By Rachel Graham, nutritional therapist and medicinal chef
As women, we are aware, that the transition to menopause can be a bumpy one and many women are quite rightly focused on the more overwhelming symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, anxiety and problems with memory and concentration. Flaxseed can help for menopause and for long-term health.
Issues To Consider
During this life stage, we can also find ourselves at an increased risk for four chronic health conditions, that cannot be ignored.
1. Cardiovascular Disease
2. Type 2 Diabetes
4. Alzheimer’s and Dementia
I call these the Big 4 – because they are serious, chronic health conditions, that have the potential to shorten our life.
Having said that, they are all lifestyle-related diseases. This means that we have control over them, based on our diet and lifestyle choices – which is good news…
However, if we want to successfully control them, we need to prioritise our nutrition and make effective lifestyle changes to reduce our risk.
On World Menopause Day, I want to highlight the benefit of a really good diet. Nothing else will positively impact your long-term health and well-being. It is the number 1 way to avoid and reduce every known risk factor for heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and dementia.
Choosing foods with superpowers can be very helpful!
Some foods contain nutrients with far greater benefits beyond just basic nutrition. Flaxseed is one of those foods, a true superfood to be included in as many ways as possible in our daily diet…
One of the most important benefits of adding flaxseed to your diet at menopause is their high concentration of phytoestrogens.
Flaxseeds are an important source of a group of phytoestrogens called lignans. These plant based balancers have been shown to have a modulating effect on oestrogen, so at peri-menopause and menopause when our body’s oestrogen levels are naturally reducing, they have been found to gently and safely optimise oestrogen levels without any adverse side effects.
Lignans have been well researched for their health benefits at menopause and a daily intake has been shown to help manage hot flushes, vaginal dryness and other symptoms.
Lignans are concentrated in the outer shell, or hull, of the flaxseed, so to get maximum benefits it is important to have milled flaxseed. If you eat them whole, they just go straight through you – keeping you regular but not much else!
Flaxseed and Lignans – Some Quick Facts
1. Flaxseed is the richest source of lignans in the plant world.
2. Lignans are a component of the plant cell wall ( they make up approximately 15% of the plant cell wall)
3. Lignans are also known as phytoestrogens because they can have a similar effect to estrogen in the body
4. Lignans are thought to be able to bind to oestrogen receptors and interfere with the cancer-promoting effects of oestrogen on breast tissue.
Flaxseed has many other nutritional highlights too i.e. they are a good source of fibre, magnesium, potassium and manganese as well as minerals, iron and copper.
Many of my nutritional recommendations for women in this life stage revolve around nourishing your body with key and important foods! If there was one daily habit for women at peri-menopause, it is to add flaxseed to their diet every day. Packed with phytoestrogens, a good source of fibre and full of plant-based omega 3, flaxseeds can be a really useful ingredient for female hormone balance at this stage of life.
International Menopause Day is a day to take stock of your health and have a health audit. Cleaning up your diet is a good place to start. Your long-term health will thank you.
Any small actions you take now i.e. including lignans from flaxseed in your daily smoothie or porridge is a really easy way to support your menopause transition and potentially avoid chronic diseases in later life. It’s all of these small daily habits that add up in the end so that you see and feel the benefits of your efforts.
Flaxseed for menopause (summary)
An excellent source of natural phytoestrogens, flaxseed can help balance out fluctuating estrogen levels as women go through perimenopause. It’s also a great source of soluble fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids, making it a high value component of a balanced diet. Whether or not you decide to take hormone replacement therapy, consumption of ground flaxseed is an important component of healthy eating, especially for menopausal women. It’s important to consume flaxseed in its ground state, otherwise it will have a great laxative effect, keeping you regular, but not doing much else!
Consuming flax seeds is a great natural way to help balance hormone levels especially during the menopausal transition. Scientific studies have shown that plant phytoestrogens such as soya can help with menopausal symptoms including significant reductions in hot flashes. Flaxseed is another great source of phytoestrogens. Experiment with what works for you, but two teaspoons of ground flaxseed on your breakfast cereal could be enough to impact menopause symptoms. Postmenopausal women will also continue to benefit from flaxseed. Dietary flaxseed is also a source of lignans which may help prevent cardiovascular disease. Flaxseed also contains phytosterols which may help to lower cholesterol levels.
This nutty-flavored seed’s versatility makes it easy to incorporate into daily diets. Whether added to breakfast cereals, blended into smoothies, or consumed with peanut butter, flaxseed offers a natural and palatable way to enhance overall health. As you can see, there are many benefits of flaxseed and taking it daily is an easy way to improve women’s health in particular. We recommend whole flaxseed rather than flaxseed oil or taking it in supplement form, but be sure to grind it to ensure maximum absorption.
Rachel Graham is a nutritional therapist and medicinal chef with over 25 years food and nutrition experience. Her goal is to help her clients discover ways to consistently eat healthier and therefore feel better! She also teaches medicinal cooking classes i.e. Fermentation, Sourdough Baking, Meal Prep etc..
Why not explore more…
There are so many natural remedies for menopause. Diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes can all have an enormous impact.
How to ease menopause symptoms by adopting the right menopause diet – what foods to eat and what to avoid. Take back control!
Balancing blood sugar, getting the right nutrition and making healthy lifestyle changes can help you have a happy menopause without HRT.
Last Updated on February 16, 2024 by Editorial Staff