So why are the Omega-3 essential fatty acids found in flaxseed so vital to good health?

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to regulate gene transcription and expression, thus altering enzyme synthesis, and to modify several risk factors for coronary heart disease, including reducing serum triglycerides and blood pressure. They also protect against thrombosis and a variety of cancers, plus they enhance immune response and inhibit inflammatory reactions.

EFAs are required for maintaining the structure of cell membranes and the permeability of the skin. They are also needed as precursors for eicosanoids such as prostaglandins and thromboxanes, and in cholesterol transport and metabolism. EFAs -- Hearty Protectors. Once again population studies reveal that a diet high in Omega-3 significantly reduces the risk of developing heart disease.

It is interesting to note that of all the common causes of premature death -- heart attack, stroke, cancer, accidents, diabetes, and infectious diseases -- the odds of dying from a heart attack are greatest. That goes whether you are male or female. Most assume that cardiovascular disease afflicts primarily men, mainly because the symptoms show up ten years earlier in men. But following menopause, women catch up rather quickly. In fact, every year more women die from heart attacks than men. Per annum, five times more women die from a heart attack than from breast cancer. As you can see, heart attacks don't play favorites when it comes to gender. It is an equal opportunity disease.

Until recently, heart-healthy diets and nutrients good for the heart usually have only one goal; to lower cholesterol levels, which is helpful to the heart. But as research into what makes the heart tick continues, new revelations on how to achieve and maintain heart health are coming to light. True heart health is achieved through a variety of means, not just one. For instance, one might also consider lowering other blood fats besides cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, lowering homocysteine levels, increasing arterial flexibility, and decreasing blood platelet stickiness.

Flaxseed oil assists in the prevention of cardiovascular heart disease (CHD) by helping to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, raise HDL (good) cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and lower platelet stickiness. In clinical trials, Omega-3 rich flaxseed exerts a positive effect on blood lipids. Overall clinical findings suggest that significant reductions in total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels can be achieved, without a change in HDL-cholesterol levels, by adding flaxseed or flaxseed oil to the diet.

Substituting flaxseed oil for saturated fats in the diet enhances its beneficial effect. Epidemiologic studies have been excellent ways in which to study the effects of Omega-3 on heart health.

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