What is a lignan?

What is a lignan is a subject for everyone; make sure you are eating them daily for protection against the chronic degenerative diseases.

What is a lignan is not a question many folk will be asking; yet everyone and especially women should have at least a cursory knowledge about these polyphenols. They have a steroid-like structure very similar to female oestrogen.

There is strong research that by binding to sites on the breast, lignans compete with circulating oestrogen and reduce the prevalence of malignant tumours[1]; that is not small beer.

The chickpeas used to make hummus are a particularly good source of lignans[2].

Hummus 225

Scientists call these polyphenol compounds bioactive; that means that exhibit the ability to prevent inflammation and malignant tumours. They are also anti-oxidants, helping to mop up the free-radicals that can damage our genes.

In short everyone who wants to live a long and active life should make sure they are getting plenty of food that is rich in lignans on a daily basis. Researchers have found they reduce the prevalence of heart attacks and strokes too, the number-one killers.

Flax and sesame seeds

Freshly ground nuts and seedsNuts and seeds with a coffee blender in the background.

Lignans are found in many whole foods but flax, sesame and broccoli are by far the richest sources. Enjoying a blend of nuts and seeds every day is one simple way to make sure you have full protection. You can spread them on your breakfast cereal or put them into a smoothie.

Nuts and seeds are also excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

It's best to blend seeds otherwise many of them pass through the gut undigested; they have a tough outer coating and may even get stuck in diverticuli.

However there are many different categories of polyphenols and it behooves us all to make certain we are enjoying a wide range of coloured foods; you have probably heard of flavonoids like beta-carotene and lutein that are so important in preserving our eyesight.

"Habitual Western diets have low lignan intakes."

- Nutritional Review[2]

So it comes as no surprise that the prevalence of malignant breast tumors is soaring amongst those relying on typical supermarket food which is so refined.

Authentic hummus recipe

Hummus is a mixture primarily of chickpeas and sesame seeds, both very rich sources of lignans. Once you've got your hand in you can make it very cheaply in the kitchen in just five minutes.

100% wholemeal flour and cornmeal

100% wholemeal flour is a very rich source of lignans but alas is very difficult to find. You have to purchase your own grinder. Millers remove most of the bran which is where they are found.

100% wholemeal flour from our Hawo mill.You won't find flour like this in the supermarket.

Stone ground grits porridge too is an excellent source of lignans. Again you will have to look long and hard to find it in the shops.

Gelatinised retrograded wholemeal grits

Allowing starches like this stone-ground grits to cool overnight reduces the glycemic index; the glucose is released much more slowly. Then add hot water next morning and bring the porridge back to the boil; a teaspoon of natural honey, cream and mixed seeds complete the perfect breakfast.

Stone-ground-cheesy-grits100% whole grain corn grits

This is a lignan gourmet dish giving excellent protection against the chronic degenerative diseases so common today.

Dietary fiber

The lignans are found in the dietary fiber. Since most of those eating typical grocery store food are having less than half of the recommended daily allowance, they are also not getting the protection afforded against other vile tumours either.

Bacteria and viruses that kill very quickly, alarm and galvanise us; but truth be told it's the chronic degenerative diseases that we should really be afraid of. Far more people are dying from heart conditions, tumours and diabetes; slowly but surely, those restricted by the convenience of the typical "industrial diet" found in most supermarkets.

The polyphenol compounds like the lignans in dietary fiber are central to lowering blood glucose naturally. By using food as medicine researchers have shown that most type-2 diabetics can put their disease completely into remission without the use of any drugs.


The whole concept of gluten remains a thorn in the flesh for many. It's estimated that nearly a third of Americans are actively avoiding the whole grains that are rich in these lignans; yet less than 2% actually suffer from Coeliac Disease.

The meaning of gluten tries to tackle this complex subject. Three points are worth mentioning.

  • Often it is the chemicals that bakers add to their dough that cause the grumbling bellies after eating bread.
  • It is the refined carbs that those going keto should be avoiding; not whole grains.
  • Those going gluten-free often turn to highly refined foods that are low in lignans.


Lignins on the other hand are far bigger molecules that form an important part of plant cell walls[4].

Prostate cancer

Researchers have now established that the enterolactone produced in the gut by those eating plenty of lignans also gives protection against prostate cancer.

What is a lignan?

What is a lignan is a question every person should be able to answer; it's literally a matter of life and death. The typical grocery store diet is low in lignans; it comes as no surprise that the prevalence of breast and uterine tumours is soaring.

Where to start

There are two simple steps that one can take; neither are expensive nor time-consuming.

  • Start making hummus every week; you will need tahini, lemons and chickpeas.
  • Purchase a small coffee grinder and a large packet of flaxseeds; once ground, spread them on your cereal or make them into a smoothie.
Butternut smoothie blenderA stick blender is needed for both hummus and smoothies

A third simple step is to start eating broccoli and other dark-green leafy vegetables daily.


Our newsletter is entitled "create a cyan zone" at your home, preserving both yourself and Mother Earth for future generations; and your family too, of course. We promise not to spam you with daily emails promoting various products. You may get an occasional nudge to buy one of my books.

Here are the back issues.

  • ´╗┐Lifestyle and ideal body weight
  • ´╗┐What are ultra-processed foods?
  • Investing in long-term health
  • Diseases from plastic exposure
  • Intensive lifestyle management for obesity has limited value
  • A world largely devoid of Parkinson's Disease
  • The impact of friendly bacteria in the tum on the prevention of cancer
  • There's a hole in the bucket
  • Everyone is talking about weight loss drugs
  • Pull the sweet tooth
  • If you suffer from heartburn plant a susu
  • Refined maize meal and stunting
  • Should agriculture and industry get priority for water and electricity?
  • Nature is calling
  • Mill your own flour
  • Bake your own sourdough bread
  • Microplastics from our water
  • Alternative types of water storage
  • Wear your clothes out
  • Comfort foods
  • Create a bee-friendly environment
  • Go to bed slightly hungry
  • Keep bees
  • Blue zone folk are religious
  • Reduce plastic waste
  • Family is important
  • What can go in compost?
  • Grow broad beans for longevity
  • Harvest and store sunshine
  • Blue zone exercise
  • Harvest and store your rainwater
  • Create a cyan zone at your home

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