Anyone who hasn’t realized that cancer is basically a disease of nutrition, just isn’t reading the right journals! Native peoples on their traditional diets just never get cancer.

Now an article published online on September 6, 2011 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, reports that a certain type of plant intake, lignans, is associated with better outcomes fro breast cancer.

OK, it’s a bit more pharmacology than nutrition, granted. But the fact is you can east differently and score well against your cancer.

Ligans are plant substances that mimic estrogens; they are often called phytoestrogens, from the Greek: phyto- meaning leaf. Lignans are found in flax and other seeds, wheat and vegetables. Lignans are converted in the colon to enterolactone, which is then absorbed into the bloodstream.

Basically, in this study, German researchers found that high serum levels of enterolactone, a biomarker of lignan intake, are associated with a significantly greater chance of surviving postmenopausal breast cancer in comparison with having low levels.

Serum enterolactone levels were measured in blood samples obtained between 2002 to 2005 from 1,140 postmenopausal women with breast cancer. Incidences of tumor metastasis or patient death were documented over a 6.1 year median follow-up period.

Women whose enterolactone levels were among the top 25 percent of participants had a 42 percent lower risk of dying over follow-up compared to those whose levels were among the lowest fourth. Subjects whose lignan intake was highest experienced a similarly reduced risk of undergoing metastasis.

Interestingly, and perhaps surprisingly, this study showed that the benefits were NOT confined to estrogen-sensitive tumors, as you would expect, but benefitted the non-hormonal class also.

Make sure you eat a diet that is rich in wholemeal products, seeds and vegetables. That way you’ll be getting plenty of lignans and plenty of other benefits too.