People who eat large amounts of flax seed which contain omega-3 fatty acids find that they have lower blood pressure than those people who do not consume very much. The study that found this information was done by researchers H Ueshima and J Stamler. This study of Macro and Micro nutrients and blood pressure is entitled Intermap.
The INTERMAP is a study of lifestyle factors and diet, and its relationship to blood pressure. The study was conducted in 4,680 men and women aged 40 to 59 who live in the US, the UK, Japan and China. Blood pressure was measured and questionnaires were completed by the participants a total of four times. The data was analyzed for levels of omega-3 fatty acids from food sources including fish, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils.
Average daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids was 2 grams. Participants with a high (o.67% kcal) omega-3 fatty acid percentage of their daily calorie intake had an average systolic and diastolic blood pressure reading that was 0.55/0.57 mm Hg less, respectively, than participants with lower intake. Previous research has found that a decrease of 2 mm Hg reduces the population-wide average stroke mortality rate by 6 percent and that of coronary heart disease by 4%.
Higher omega-3 fatty acid intake among the 2,238 subjects who were not using drugs, supplements, or a special diet for hypertension, heart disease, or diabetes was associated with a 1.01/0.98 mm Hg reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, respectively.
For the 2,038 subjects in this group who did not have hypertension, greater intake was associated with a 0.91/0.92 mm Hg average systolic and diastolic reduction.
Lead author Hirotsugu Ueshima, MD of Shiga University of Medical Science in Japan, noted that the beneficial effect of omega-3 fats was even greater in people who had not yet developed high blood pressure.
The researchers also found that omega-3s gotten from nuts and seeds like walnuts and flax seed-had just as much impact on blood pressure as omega-3s from fish.This is good news because of the increased contamination in fish. “With blood pressure, every millimeter counts. The effect of each nutrient is apparently small but independent, so together they can add up to a substantial impact on blood pressure. If you can reduce blood pressure a few millimeters from eating less salt, losing a few pounds, avoiding heavy drinking, eating more vegetables, whole grains and fruits (for their fiber, minerals, vegetable protein and other nutrients) and getting more omega-3 fatty acids, then you’ve made a big difference,” said Ueshima.
All of these studies alone are good but when you combine this study with other nutrition and food studies you will find that the consensus of opinion is that we should eat better. Eating better means a diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains. It means further, to eliminate processed foods, sugars, reduce coffee and alcohol intake and get5 a little exercise. Eating better not only prevents and cures disease but slows aging as well.