Flax, Sesame Seeds Could Slow Weight Gain
Compounds found in sesame seeds and flax seeds may actually help slow weight gain, according to a study at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Researchers analyzed data on 1,000 women who gave urine samples at the beginning of the study and were then followed for 10 years. The urine samples were checked for two compounds: enterodiol and enterolactone, which are made when bacteria in the gut break down lignans in foods.
At the start, women with the lowest body mass index (BMI) had the highest amounts of these compounds in their urine. For instance, women with the highest levels of enterolactone had an average BMI of 24.6, compared to an average BMI of 27.5 among women with the lowest levels of enterolactone. Also, women with the highest levels of enterodiol in their urine gained about 0.6 pounds less per year than those with the lowest levels of enterodiol.
It is not known, however, how these compounds help slow weight gain. Researchers believe that since lignans contained in sesame and flax are similar in structure to estrogen, they may attach themselves to estrogen and, therefore, influence weight gain.
The results, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, are considered preliminary. More research is needed to see if this link also applies to men and other ethnic groups since most of the participants in the study were of European ancestry.
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