Increased Lignan Consumption May Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer
Post menopausal women may significantly reduce their risk of developing breast cancer by consuming more lignans according to a large meta-analysis published in the May 2010 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Lignans are a type of plant polyphenol abundant in flax seeds, whole grain foods, berries, fruits and vegetables. They are one of the major classes of phytoestrogens which are estrogen-like chemicals that act as antioxidants inside the body.
For the meta-analysis researchers from the German Cancer Research Center analyzed over 20 studies on lignans.
They found that postmenopausal women with the highest intakes of lignans had a 14% reduced risk of developing breast cancer.
They also found that lignans may reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer and even help you avoid hair loss as you age.
Another study published in the April 2010 issue of Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety found that lignans may offer protection against breast, prostate, colon and skin cancers. It also found that the soluble fiber contained in lignans may help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Flaxseed has by far the highest lignan content of any food but you can also get more lignans in your diet through sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, broccoli and kale.