Lignan-loving Linseed

18.2.19

Although used historically for over 10,000, it's only over the last 30-years or so that we've been buying linseed to support our nutritive health.

Linseed (aka flaxseed) is a staple in our house - I can’t recommend this light, nutty seed highly enough for its nutrient benefits. Taking a generous spoonful every day can support joint comfort and skin health (to name just a few), while lowering the risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Take a look at just some of its benefits:

· A rich source of dietary soluble fibre (around 27%), and nutrient-rich with an excellent source of minerals and vitamins such as calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorous and folate, and vits E, K, C and several B's.

· An excellent protein supplement at around 25%, with key amino-acids (the building blocks of protein) in its profile; including the most commonly deficient amino acid, lysine, even higher levels of leucine, the most common amino acid in skeletal muscle, and methionine, beneficial for cellular and liver function.

· A gut system superstar. Thanks to its high fibre level this makes it high in mucilage, so super-soothing for gut sensitivity. It’s also a beneficial prebiotic, feeding our friendly gut microbes, as well as helping to lower the bad LDL cholesterol.

However, it’s probably best known for its high omega fatty-acid content. There are two classes of essential fatty acids (EFA’s, the building blocks of fats) – omega-3 and omega-6. They’re called ‘essential’ because the body can’t make them, so they need to be added into the diet for optimal immune function. Omega-3 is probably the best known, contributing to normal homeostatic balancing of inflammation, as well as supporting vision, the nervous system and cellular membrane integrity.

Studies show that feeding linseed generates higher levels of those beneficial fatty acids which controlling blood glucose levels: "Data suggests that linseed fibre supplementation affects host metabolism by increasing energy expenditure and reducing obesity as well as by improving glucose tolerance." http://www.the-aps.org/mm/hp/Audiences/Public-Press/2019/5.html

Let's talk Lignans
Linseed is the richest known source of plant lignans, which have been found to have hormone-balancing and cardiovascular benefits.

Lignans are converted by our gut microbes to enterolignans (enterodiol and enterolactone).
Also called mammalian lignans, these enterolignans perform a variety of beneficial biological activities including anti-inflammatory and apoptotic effects that have an influence on disease. The more linseed we consume, the more we increase the formation of enterolactone in the gut.

In a study evaluating gut microbiota metabolites of dietary lignans, researchers discovered the presence of enterolactone was greatly associated with a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes.

High levels of lignans also play a significant role in blocking the effects oestrogen may have in producing oestrogen-driven cancers. Research also shows phytoestrogens' effect on the bone can help maintain mineral density, which makes it especially valuable for osteoporosis. Clinical Endocrinology 2002;56(3):321

There’s no doubt that adding linseed into the daily diet gives us a powerhouse of nutrition and fibre that can have a significant impact on our health. Personally I add a tablespoon of organic brown linseeds into my morning smoothie, alongside the same measure of hemp, chia and sesame.

Find our organic brown and golden linseed here to keep the lignan-love going 😊

Carol