Grape Seed Oil to Reduce Cholesterol
Did you know…that 2 tablespoons of grape seed oil benefits a day helps lower LDL cholesterol?
Europeans have been using grapes, as well as their sap and leaves, to treat a variety of health conditions for 1000s of years. Grapes grabbed the attention of the West in 1991, when CBS’s “60 Minutes” reported on “The French Paradox.” How in the world are the French able to eat a high fat diet made up of cheese, chocolate and wine, and still have such low rates of cardiovascular disease?
Some experts believe the answer to the riddle lies in the French people’s high consumption of red wine, known to contain heart-healthy antioxidants, such as resveratrol. And where does red wine come from? Grapes!
You can get the same cardiovascular protection from just 2 tablespoons of grape seed oil a day.
Grape Seed Oil’s Slow Rise to Fame
Grape seed oil isn’t quite as well known as its more popular counterparts, olive and canola oil. The oversight is certainly not due to lack of merit, as many experts believe grape seed oil benefits to be the healthiest oil of them all. Perhaps it is not as popular because grape seed oil is more difficult and expensive to extract than the oil of other seeds and nuts.
Even so, grape seed oil benefits won’t break the bank and makes for a wonderful all-purpose cooking oil used for baking, frying and sautéing. It has a higher smoke point than olive oil, which makes it ideal for cooking. Its light, neutral taste doesn’t compete with food’s natural flavors and is a delicious addition to salad dressings.
Grape seed oil becomes even tastier when you add all its health-enhancing properties to the mix. Studies indicate that grape seed oil benefits and grape seed extract heal a variety of health issues, including heart disease.
An Antioxidant Powerhouse
Grape seed oil is rich in antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, and beta-carotene. Antioxidants are important because they defend against free radical damage, which leads to premature aging and chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and arthritis.
Of particular interest to researchers is a highly potent group of chemicals in grapes known as oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs). Research suggests that it may be the powerful antioxidant properties of OPCs that render grape seed oil benefits such a heart-healthy option. One study found that healthy subjects who took grape seed extract (made from the ground-up seeds of red wine grapes) daily showed increased levels of antioxidants in the blood.
Dr. Ralph Feder, author of “The Bonus Years Diet,” explains that when you cook with grape seed oil you can raise your HDL (healthy cholesterol levels) by as much as 13% and lower your LDL (unhealthy cholesterol levels) by as much as 7%.
Lower Your Cholesterol the Safe and Natural Way
If you suffer from high cholesterol, then you probably take a statin drug, which unfortunately comes with many harmful side effects. Grape seed oil delivers the same benefits, without the unwanted side effects.
In addition to a rich supply of antioxidants, grape seed oil benefits contains linoleic acid, an omega-6 essential fatty acid that makes up 76% of the fatty acid in grape seed oil. With superior anti-inflammatory properties, linoleic acid is the only essential fatty acid proven to raise HDL levels and lower LDL cholesterol levels.
High levels of LDL cholesterol threaten your heart because when LDL cholesterol oxidizes, it sticks to your arteries. This plague buildup manifests as arthrosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), a primary cause of heart attack and stroke.
Linoleic acid protects LDL cholesterol from oxidation, thereby helping your arteries stay clean so that your blood flows freely to your heart. Studies have shown that when taken as a pure extract, grape seed oil benefits can reduce LDL cholesterol oxidation by as much as 90%!
Another promising study analyzed the effects of grape seed extract, chromium, a combination of grape seed extract and chromium, or a placebo on the cholesterol levels of 40 volunteers with high cholesterol. Results showed that a combination of grape seed extract and chromium proved most effective.
Another study, made up of 24 healthy male smokers 50 years or older, found that subjects who consumed grape seed extract twice a day for 4 weeks had substantially lower LDL cholesterol levels.
The Oil Many People Overlook that can Boost your Health
How “Forgotten Oil” Can Dramatically Boost the Health of Your Entire Body
Treasured for its healing properties throughout the Roman Empire, flax seed oil benefits was one of the original natural remedies used by Hippocrates. Nearly every bodily system can benefit from this “forgotten oil,” including the cardiovascular system…immune system…circulatory system…reproductive system…nervous system…and joints.
What is Flax?
Flax (usitatissimum) is a blue flowering plant that grows on the Western Canadian prairies. Flax oil (also known as linseed oil) is considered to be nature’s richest source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial for the health of the whole body. In addition to omega 3’s, flax oil benefits also provides omega 6, or linoleic acid (LA).
In the 1970s, flax oil benefits gained popularity among the most committed natural health aficionados. However, it fell out of fashion when oil manufacturers deemed nutritional oils less profitable.
You see, those same omega 3’s and omega 6’s that give flax is extraordinary health benefits are also highly sensitive to heat and air. This means flax oil has a short shelf life and is more costly to produce, transport, and store than many cooking oils.
In spite of this hurdle, flax oil benefits are making a fast comeback thanks to an avalanche of scientific studies that support its long list of health benefits. Indeed, many nutritionists, researchers, and scientists praise flax as one of the most important health supplements you can consume.
Medical Research and Flax– A Host of Health Benefits For Heart, Colon, Immunity, Brain, Skin, Blood Sugar, and Waist Line
Studies show that omega-3 fatty acids help lower cholesterol and blood triglycerides and prevent clotting in the arteries. This is important, because clotting can lead to strokes and heart attacks. Flax oil benefits also boosts cardiovascular health by helping to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
Further, flax oil benefits are 100 times richer in lignan than most whole grains—and risks is lower for both breast and colon cancer in populations whose diets are rich in lignan.
Flax oil benefits also promotes colon health. In addition to relieving constipation, it has proven anticancer benefits.
Numerous research studies have proven that this forgotten oil may provide myriad valuable health benefits, including its potential to do the following…
- Shorten recovery time for muscles after exercise
- Increase energy and stamina
- Accelerate healing of sprains and bruises
- Aid weight loss
- Stimulate brown fat cells and increases the metabolic rate (making it easier to burn off fat)
- Enhance calcium absorption
- Strengthen finger and toenails
- Improve eyesight and perception of colors
- Improve liver function
- Relieve the side effects and stop development of many forms of cancer
- Relieve asthma and allergies
- Improve eczema, psoriasis, and dandruff
- Relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
- Improve blood sugar and diabetes symptoms
- Prevent atherosclerosis (accumulation of fatty deposits inside the blood vessels)
- Lowers high blood pressure
- Relieve depression
- Improve mental function
- Help in the treatment of multiple sclerosis
- Relieve premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
Flaxseed Oil for Hair Growth
Yet another impressive trait of flax oil benefits comes from using it externally for hair growth. Flax oil encourages growth by increasing the circulation in the scalp. Plus, its rich stores of vitamin E work to nourish the scalp and promote healthy cell production.
Experts say benefits can be achieved by puncturing 3 to 5 flax seed oil capsules and massaging the oil into the scalp completely and then waiting at least 30 minutes before shampooing.
Flax Oil vs. Flax Seeds—Both Have Benefits
Flax oil is a nutritional wonder, but consuming the whole seeds may be even more powerfully beneficial. This is because the seeds themselves are loaded with nutrition, including the following essential nutrients…
- High quality protein for your diet
- Soluble fiber (the oil and fiber of whole flax seeds makes them an excellent and safe laxative)
- Vitamins B-1, B-2, C, E, carotene, iron, zinc, and trace amounts of potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium
- The phytonutrient lignan. As mentioned, lignans are thought to protect against breast and colon cancer. Researchers believe this may be because lignans flush excess estrogen from the body. Eliminating excess estrogens helps prevent estrogen-related cancers (such as breast cancer). Lignans may also protect against infections from bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
Tips for Purchasing and Using Flax Oil and Flax Seeds
Flax can be purchased as whole or preground seeds, as extracted oil, or as oil in capsules. Health experts advise that whole flax seeds should be ground prior to consumption (which can be done with a simple coffee grinder).
As for flax oil, the short shelf life is an important consideration when purchasing and using. Flax oil turns rancid relatively quickly (often within 6 weeks of processing). In addition, its health benefits can be negatively affected by heat and air (or maximized by combining with other foods). Therefore, the following tips for purchasing and using flax oil are advised by natural health practitioners:
- Choose flax oil that is stored in black containers and kept in the store’s refrigerator section.
In your own home, make sure to refrigerate your flax oil and minimize air exposure by keeping the lid tightly closed.
- Purchase flax oil small quantities of 8 to 12 oz, depending on how much you intend to use (recommended daily dose for most people is at least 1,000 mg taken 1 to 3 times daily).
- Don’t cook with flax oil (heat can turn essential fatty acids into harmful substances). Instead, add flax oil to foods after cooking and just before serving.
- Consider taking flax oil with your meal, because doing so can actually increase the nutritional value of your food.
- The benefits of flax oil can take from a few days to as many as 6 weeks to emerge, depending on your health status. Therefore, experts recommend committing to at least 6 weeks of consistent use in order to judge effectiveness for specific health issues.
Flax Seed for Hypertension
Did You Know…that flax seeds may be a cheap, natural treatment for hypertension?
High blood pressure (hypertension) affects 1 in 3 Americans (68 million and counting) and is the number one reason for doctor’s visits.
|The National Institutes for Health (NIH) considers a reading of 140/90 mm Hg indicative of hypertension.|
The risks of high blood pressure include cognitive impairment, aneurysm, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and stroke, among other life-threatening conditions. Blood pressure medications—diuretics, ACE inhibitors, and beta-blockers—come with assorted side effects, including:
- Loss of essential minerals and subsequent nutrient deficiency
- Kidney damage
- Erectile dysfunction
- Digestive disorders
- Elevated triglycerides (blood fats) and LDL (bad) cholesterol
- Vision problems
- Anxiety and restlessness
One natural remedy for hypertension that has shown great promise in recent studies is flax seeds. Flax seeds are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, fiber, and lignans (an antioxidant that protects against oxidative damage).
Change Your Diet, Lower Your Blood Pressure
Previous animal studies have demonstrated the positive effect of flax seeds on hypertension, but a recent study published in the journal Hypertension is one of the first to show that flax seeds lower blood pressure in humans.
Hypertension is a common symptom of peripheral artery disease—a condition in which plaque builds up in the arteries of the leg. For the study, researchers separated 110 people with peripheral artery disease into two groups.
One group ate 30 grams (1 ounce) of milled flax seed in the form of muffins, pasta, and bagels every day for one year.
The control group ate the same fare for the same amount of time, but with no flax seed mixed in.
After six months, 24 people had dropped out of the study. Of the remaining patients…
Those in the flax seed group who started with a systolic blood pressure reading of at least 140 found their blood pressure lowered by an average of 15 mm Hg. The diastolic (the bottom) number also lowered an average of 7 mm Hg.
Patients not on the flax seed diet showed no changes in their blood pressure readings.
These impressive results were only with participants who began the study with high blood pressure. The study authors noted that flax seeds did not appear to lower the blood pressure of patients who started the study with normal readings.
A different study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that flaxseed oil lowered the blood pressure of patients with dyslipidemia—a condition characterized by either too high or too low amounts of cholesterol or fat in the blood:
After 12 weeks of supplementation with flaxseed oil patients showed significant improvement in both systolic and diastolic numbers, while patients in the control group who supplemented with safflower oil did not exhibit such gains.
Experts warn against swapping out your blood pressure medications for flax seeds just yet. More human tests need to be conducted. But we can certainly add hypertension to the list of possible ailments flax seeds may help protect against. So far, flax seeds have been discovered to possibly decrease the risk of breast cancer… inhibit the growth and metastasis of cancer cells… and neutralize damage caused by radiation therapy.