A few tablespoons of flaxseeds every day can be as effective as a powerful drug in lowering your cholesterol levels, a new study has discovered. The seeds, which are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and in lignans, a phytoestrogen, reduced cholesterol levels in a group of men by around 10 per cent in just three months. Cholesterol-lowering drugs usually achieve a reduction of between 10 and 20 per cent, but often with side effects. For the study, 90 men with high cholesterol consumed 150 milligrams - that's three tablespoons - of flaxseeds every day for the three months, usually by sprinkling the seeds on the food they were eating. Strangely, the flaxseeds didn't help women reduce their cholesterol levels. The researchers from Iowa State University reckon that the lignans in the flaxseeds are the active ingredient, and their ability to protect the heart has been proven in earlier studies, too. (Source: American Society for Nutrition annual meeting, April 24-28, Anaheim, California).