Flaxseed for Hot Flashes
Updated: Oct 14
Flaxseed has traditionally been used to manage a variety of women’s health issues including menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, and vaginal dryness. It is also used to prevent strokes, cancer, assist with digestion, lower cholesterol levels, reduce blood sugar and manage weight. Regarding menopausal symptoms, according to the National Institute of Health “a study of 140 postmenopausal women showed that menopausal symptoms decreased and the quality of life increased in women who ingested a flaxseed supplement for three months.”
I personally eat flax every day as part of my menopausal symptom relief regimen. Flaxseed's health benefits come from the fact that it's high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as phytochemicals called lignans. One tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains 2 grams of polyunsaturated fatty acids, 2 grams of dietary fiber and 37 calories. The presence of lignans is the key to its effect on hot flashes, and it is stated that Flaxseeds contain 100x more lignans than any other plant source.
Lignans are plant polyphenols that have a significant impact on hormone metabolism and the best thing about using flax to reduce hot flashes is that it has very little side effects compared to hormone replacement therapy (HRT). While (HRT) effectively reduces vasomotor symptoms associated with the decrease of estrogen levels during menopause, results of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) trial indicated that the benefits of HRT did not outweigh the risks3, as estrogen alone would increase risks of stroke and venous thromboembolism (VTE), and together with progestin could incur additional risks of causing breast cancer and heart attack.
Eating flaxseed and foods containing flax is an easy, side-effect free way to reduce hot flashes. You can add either ground or whole flaxseeds to all kinds of foods, including on cereal, in yogurt, added to baked goods or cookies. My Mom used to add a tablespoon of flax to apple sauce and eat it before going to bed every night and as I mentioned, I love it in smoothies!
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