Flaxseed for Menopause: A Secret Weapon?
Are you experiencing menopause symptoms? If so, you may be looking for ways to ease your discomfort. One way to do this is by adding flaxseed to your diet.
Flaxseed is a powerful plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids, lignans, and fiber, all three of which are beneficial to women going through menopause.
In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of flaxseed for menopause and provide some recipes you can try!
The Benefits of the Nutrients in Flaxseed
Essential Fatty Acids
Flaxseed is an amazing seed because it contains some of the same nutrients as salmon.
It is rich in the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), one of the omega-3s.ALA converts into docosahexaenoic (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic (EPA) acids, which are powerful compounds that can reduce inflammation.
These omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to a wide variety of health benefits, including reducing inflammation, boosting heart health, and improving cognitive function.
Ground flaxseed also contains lignans, which can convert into plant estrogens. The result is protection against several forms of cancer and heart disease and maybe even the alleviation of menopause symptoms.
Flavonoids are also found in flaxseed, which can help lower unwanted cholesterol (LDL). Menopause can increase this type of cholesterol, potentially resulting in a higher risk of heart disease.
Lastly, ground flaxseed is high in soluble fiber. This is important as the fluctuating hormone levels during menopause often cause constipation and other stomach issues.
Furthermore, fiber can improve gut health, which in turn improves menopause symptoms.
The Benefits of Flaxseed for Menopause Symptoms
One of the potential benefits of flaxseed is that it may help reduce the severity of hot flashes and night sweats.
Studies have shown that flaxseed can be beneficial in reducing menopause-related hot flashes due to its natural plant compounds.
For example, a study of 140 women showed that 5 grams per day of flaxseed for 12 weeks significantly reduced the pesky menopause symptom.
Another study found that women taking 40 grams of flaxseed or wheat flour daily for 6 weeks had less severe hot flashes. However, the frequency of hot flashes did not change.
The severity of night sweats and sleep disturbance also improved.
Other studies contradict the findings. Overall, there are not enough studies to say with certainty that flaxseed helps with hot flashes.
In my opinion, there is nothing to lose by adding flaxseed to your diet, so it might be worth trying. There are certainly many beneficial nutrients in these seeds.
We know that menopause is pro-inflammatory and that inflammation can result in a number of issues. These include joint pain, weight gain, and increased risk for chronic disease.
Flaxseed has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation and associated symptoms.
Studies show that flaxseed can reduce the inflammatory marker CRP in those who are overweight.
Changing levels of estrogen during menopause can negatively impact gut health. Such changes can lead to diarrhea, constipation, and bloating.
Furthermore, an unhealthy gut can make weight loss more difficult, increase insulin resistance, and decrease metabolism.
Flaxseed is a good source of prebiotics essential to gut health.
Flaxseed and flaxseed oil are safe to use. However, taking a large dose, especially if you don’t consume them regularly, can result in:
The solution is to start with a small number of seeds and increase slowly.
It is also important to stop taking flaxseed two weeks before surgeries as it might decrease blood clotting.
What Is the Dosage?
How to Add Flaxseeds to Your Diet
- Top yogurt with ground flaxseed
- Add ground flaxseed to smoothies
- Top cereal or oatmeal with ground or whole flaxseed
- Sprinkle in salads
- Sprinkle on a toast with almond butter
- Add to healthy baked goods
- Use flaxseed flour instead of all-purpose flour
- Use as an egg substitute in vegan dishes (mix 2 tablespoons of flaxseed with 2 tablespoons of water to replace one egg)
- Drink it! Mix 1 or 2 tablespoons of flaxseed in water and drink up.
- Add flaxseed oil to foods already cooked. Keep in mind that this oil should not be used for cooking.
Where to Buy Flaxseeds and Flaxseed Oil
Most supermarkets have a variety of flaxseed products. But if you don’t find them in your local supermarket, try a health food store or online.
My Expert Opinion
Flaxseed is a great addition to the menopause diet. This nutritious, anti-inflammatory food has a perfect combination of elements that improve menopause symptoms: fiber, antioxidants, protein, and essential fatty acids.
Plus, it adds crunchiness and a nutty flavor to your meals. A win-win!
Dr. Su-Nui Escobar, a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist in Miami, FL, is dedicated to empowering women in perimenopause and menopause to live healthier, more satisfying lives.
With a doctorate in clinical nutrition from the University of North Florida, she has expertise in menopause and weight loss, including the unique challenges faced by those on weight loss medications.
Su-Nui’s passion for her field is evident in her previous role as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson.