Exactly what are lignans and how might they help you prevent Breast Cancer? Lignans are natural plant compounds (phytochemicals) that are locked in the cell matrix of certain seeds, beans, legumes, fruits and vegetables. They are similar in shape, structure and function to estrogen. However, the very BIG difference is that lignans are the kinder, gentler version and can actually help the body block the more aggressive estrogens from its estrogen receptor sites. By replacing these more troublesome estrogens with lignans, you may reduce your risk of cell mutations, and consequently of breast cancer.
Everyday we are exposed to hormone disrupting chemicals, through the food we eat, preservatives, our personal care products, our household cleaners, and so on, these “xeno-estrogens” can wreak havoc on your body’s delicate hormonal balance. Flaxseed is your friend and ally in blocking these foreign invaders. Once the “Bad” estrogen has been displaced, it can be properly metabolized and removed from the body as waste.
Flaxseed is without a doubt the richest source of plant lignans. Most plant foods contain some amount of lignans, however, researchers have ranked flaxseed as the #1 source of lignans in our diet. Flaxseed also contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid and is a good source of melatonin also known to offer protection against breast cancer.
Wow, as if all that wasn’t enough, flaxseeds have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits making them a logical candidate for cancer prevention. Chronic inflammation (even low level inflammation) and chronic oxidative stress are risk factors for the development of any cancer.
How much should I have?
Lignans usually pass through your system in 24-48 hours, so it’s important to eat them consistently, to gain the benefit. 1-2 tablespoons daily is a good amount. It is important to note that flaxseed is easier to digest and absorb when it’s ground versus the whole seed. You can buy it pre-ground or grind it yourself. Flaxseed can spoil quickly, so must be refrigerated.
Flaxseed is also a good dietary source of vitamin E, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, folate, copper and zinc. It has cholesterol-reducing properties and its anti-oxidant benefits have long been associated with prevention of cardiovascular disease and more recently to decreased insulin resistance.
When you first look at the bag of flaxseed, you might wonder how on earth you’ll incorporate it into your diet? It’s really quite easy. You can add it to smoothies, sprinkle it on cereal, yoghurt and salads. If you’re a baker, you can even add it to muffins or bread.
Let's get cooking!
This is a pretty fabulous recipe from Sonali at The Foodie Physician www.thefoodiephysician.com
Sonali is an ER doctor and culinary school graduate who loves to combine her medical and culinary backgrounds to create healthy recipes.
Blueberry Banana Flaxseed Smoothie
You can read even more about the virtues of flaxseed on her recipe post!
Flourless Pumpkin Pie Muffins
In keeping with the season, I’m treating you to a scrumptious and healthy recipe for Flourless Pumpkin Pie Muffins from Amanda at Running with Spoons www.runningwithspoons.com
Have you already embrace Flaxseed. How do you include it in your day? Share below.