What are lignans?

Plant lignans are natural; compounds found in the fibrous parts of linseed (flax). They are called phyto-oestrogens and are converted in the gut by good bacteria into mammalian lignans (which is the form the human body can make use of), including one called enterolactone.  They are mildly oestrogenic and strongly antioxidant.

A natural part of our nutritional heritage

Lignans are a family of more than 20 compounds found in plants. Lignans come into our diet along with fibre so diets short of fibre are will contain little in the way of lignans. The diet we evolved to eat was richer in lignans as wild plants are more fibrous. Modern diets with softer more succulent plant foods are lower in lignans.

Linseed (flaxseed) lignans

The main lignans in linseed

 Linseed (flaxseed) lignans   µg / 100 g
Secoisolariciresinol 170000
Lariciresinol 1800
Pinoresinol 850
Matairesinol 530

Linseed (flaxseed) is many times higher in most lignans than other foods. Linseed is approximately contains 10 times more of these lignans than sesame, and over a hundred times more than cruciferous veg and cereal grains.

Flax Farm's Bronze Linseed Meal (flax)

Food sources of lignans

Lignans from foods made with Flax Farm linseed

Lignans are found in fibre of linseeds. The best way to use linseed for lignans is to use either ground linseed or grind whole linseeds yourself.  All Flax Farm porridges and muesli contain ground linseed and are a good way to get lignans into your diet.

High Lignan Linseed Oil

Organic high lignan linseed oil close up
Organic high lignan linseed oil close up showing the tiny lignan-rich particles

Linseed lignans are not oil soluble so ordinary liquid cold-pressed linseed oil and linseed oil capsules contains virtually no lignans. However cold-pressed High Lignan Linseed oil does contain lignans. The lignans-containing portion tends to be dark and settle out at the bottom of the bottle; it is essential therefore that the bottle is shaken well before use.

Lignans: how much linseed do you need?

There is no recommended daily amount for lignans.

Most studies into the benefits of ligans have come from consuming  a helping of linseed of 2 heaped dessertspoons ground linseed or around 45g once or twice per day. See our recipes for some great ways to incorporate lignans into your diet.


Flax Farm ready to use foods good for lignans

An easy source of lignans are our ready to eat foods made from our gound linseed. A helping Flax Farm linseed porridge or muesli is a great way to add lignans to your diet and our Flaxjacks® are a tasty source too.

Food made from Flax Farm linseed are rich in lignans.
Food made from Flax Farm linseed contain lignans.