Why the lignans didn’t have a significant impact on women’s cholesterol levels remains a mystery. “We’re really puzzled about that because we were looking at post menopausal women and these lignans are known as plant estrogens, so they have a very weak but measurable estrogen effect,” Hendrich said. “So potentially, they would have a mild effect for substituting some estrogens in women. It’s really hard to know why [there was no effect in women] and whether these substances are counteracting, possibly, some testosterone in men, which of course women don’t have.”
Aside from the study, flaxseed has been proven to be such a beneficial food–regardless of the cholesterol effect for men, women are encouraged to add it to their diet as well. Why?
- Those lignans! They have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. Flaxseed contains 75- 800 times more lignans than other plant foods
- Omega-3 essential fatty acids–the “good” fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s.
- Flaxseed contains significant amounts of both soluble and insoluble fiber.