Dr. Richard Beliveau: Lignans in Foods Reduce Breast Cancer 20%

Noted Canadian cancer researcher Dr. Richard Beliveau wrote in a column in many Canadian papers that women significantly reduce risk of breast cancer by eating foods containing chemical compounds called lignans.

“By examining the results of 13 (recent) studies looking at post-menopausal women, the group most at risk of developing breast cancer,” Dr. Beliveau wrote. “Researchers found women who ate the most foods containing lignans had a cancer risk 20% lower than the women who ate few lignan-containing foods.”

Flax Seed Has High Cancer Fighting Lignan Concentration

Whether post-menopausal or not that 20% number is clearly good news for women. Eating foods with lignans is vital, he suggests, and when women learn there are many common foods containing lignans they will realize how simple it is to add more to their diet.

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Dr. Beliveau, who holds the Chair for Cancer Prevention and Treatment at Université du Québec à Montréal and has researched cancer for more than 20 years, points out that lignans are found in a variety of everyday fruits, vegetables and grains. Incredibly flax seed registers lignan levels “up to 3,000 times higher than other plant products.”

Stop Hormones Binding to Breast Cells

As the doctor explains when the level of estrogens, female sex hormones, get too high they cause “excessive stimulation of mammary glands” and that causes a greater risk for developing breast cancer. Beliveau said this is called “hormone-dependent breast cancer.”

There are molecules that have a structure very close to that of estrogen called phytoestrogens that, among other things, reduce the amount of female sex hormones in a woman’s blood stream. They also prevent sex hormones from “binding to the surface of the cells in the breast.” Lignans are a form of phytoestrogens.

Flax Seeds, Grains, Vegetables, Fruts, Green Tea – Lignans Easy to Find

Most plants contain lignans but Dr. Beliveau reports the best way to consume them is by eating freshly ground flax seed, which has a massive amount of it, 301,000 micrograms per100 gram serving. Sesame seeds have 39,348 micrograms.

Whole wheat buns and multi-grain breads are high in lignans. Kale, broccoli, garlic, apricots and strawberries are lignan containing foods. Dr. Beliveau points out that Extra Virgin Olive oil has as well and so does red wine and tea.

Factors Combine to Lower Cancer Risk

Research is increasingly finding that exercise and weight control, and stress control, are factors that also help to reduce cancers. But with a 20% reduction in the likelihood of ever developing breast cancer simply by regularly consuming lignan-containing foods doing so becomes an easy and effective way of lowering your risk.