If you are a postmenopausal woman, foods rich in flavonoids and lignans reduce your risk of developing the most common type of breast cancer by about 35 per cent.
A new U.S. study of over 1400 women with breast cancer shows the power of food as medicine–in cancer.
The most common breast cancer in the U.S. is estrogen receptor (ER) positive, progesterone receptor(PR) positive. This breast cancer was the type most reduced by flavonoids and lignans, but not by isoflavones (found in soy).
Lignans are a type of carbohydrate that is part of the cell walls of plants. They are a weak estrogen, and act as anti-estrogens in the body.
Flaxseed is the richest source of lignans, followed by sesame seed. Flax oil does not have lignans. Other good sources are pumpkin seeds, whole grains, cranberries and tea.
Flavonoids are vitamin-like, often anti-estrogenic compounds, in specific foods. Flavonoids include many different types of compounds, such as flavonols and flavones and bright pigments.
The USDA created an updated list of 393 foods with flavonoids.
Top flavonoid foods are apples, apricots, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberry juice, broccoli, cabbage, onions, lettuce, pears, black and pinto beans, parsley, tea and tomatoes.
Women with the highest flavonol intake (average 15.2 milligrams per day) had a breast cancer risk reduction by 46 per cent, versus women with just 3.7 mg/day of flavonols.
The same was true for flavones (39 per cent), flavan-3-ols (26 per cent), and lignans (31 per cent).
Eat the foods, and you’ll get the phytonutrients!