One teaspoon of flax seeds may double one’s daily production of lignans, phytonutrients that appear to play a role in both breast cancer prevention and survival.
Breast cancer is initially so slow growing that women may have tumors years or even decades before they’re diagnosed. So it makes sense that the same dietary factors that helped grow the tumor in the first place would keep goading it on both before and after diagnosis.
This is not always the case. Alcohol, for example, is strongly associated with breast cancer risk, but once you already have a full-blown tumor it may not make a difference if you continue to drink or not.
But in general, the same diet that helps prevent breast cancer appears to be the same type of diet that’s going to help prolong survival. That seemed to be the case in this recent new york study. Started out with about a thousand women, with breast cancer. Ended up with, less than a thousand. It must be so sad to do these survival studies; you never know who’s going to make it to the end.
Several investigations have suggested that plant-based diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and grains, as well as their related nutrients may have a beneficial effect on survival after breast cancer. Evidence pointed to ligans, phytonutrients found throughout the plant kingom. We know they may prevent breast cancer. Now we know dietary lignin intake is associated with improved survival among postmenopausal women with breast cancer. In fact, it appeared to cut mortality risk in half!
Where do you find it?... There’s some in red wine, whole grains, vegetables like kale, big jump to sesame seeds, and then meteoric rise to flaxseeds. Let me squoosh down the scale. Look at that. Nothing comes close to flax.
The Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project estimated the quantity of lignans long Island women average on a daily basis. From their entire diet, about 6 mg a day. That’s how many lignans are found in a single teaspoon of flax seeds. So you add just a teaspoon to your diet and you may have just doubled your entire intake for the day.
Just maybe not during the last two trimesters of pregnancy, as preliminary data suggests flax use may increase the risk of preterm delivery.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.
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This is the third of a five-part video series on improving survival for those diagnosed with cancer. See also Breast Cancer Survival and Trans Fatand Breast Cancer Survival, Butterfat, and Chicken. For more on exploiting the slow growing nature of breast cancer, see Cancer Prevention and Treatment May Be the Same Thing and Slowing Growth of Cancer. I have 10 more videos on flaxand some more precautionary pregnancy videos such as Caffeine During Pregnancy and Iron During Pregnancy. In this video I mentioned alcohol consumption and mortality—more on balancing the risks in Alcohol Risks vs. Benefits. And if that's not enough I have hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand subjects. Note that two of the sources for this video are open access--so you can download them by clicking on the links above in the Sources Cited section--and lignans are not the same as lignins, in case anyone is confused.
Please also check out my associated blog posts for some more context: Breast Cancer Survival and Soy, Health Food Store Advice: Often Worthless or Worst, Treating an Enlarged Prostate With Diet, Gerson Therapy for Cancer?, How Tumors Use Meat to Grow, Mushrooms for Breast Cancer Prevention, Foods That May Block Cancer Formation, Flaxseeds for Prostate Cancer, Flax and Breast Cancer Survival , and Treating Breast Pain with Flax Seeds