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About the antioxidant effect of lignans

Lignans are a type of polyphenol contained in plants. It has been academically announced that lignans have various effects such as antitumor activity, antioxidant activity, and antiobesity activity. Lignan is attracting attention as an ingredient that is effective for human health, but it is also contained in foods that are familiar to us and can be taken from the diet. Therefore, in this article, we will introduce the antioxidant effects of lignans, other promising functions, and foods that are high in lignans.

What is the antioxidant effect of lignans?

One of the health benefits of lignans is their "antioxidant effect". Every person is sure to get old and his body is aging. However, apart from aging over the years, when the phenomenon of "oxidation" occurs due to the accumulation of active oxygen due to lifestyle, it can cause various diseases. It's hard to get an image when you hear that the human body oxidizes, but it's easy to understand if you think that brand new metals will rust as time goes by, and that the inside of the human body will also rust depending on age and lifestyle. I think. In other words, oxidation is the rusting of human cells. And antioxidant means suppressing oxidation. If we can prevent this oxidation, we can reduce the risk of getting sick. In this section, I would like to explain the antioxidant activity and the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity of lignans.

What is antioxidant effect?

The same thing happens in the human body, just as an apple oxidizes and turns brown when peeled. So how does the phenomenon of oxidizing the human body occur? In fact, the human body oxidizes just by breathing and taking in oxygen. It is said that some of the oxygen taken in by breathing changes to what is called active oxygen, and about 1 to 3% of the oxygen taken into the body is activated. This activated oxygen is called active oxygen.

While active oxygen has the advantage of repelling viruses and bacteria in the body, it has the disadvantage of attacking even healthy cells if it increases too much due to its strong oxidizing power.

If it is oxidized more than necessary, it is said to cause various troubles such as rough skin, aging of blood vessels, lifestyle-related diseases, and increased risk of developing cancer. In addition to breathing, stress, ultraviolet rays, air pollution and radioactivity, and when it comes to mouth, drinking and smoking, and foods with a lot of additives are also considered to be factors that generate active oxygen. In order to protect your body from these oxidations, let's live a life that is conscious of suppressing oxidation.

Can lignans be expected to prevent cancer due to their antioxidant properties?

Oxidation of the body due to the accumulation of active oxygen is considered to be one of the causes of cancer.

From this, it is expected that cancer can be prevented by suppressing oxidation by the antioxidant action of lignans.

In addition, breast cancer, uterine cancer, prostate cancer, etc. are said to grow under the influence of the female hormone estrogen in the early stages, and the reasons for these cancers are fat intake and blood. It is believed to be the high concentration of estrogen inside. In fact, it has been reported that lignans have an anti-estrogen effect, which means that in the case of the above cancers, the concentration of estrogen can be suppressed and the cancer can be expected to shrink. The hormonal balance regulation function of lignans will be described later.

Anti-inflammatory effect of lignans

The inflammatory reaction is one of the immune reactions to protect the body. Although it is a very important function, overreaction may cause allergies and pain in the affected area.

Lignans have the effect of suppressing the secretion of substances that activate platelets and stopping blood clots. The substance that activates platelets is considered to be a substance caused by the inflammatory reaction, which indicates that lignans have anti-inflammatory effects.

What is the function of lignans other than the antioxidant effect?

Some lignans can be expected to have effects other than antioxidant effects. It balances obesity and hormones. The reason is that the components contained in lignans include substances similar to female hormones, and the effect on obesity is that it works to improve lipid metabolism. The following describes the action of lignans in a little more detail.

Lignans are also effective against obesity

When lignans enter the body, a substance called adiponectin, a good hormone secreted by fat cells, increases in the blood.

This adiponectin is involved in the metabolism of sugar and fat, and by acting, it lowers cholesterol and blood sugar levels, which is said to lead to the prevention of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and obesity. In addition, it has vascular repair action, fat burning action, vasodilator action, etc., so it works effectively for arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.

Adjust hormonal balance

When a lignan enters the human body, it changes into a "human lignan" in the intestine. Since this human lignan has a structure similar to that of the female hormone estrogen, it is said to regulate the hormone balance.

As mentioned earlier, human lignan is expected to reduce the risk of breast cancer and uterine cancer as a substance that suppresses the action of estrogen. In addition, since female hormones decrease sharply after menopause, human lignans are attracting attention as a substance to supplement it. For this reason, lignans have the effect of balancing estrogen levels by suppressing them when they are too high and supplementing them when they are too low.

What foods are high in lignans?

Lignans have a positive effect on our health. You can get it from food, but what exactly is it? In fact, it is said that this lignan is abundant in woody plants, and typical ones are "sesame", "umeboshi", and "flax". Therefore, in this item, I would like to introduce mainly the foods "sesame", "umeboshi", and "flax" containing lignans.


Antioxidants contained in sesame are called sesame lignans. Even if you don't hear the word sesame lignan, many people may have heard of sesamin. In addition to sesamin, sesame lignans include sesaminol, sesamolin, and sesamol.

To ingest this sesame lignan, the exodermis is hard even if it is eaten as it is, so it is excreted from the body without being digested in the body. Also, because the grains are small, it is difficult to chew all the grains with your teeth. Therefore, it is recommended to eat it in the state of sesame seeds with the exodermis broken. This will allow you to absorb sesame lignans efficiently.

Salted plum

Umeboshi is said to be "one grain a day without a doctor", and one of its health benefits is plum lignans.

Plum lignans can be expected to have many effects such as "influenza prevention", "stomach cancer prevention", "arteriosclerosis and smoothing blood". If you eat it as it is, the absorption of plum lignans will be poor, so it is best to take it as a plum extract or plum syrup that is pickled in honey or shochu.


Flaxseed oil is famous for flaxseed, but in fact, the seeds from flax plants are rich in flaxseed. The content of flax lignan is 0.6%, while flax lignan contains 1.2% in flax grains, which shows that it is one of the top foods.

Amarignan is a type of plant polyphenol, and is expected to have a dieting effect due to its high antioxidant power, its action as a substitute for female hormones, and its improvement in lipid metabolism. In addition, it is said to have a wide range of health effects such as improvement of arteriosclerosis, prevention of lifestyle-related diseases, prevention of cancer, and improvement of allergies due to its anti-inflammatory effect.

Reference: Explanation of the ingredients of flaxseed oil


Lignans are said to be abundant mainly in plants, and lignans are said to contain effective ingredients essential for human health, such as antitumor activity, antioxidant activity, and antiobesity activity. I will. This lignan is contained in our familiar foods such as "sesame", "umeboshi" and "flax", and can be taken from our daily diet. In particular, flaxseed lignans boast top-class lignan content among foodstuffs and can also serve as a substitute for female hormones, so anti-aging effects and blood vessel rejuvenation can be expected. Lignans are more essential to daily continuation than large doses, so be sure to include them in each meal.

Reference: Difference between flaxseed oil and sesame oil

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