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Want To Prevent Cancer? Then Give The Lignans A Try

The lignans are a group of phytonutrients (health boosting

, plant based chemical compounds which are not believed to be essential in humans) that can be found in various types of seed and certain other fruits and vegetables. Although humans can survive without these phytonutrients, studies have shown that they can fight free radicals, regulate estrogen levels and more. In this article I will be looking at the lignans in detail and outlining how they can benefit your body.

1) TYPES:

There are 2 types of lignans; plant (which are found naturally in plants) and mammalian (which are created by your body from plant lignans).

2) DISCOVERY:

People were aware of these phytonutrients as early as the 11th century when the roots of wild Chervil were used to treat cancer but they were not discovered until many years later in 1956.

3) HEALTH BENEFITS:

The lignans are all potent antioxidants that can protect your body's cells against harmful free radicals (dangerous by-products that are released into your body's cells during oxygen related reactions). They are also potent phytoestrogens (substances that regulate estrogen levels within your body) which can protect against cancer (a disease where your body's cells start to grow in a rapid, uncontrollable way), heart disease and osteoporosis (reduced bone mineral density).

Early evidence indicates that the lignans may also have additional health benefits. For starters, they may prevent atherosclerosis (a condition where hard plaques form in the artery walls, restrict the flow of blood and increase your heart disease risk), diabetes (a disease where your blood glucose levels become extremely high) and hyperlipidaemia (a health disorder where the concentration of fats or lipids in your blood becomes abnormally high). Additionally, they may act as anti-inflammatories (substances that regulate unnecessary inflammation), lower blood levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (a type of cholesterol that blocks the arteries and increases your heart disease risk) and lower high blood pressure.

4) RECOMMENDED DAILY ALLOWANCE (RDA):

Lignans do not have an official RDA but most sources suggest consuming between 25 milligrams (mg) and 50mg of these phytonutrients each day to unlock their health benefits.

4) FOOD SOURCES:

Flaxseeds are the best lignan food and contain an notable 301.59mg per 100 grams (g). Apricots (1.4mg per 100g), broccoli (2.12mg per 100g), Brussels sprouts (1.06mg per 100g), cabbage (1.06mg per 100g), curly kale (2.82mg per 100g) and sesame seeds (39.51mg per 100g) are also very good food sources.

5) OVERDOSE SYMPTOMS:

Consuming high levels of lignans has no reported side effects. However, pregnant women and people suffering from cancer are advised to check with their doctor before consuming these phytonutrients. In addition to this, eating a lot of flaxseeds (the main source of these phytonutrients) can sometimes lead to gastrointestinal (GI) blockages and an increased risk of bleeding.

by: Tom Parker

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