You’ve heard of the benefits of flaxseed oil with its fatty acids content and anti-inflammatory action, but have you heard of the benefits of flaxseed hulls?
The hulls contain lignans – a plant compound thought to have high antioxidants and even cancer-preventing properties. The extracted flaxseed oil, mighty as it is with its omega-3 content, does not contain any lignans. But in addition to their lignan content, flaxseed hulls also contain high levels of omega-3, making them a better choice over the oil.
WHAT ARE LIGNANS?
Lignans belong to a group of compounds called phytoestrogens (oestrogen-like substances with antioxidant properties found in seeds, grains and vegetables).
Lignans are found in foods such as sesame seeds, broccoli, apricots, strawberries, barley and other unrefined grains, but flaxseed is by far their richest source (containing between 70 to 800 times more lignans than any other plant).
The lignan-rich hulls are separated mechanically from the rest of the seed, and without the use of any chemicals – ensuring their amazing nutritional benefits stay intact. This is an important breakthrough, considering that lignans have been almost eliminated from our Western diets (which tends to favour refined grains and processed foods).
WHAT DO LIGNANS DO?
Flax-hull lignans balance oestrogen levels in the body, and help maintain our hormone levels constant. A normal hormone balance is key to a maintaining good health. It can also ensure that as women enter menopause their oestrogen levels don’t dip significantly, which can help prevent too well-known symptoms including hot flushes and mood changes.
Lignans are metabolised very easily and their antioxidant properties become readily available. They also promote breast tissue health, as cells making up breast tissue need adequate levels of oestrogen to maintain a normal cycle of growth, and replace and dispose of older cells.
Please note: pregnant women and those breast-feeding should not take flax hull lignans. No adverse effects have been reported, but lignan supplements have not specifically been tested on pregnant and breast-feeding women, so we recommend a cautious approach.
Lignans also affect younger and older women differently: it has been reported that young girls eating lignan-rich foods may have their first period delayed as a result.
For more information on the role lignans play in balancing oestrogen in women, we refer you to the manufacturer’s page.
Please consult your medical practitioner or health-care professional for advice before making significant changes in your diet, or to discuss your particular requirements.