, Hennekens CH, Willett WC. Dietary saturated fats and their food sources in relation to the risk of coronary heart disease in women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Dec;70(6):1001-8.
Mozaffarian D1, Micha R, Wallace S. Effects on coronary heart disease of increasing polyunsaturated fat in place of saturated fat: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. PLoS Med. 2010 Mar 23;7(3):e1000252. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000252.
 Sala-Vila A1, Romero-Mamani ES, Gilabert R, Núñez I, de la Torre R, Corella D, Ruiz-Gutiérrez V, López-Sabater MC, Pintó X, Rekondo J, Martínez-González MÁ, Estruch R, Ros E. Changes in ultrasound-assessed carotid intima-media thickness and plaque with a Mediterranean diet: a substudy of the PREDIMED trial. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2014 Feb;34(2):439-45. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.113.302327. Epub 2013 Nov 27.
 Wang L1, Bordi PL2, Fleming JA1, Hill AM3, Kris-Etherton PM1. Effect of a moderate fat diet with and without avocados on lipoprotein particle number, size and subclasses in overweight and obese adults: a randomized, controlled trial. J Am Heart Assoc. 2015 Jan 7;4(1):e001355. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.114.001355.

Low HDL cholesterol associated with poor memory

Posted by on Cholesterol, Diet, Fat, Fish Oil, HDL, HDL Level, Low glycemic meals, Memory | 0 comments

HDL cholesterol is the good cholesterol which protects against harmful buildup in the arteries.

It is considered good to have high HDL since it can provide some protection against cardiovascular disease.

It is interesting that low levels of HDL have now been found to also be associated with poor memory (Sigh-Manoux A, et al. 2008.) The study referred to here included 3,673 male and female participants with an average age between 55-61 years. When the memory was evaluated, it was documented that a decrease in HDL over the five year follow up period was associated with a decline in memory.

This is another good reason for keeping your HDL level high. You can increase your HDL cholesterol by incorporating low glycemic index meals, avoiding trans fat and including omega 3, fat like fish oil in your diet, and also by exercising regularly.



Singh-Manoux A, et al. Low HDL cholesterol is a risk factor for deficit and decline in memory in midlife: the Whitehall II study. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2008 Aug;28(8):1556-62. Epub 2008 Jun 30.