Flaxseed is the richest plant source of alpha-linolenic acid and dietary lignans, a soluble dietary fiber. A number of clinical trials have investigated the effects of flaxseed and flaxseed-derived products on blood lipids, but the findings have been inconsistent. Researchers pooled the results of 28 such studies in a meta-analysis to assess the impact of these food products on humans. The median dose was 2-3 tablespoons per day of flaxseed in various forms. Interventions using whole ground flaxseed produced significant reductions in total-cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol (bad kind), but flaxseed oil did not. The HDL-cholesterol (good kind) and triglycerides were unchanged.
PositiveTip: Moderate amounts of flaxseed included in bread or muffins or with cereal may be helpful in preventing hypercholesterolemia.