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Whole Grain Benefits

Eat Lignans, a Hidden Health Hero, to Reduce Heart Disease



A new study just published found that a small but powerful plant compound called lignans can protect against cardiovascular disease, and there is more evidence that lignans can even protect against breast and prostate cancer. Here is everything you need to know about lignans, where to find them, and how to incorporate them into your diet.

Lignans are a type of polyphenol, which are plant chemicals that contain antioxidants and other compounds that provide wide-ranging health benefits in the body. Polyphenols can be flavonoids, stilbenes, phenolic acids, lignans, and other botanicals – but this study focused on lignans and, in particular, what happens to people who eat them richly. Or what doesn’t happen: You won’t get heart disease.

“Lignans are polyphenols that are converted by intestinal bacteria into enzymes that seem to reduce the risk of heart disease,” explains Dr. Joel Kahn, cardiologist and herbalist who is now encouraging all of his patients to consume lignans. “I used to tell them to eat more fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. My patients who are vegan and who are not vegan are missing both, but now I’m telling them to eat lignans, ”said Dr. Kahn recently in an interview.

(Confusion Warning: Lignans are not to be confused with lignins, which are the structural materials in the supporting tissues of most plants and are also found in fruits and vegetables.)

What are lignans and why should we eat more of them?

“Lignans are a top-secret nutrition hero,” explains Dr. Kahn, founder of the Kahn Center for Cardiac Longevity and Professor of Medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine. “You hear about lectins and everyone is afraid to eat a lentil and you hear about fiber. But lignans are a chemical class of polyphenols.

“What’s really exciting – and that’s why I’m thrilled – is that the Journal of American Cardiology has published this study in the past ten days, which looked at more than 214,000 men and women who had followed them in epidemiological nutrition studies for years .

“What food source has been linked to fewer heart attacks, longer lifespans, fewer bypasses, and fewer stents? Lignans! The more lignans in your diet, the less likely it is that Americans are the number one killer, and that is heart disease “says Dr. Kahn. The opposite was also true: the less lignans people ate, the higher their risk of heart disease.

The study found “a strong association with total lignan intake through food and cardiovascular disease (CDH) events” in a broad population, examined years of data looking at what they ate, and found that those who who ate the lignans, fewer cases of heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure and all the usual symptoms of heart disease.

“To be fair, there is also fiber in lignan-rich foods, so it’s not just the lignans in most plant-based foods, but also the fiber that can be beneficial for heart health,” emphasizes Dr. Boat. “So it’s a one-two. But the study found that it was particularly lignans, a fiber rich in polyphenols that helps fight heart disease and increase longevity.”

What foods contain lignans: Flaxseed is high on the list

Lignans are found in a variety of vegetables and fruits, legumes, whole grains, and oilseeds, but they are most abundant in flaxseed and also in sesame seeds and other plant-based foods. Dr. Kahn now even goes so far as to give patients small packets of flaxseed filled with lignans, fiber and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. “So it’s a win-win-win situation,” he adds.

Dr. Joel Kahn says, given the latest study results, it would be advisable to add flaxseed to our smoothies, salads, oatmeal, sprinkle them on avocado toast, and more. The study in the Journal of American College of Cardiology found that “increased long-term use of lignans in both men and women was associated with a significantly lower risk of total cardiovascular disease.”

The top 2 foods rich in lignans that everyone should include in their diet

  • linseed contain 85 milligrams of lignans per ounce and make flaxseed the winner by far. According to sources, flaxseed contains 75 to 800 times more lignans than other plant-based foods.

“If they were to give an academy award for lignans, it would be given to ground flaxseed,” says Dr. Boat. “Ground flaxseed has so many health benefits – from lowering cholesterol to fighting heart disease to reducing the risk of cancer.”

“These are the unsung heroes of a heart-healthy diet,” claims Dr. Boat. “So every time you add a few tablespoons of flaxseed to your oatmeal, smoothies or salad, you’re adding 85 milligrams of lignans to your diet,” says Dr. Boat. That is why he gives flaxseed to his patients. “I would recommend people avoid linseed oil and just go for the high-fiber ground flaxseed,” he adds.

  • Sesame seeds contain 11 milligrams of lignans per ounce, the second richest lignan food. “I’ve gotten into the habit of keeping sesame seeds in my office for my lunch,” explains Dr. Boat.

“The second strongest lignan-rich food is sesame seeds. It contains 11 milligrams of lignans per ounce – not 85, so not that much – but it’s number two in lignans. Sesame seeds also lower cholesterol and have plant sterol and they are the unsung hero of plant foods

Other lignan-rich foods

Kale, broccoli, apricots, strawberries, apples, and bananas all contain small amounts of lignans – but less than 1 milligram per serving. Lignans are also found in pumpkin seeds and legumes, nuts, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables, all of which contain lignans as well as fiber and have been shown to be protective in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, “A diet high in foods rich in plant-based lignans (whole grains, nuts and seeds, legumes, and fruits and vegetables) has been consistently associated with reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease Probably linked to the numerous nutrients and phytochemicals found in these foods that help protect your heart. “All of these foods are good for you,” explains Kahn, “but you can’t get over 85 milligrams in an ounce of flaxseed and 11 Beat milligrams in an ounce of sesame seeds. “

Dr. Kahn adds that as a proponent of plant origin it is important to point out that only plant foods contain lignans, not meat or dairy products or poultry: “How much lignans are in meat?” he asks rhetorically. “Big zero! Goose egg!”

He says he keeps a large mason jar of ground flaxseed on the counter in his kitchen and adds flaxseed to his meals and snacks throughout the day. But in his office he keeps small envelopes of flaxseed ready to hand out to patients.

“When I send my patients home with it [flax seeds] I tell them that they need these for omega-3 fatty acids. I always check their blood for omega-3s, and all of my patients, whether vegans or meat-eaters, are omega-3s deficient. So now there’s another reason flaxseed is crazy. “

Lignans have plant-based estrogen and antioxidant properties. Does that make them unhealthy?

Lignans are phytoestrogens, but since they look like estrogen but don’t act like estrogen, they can be thought of as “blockers” that bind to estrogen receptors in the body and reduce the amount of estrogen that circulates your body.

Dr. Kahn explains that these plant estrogens, like lignans, “may offer some protection in terms of breast health, according to research by Dr. Kristy Funk [breast cancer doctor, researcher, author, and speaker]At the cellular level, phytoestrogens act more like an estrogen blocker, even if we call them “plant estrogens”.

The opposite, according to Dr. Kahn and others, is that when you eat animal products like chicken and beef or ham from a female animal, you are getting real estrogen in the meat products. And these estrogens can interact with the estrogen receptors in your body. So when you eat these animal foods – as well as real dairy products – you are getting real estrogen into your body, explains Dr. Boat.

But soy estrogen isn’t actually an estrogen, adds Dr. Kahn added. The plant estrogens can mimic estrogen and they actually block estrogen. When you’re getting estrogen from soy protein, he adds, your own circulating estrogen can’t interact with the estrogen because it’s blocked. The data says that if you eat plant-based estrogens, you lower your risk of breast cancer.

Bottom Line: Eat flaxseed daily to include lignans in your diet to help protect against heart disease.

The more people ate lignans, the lower their risk of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, and stents, according to a new study published in the Journal of American College of Cardiology. Flax seeds also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are heart healthy, and fiber, which is beneficial for intestinal health. Flaxseeds are a win, win, win, according to Dr. Boat.

For more great health and nutritional content, check out The Top 20 Sources of Fiber, Unsung Heroes of Your Diet, and The 6 Most Protein Seeds.

Whole Grain Benefits

Do Grains Go Bad? Yes, But They Don’t Have To



AAre you someone who goes to the grocery store every time you want to eat pasta or rice, or do you stay stocked with your favorite cereal forever? If you’re resonating with the latter, we have some news that may have shocked you: grain goes bad – but how quickly it happens is up to you.

“Grains have a longer shelf life than most foods, which makes them one of the best foods to stock up on at home,” says New York-based nutritionist Jennifer Maeng of Chelsea Nutrition in Manhattan, noting that she has one Offer range of health benefits.

“Compared to refined grains, whole grains contain all parts: bran, endosperm and germs. If all these parts of the grain are left intact, they will be rich in nutrients such as B vitamins, minerals, fiber, iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, antioxidants, phytochemicals, healthy fats, vitamin E, carbohydrates and proteins. “

Of these nutrients, she says the most notable is fiber. “The fiber contained in whole grain products slows down the breakdown of starch into glucose and thus prevents a high rise in blood sugar,” says Maeng. “Constant increases in blood sugar can negatively affect your energy levels, weight, and general health.”

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Now that you know the benefits of storing grain in your kitchen, it is time to see the cons, too. Grains actually spoil and, thanks to their typical storage, can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Read on to find out more.

Does Grain Go Bad?

According to Maeng, the reason grain goes bad is because it is often stored incorrectly. With that in mind, she says grain should be stored in airtight containers (like OXO’s Good Grips POP storage containers) in a cool, dry environment.

“Whole grains can usually be stored (dry) for up to six months,” she says, noting that they can be kept for up to a year in the freezer. “Cooked whole grains can be stored in the refrigerator for four days and in the freezer for six months.”

Of all the grains there is, Maeng says that pasta, barley, brown rice, spelled, wheat, corn, farro, and rye are among the grains with the longest shelf life when dry.

And then there is white rice. “When properly (dry) stored, white rice can be stored for 25 to 30 years,” says Maeng. “As a study has shown, polished rice does not spoil and retains its nutritional and flavor profile for up to 30 years.”

Signs that your grains have gone bad

As with most foods, Maeng says you know your grains are spoiled if you notice a change in color, smell, or texture. “They tend to degrade in environments with a lot of humidity, heat, and temperature fluctuations,” she adds.

Speaking of changes in humidity and temperature, grains can serve as an abundant source of foodborne contaminants, according to the National Institutes of Health. “Unfortunately, whole grains usually have more pollutants than refined cereals, but they contain more nutrients that can combat these pollutants,” says Maeng. “The National Institutes of Health emphasize that despite an increased risk of contamination, the benefits of consuming whole grains outweigh the risk of contamination.”

Proper storage of grain

Remember: The best way to avoid spoilage and foodborne contamination is to properly store your grain. While dry and cooked grains require different storage solutions, Maeng says that “both uncooked and cooked grains should not be stored in environments with temperature changes, as this creates condensation and increases the risk of food contamination growth.”

That said, learn how to store your grains below.

1. Dry

As mentioned earlier, airtight containers and dry, cool environments are best for dry grain storage.

“The best temperature for storage is 40 ° F,” adds Maeng, noting that rice stored at 70 ° F (with the help of oxygen absorbers) can be stored for years.

2. Cooked

Cooked grains, on the other hand, have a much shorter shelf life. “Cooked grains that are stored in the refrigerator should be used within a few days, ideally three,” says Maeng, noting that they can be kept in the freezer for up to six months. “The shelf life of already cooked grain is much shorter than that of uncooked grain due to the addition of water and its role in microbial growth.”

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Whole Grain Benefits

What’s the Best Diet for Runners? Nutrition Tips and More



Before shopping for groceries for running, it is important to understand the science behind it.

The three macronutrients that are important to your overall diet are:

In addition, a varied diet ensures that you are also getting micronutrients and antioxidants, which play key roles in muscle function and recovery.


Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy and are essential for long distance running.

When you consume them, your body breaks down dietary carbohydrates into their simplest form, the sugar, glucose.

Glucose is a vital source of energy for humans. This is because your body needs it to produce your cells’ energy currency called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) (1, 2).

During a run or exercise, your body can send glucose to muscle cells as an immediate source of energy. Any extra glucose in your bloodstream is sent to your liver and muscle cells to be stored as glycogen (1, 2).

During a run, your body first draws glucose from the blood to keep working muscles powered. When glucose levels start to drop, the body starts converting stored glycogen back to glucose through a process called glycogenolysis (1, 2).

Your VO2max is the maximum rate at which your body can consume oxygen while exercising, and it increases with higher exercise intensity.

This limits the oxygen available for energy production. As a result, your body engages in anaerobic (lack of oxygen) energy production that relies primarily on carbohydrates (3, 4).

When your exercise intensity increases, e.g. For example, when running and sprinting over shorter distances, your body uses carbohydrates as a primary source of energy and fat as a secondary source (2, 3, 5).

Because of the shorter duration of a sprint, most people have adequate blood sugar and glycogen stores to support their run (2, 3, 5).

During longer, lower-intensity runs, your body increasingly relies on fat stores to produce energy. This can happen, for example, on runs longer than 10 km (6 miles) (3, 4, 5, 6).

Additionally, most long distance runners also need to fill up on simple sugars to keep their run going. This is why many long-distance runners consume sports drinks or energy gels (5, 6).

Eating around 45–65% of total daily calories from carbohydrates is a good goal for most runners (7, 8).


Stored body fat is another great source of energy, especially when running long distances.

In general, you should aim to get between 20% and 30% of your total daily calories from mostly unsaturated fats. Avoid eating less than 20% of your caloric intake from fat (8).

Low fat intake is linked to a lack of fat-soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids (8, 9, 10).

During long-lasting endurance training, your body falls back on its fat reserves as the primary source of energy.

It does this through a process called fat oxidation. Stored triglycerides are broken down into fatty acids, which your body then converts into glucose (1, 3, 5, 6).

While the process of fat oxidation is useful in long distance running, it is less efficient than using carbohydrates during high-intensity exercise. Because fat takes more time to be converted into energy, and that process also requires oxygen (8, 9, 10).

In addition, dietary fat is less efficient as a training fuel than carbohydrates, which are consumed very quickly and are more readily available during exercise (8, 9, 10).

So instead of consuming fat specifically for running, you should consume it as part of a balanced diet to support the functions of your body.

Dietary fat is crucial for:

  • healthy joints
  • Hormone production
  • Nerve function
  • General health

It also supports the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), making it an important part of your diet (8, 9, 10).

If you have stomach upset, eat low-fat meals in the few hours before running. Instead, try to eat higher fat meals during recovery periods (10).


Protein is not a primary source of energy during endurance training. Instead, your body supports (11, 12):

  • Muscle growth and regrowth
  • Tissue repair
  • Injury prevention
  • the production of oxygen-carrying red blood cells
  • Total recovery

Your muscles break down as you run, which makes protein fueling important in rebuilding those muscles. Without protein, the muscles cannot be rebuilt efficiently, which can lead to muscle wasting, increased risk of injury and poorer performance (11, 12).

Although individual needs vary, most research suggests consuming around 0.6-0.9 grams of protein per pound (1.4-2.0 grams per kg) of your body weight per day.

This is sufficient for recovery and can prevent muscle loss in extreme endurance athletes (8, 10, 11).


Exercise puts a strain on your body’s metabolic pathways, so you need a diet high in micronutrients to support its function.

While every athlete has different needs, some micronutrients are particularly important (8):

  • Calcium. This is a major contributor to bone health and muscle contraction. Most people get enough calcium-rich foods in their diet, including dairy products and leafy greens.
  • Vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for bone health as it supports calcium and phosphorus absorption. It can also contribute to muscle metabolism and function. You can get it through sun exposure, supplements, and foods rich in vitamin D.
  • Iron. This is critical to the development of red blood cells, which provide oxygen to working muscle cells. Long distance runners, vegetarians, and vegans may need more than the recommended food intake – more than 18 mg per day for women and 8 mg per day for men.
  • Antioxidants. Antioxidants help reduce cell damage from oxidation from intense exercise. Eating foods high in antioxidants – like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds – seems to be more effective than taking antioxidant supplements.
  • Other nutrients and aids. Many athletes use supplements or consume foods to improve performance, such as beetroot, caffeine, beta-alanine, and carnosine. Some of these are backed by more research than others.

For most people, eating a variety of whole foods ensures that you are getting enough micronutrients.

If you think you have a deficiency or want to try a new nutritional supplement, speak to a doctor.


Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy during exercise. As you increase the distance and time of your runs, your body also begins to use stored fat for fuel. Prioritizing your diet can help improve your performance.

Good timing when eating can make all the difference in your runs. Your timing largely depends on:

  • how long and far do you run
  • your personal goals
  • your tolerance
  • Your experience

The best way to find out what works for you is through trial and error.

Diet before the run

Most people who run for less than 60 minutes can safely exercise without eating first. Even so, you may want to have a small, high-carb snack to provide a quick source of glucose. Examples are (13, 14):

  • 2-3 Medjool dates
  • Apple sauce
  • a banana
  • a glass of orange juice
  • Energy gel

If you plan to run for more than 60-90 minutes, have a small meal or snack containing about 15-75 grams of carbohydrates at least 1-3 hours before your workout.

This gives your body enough time to digest your food (8, 13, 14, 15).

Examples of carbohydrates to eat are:

  • a fruit smoothie made from milk and a banana
  • Scrambled eggs and toast
  • a bagel with peanut butter

Avoid high-fiber foods a few hours before running, as these take longer to digest and can cause stomach upset during exercise. Examples are whole grains, beans, lentils, and some vegetables.

After all, people who run for more than 90 minutes may want to recharge with carbohydrates a few days before an event.

This involves consuming a large amount of carbohydrates before a long distance run to make sure your body is storing as much glycogen as possible for quick energy supply (8).

While carbohydrate loading, many people attempt to consume 3.2-4.5 grams of carbohydrates per pound (7-10 grams per kilogram) of their body weight per day 36 to 48 hours before running. The best sources are complex carbohydrates like (8, 9, 10):

  • potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Brown rice
  • Multigrain bread
  • low fiber cereals

During your run

The only macronutrient that you need to focus on while running is carbohydrates. What you consume should largely depend on the length and intensity of your run.

Here are general guidelines you can follow for different run lengths (8, 9, 10):

  • Less than 45 minutes. No high-carb foods or drinks are required.
  • 45-75 minutes. You might want a high-carbohydrate mouthwash or small sips of a sports drink.
  • 60-150 minutes. You may want to replenish your blood sugar level with 30-60 grams per hour of a sports drink or energy gel.
  • 150 minutes or more. For long distance endurance runs, you may need to fill up with 60-90 grams of carbohydrates per hour. Most people prefer to stock up on high-carb sports drinks, gels, chewy candies, and bananas.


Whether you eat right after your run depends on the intensity of the exercise, the duration of the run, and your personal preferences.

If you want to eat right away, try a small snack with carbohydrates and proteins, such as chocolate milk or an energy bar.

Try to eat a meal that is high in carbohydrates and protein within 2 hours of your run.

Try to consume between 20 and 30 grams of protein. Research has shown that this can promote increased muscle protein synthesis.

Some examples of high protein foods are (8, 9, 10, 16):

  • beef
  • chicken
  • fish
  • Eggs
  • tofu
  • Beans
  • lenses
  • tempeh
  • Protein powder (whey or vegetable based)

You should also replenish your glycogen stores by eating complex carbohydrates like whole wheat pasta, potatoes, brown rice, and whole grain bread, which provide a constant source of glucose for hours after your run (7, 8, 9, 15).


In most cases, food intake before, during and after the run depends on many personal factors. Try out some of these pointers and tweak them as needed to see what works best for you.

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Whole Grain Benefits

The benefits of fiber | 2021-09-21



The “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025” state that more than 90% of women and 97% of men do not adhere to the recommended intake of fiber, and such deficits are associated with health risks. This is where fiber fortification in baked goods, a traditional source of intrinsic grain-based fiber, helps consumers get closer to their intake goals. While there is a lot of fiber in it, bakers may want to explore those that give the recipe a function, such as: B. those that can eliminate gluten in bread or reduce sugar in biscuits.

Family-owned and operated Royo Bread Co., New York, launches a low-calorie, keto-friendly artisanal bread that has 30 calories, 2 grams of net carbohydrates, and 11 grams of fiber per slice. Wheat-resistant starch is the first ingredient. Other sources of fiber include wheat protein, wheat bran, whole rye flour, ground flaxseed, and psyllium husk.

“Flax seeds are high in omega-3 fats and fiber,” says Ronit Halaf, a registered nutritionist who started the company in 2019 with her baker husband, Yoel Halaf. “Psyllium husks are an important part of all of our products. It contains soluble fiber and insoluble fiber that will help increase fullness, slow digestion, and most importantly, help you stay regular. Wheat protein, also called wheat gluten, is essential to keep our products together. It contains traces of wheat and is a rich source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. “

For Nature’s Path, Richmond, British Columbia, the focus was on eliminating added sugar in muesli. But ingredient technology also added fiber to it.

“People worry about the amount of sugar they’re consuming,” said Arjan Stephens, general manager of Nature’s Path. “Our new granolas contain 0% added sugar and are still 100% delicious.”

The muesli is available in vanilla-almond butter and mixed berry flavors, with each serving containing 17 grams of whole grain products. That doesn’t mean everything in fiber, however, as one serving only contains 3 grams. This still enables a high-fiber claim. The secret of the muesli’s sweet taste is its main ingredient: date powder.

“Dates are also high in fiber, which is great for digestive health,” said Stephens. “And their fiber content makes dates a low-glycemic food.”

While most Americans are aware that they need to consume more fiber and less sugar, it is not an easy task. You are not ready to forego quality and enjoyment.

According to a study by ADM Outside Voice, more than half of consumers associate fiber with benefits like digestive health. In addition, 56% of consumers report adding or increasing fiber to their diet, the Hartman Group reports in their report, Reimagining Wellbeing Amid COVID-19, 2021.

“However, added fiber can also be linked to digestive problems,” said Sarah Diedrich, Marketing Director, Sweetening Solutions and Fibers, ADM. “Our research has shown that almost 70% of consumers would stop buying a product if it caused gastrointestinal problems.”

This article is an excerpt from the September 2021 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the full fiber optic feature, click here.

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