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Rye - High in plant lignans

  • Is one of the more recent grains having been cultivated only about 3000 years ago.
  • Rye, and rye bran in particular has one of the highest lignan content of all the grains. There are a number of other bioactive compounds as well in the ‘dietary-fibre complex.’ (Hallmans, Zhang et al. 2007). “In the mammalian gut plant lignans such as secoisolariciresinol and matairesinol are converted to mammalian lignans, enterolactone (Enl) andenterodiol (Katina, Arendt et al.) by the microflora.” (Hallmans, Zhang et al. 2007). In other words the plant lignans are converted by your bowel bacteria into compounds that act like weak estrogens in your body.
  • They compete with your body’s own estrogen for the estrogen receptor site thus blocking the effect of your body’s powerful hormone and making its effect weaker. This is one mechanism for protection against hormonal cancers such as breast or prostate cancer. Other mechanisms are explained in the free tutorial titled ‘Lignans’
  • One study showed the difference in enterolactone [enl] levels when wholegrain bread was compared with white bread “In healthy human subjects markedly higher plasma and urinary (Enterolactone) Enl levels were observed for subjects consuming a diet containing wholegrain rye bread compared with white wheat bread.” (Juntunen, Mazur et al. 2007. The effects of antibiotics on bowel bacteria is also significant and may affect your ability to produce enterolactone. According to the paper “Rye, lignans and human health’ they stated that “After a course of antibiotics, it may take more than 1 year before the microflora is again producing Enl normally.” (Hallmans, 2007).

Rye - an excellent source of manganese

  • Rye is an excellent source of manganese. Only 1/3 of a cup of rye provides 75 percent of the Daily Value [DV%] of this essential trace element. Rye is also high in magnesium which may be of benefit in asthma.

High in fibre

  • The high fibre content in rye and the other grains provide a food source for bowel bacteria. These bacteria are critical for a healthy immune system. They also bind to toxic substances in the bowel and this may be why whole grains may decrease the risk of bowel cancer. By keeping the bowel bacteria healthy conversion of plant lignans to mammalian lignans can proceed optimally.

Food intolerance issues

  • Rye does belong to the gluten-grains but may be tolerated by someone that has a wheat and not a gluten sensitivity.
  • Rye as a major ingredient in products like rye bread or rye crackers, is a FODMAP containing food.
  • Rye contains Fructans and/or galactooligosaccharides (GOS) and therefore should be limited in those who have malabsorption, irritable bowel symptosm with fructans and GOS
  • For more information on FODMAPs click: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) & FODMAPs

Tutorials: Lignans’ ‘Estrogen Metabolism

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