While research results are mixed around flaxseed and its ability to reduce menopausal symptoms, there are enough positive findings to support use of this nutrient-rich herb. For many women it has made the difference between comfort and discomfort when it comes to reduction of hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings). Here are three nutrients unique to flaxseed, all of which play a role in supporting good health.

1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: beneficial for preventing or treating certain health conditions, including heart disease and depression.

2. Mucilage: refers to water-soluble, gel-forming fiber that can provide special support to the intestinal tract. This makes flaxseed an excellent support to digestion and relief of constipation.

3. Lignans: provides fiber-related polyphenols that have two important health benefits. They provide antioxidants, which help prevent damage to other cells in the body and are associated with preventing disease. Additionally, polyphenols in lignans influence hormone metabolism.

Purchasing and Storing Flax

Raw flaxseed ranges in color from amber/gold to tan/brown. White or green flaxseed has been harvested before full maturity; black flaxseeds were likely harvested after full maturity. To reap the full health benefits, select the amber or brown variety. If possible, purchase the whole seed in bulk, store in the freezer and grind only the amount needed for immediate use. Flaxseed can be ground, sprinkled on cereal, added to baking mixes and used as a thickening agent in many recipes.

Resources
WorldsHealthiestFoods.com “What’s New and Beneficial About Flaxseed?” Accessed on March 23, 2016. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=81
University of Maryland Medical Center Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide. “Menopause” Accessed on March 23, 2016. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/menopause
Goyal, A., et al., “Flax and Flaxseed Oil: An Ancient Medicine & Modern Functional Food.” Journal of Food Science and Technology 51.9 (2014): 1633–1653. PMC. Web. 24 Mar. 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4152533/
Peterson, J., et al., “Dietary Lignans: Physiology and Potential for Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction.” Nutrition reviews 68.10 (2010): 571–603. PMC. Web. 24 Mar. 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2951311/
Poluzzi, E.,et al., “Phytoestrogens in Postmenopause: The State of the Art from a Chemical, Pharmacological and Regulatory Perspective.” Current Medicinal Chemistry 21.4 (2014): 417–436. PMC. Web. 24 Mar. 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3963458/
Ewies, AA. “Phytoestrogens in the Management of Menopause: up-to-date.” Obstet Gynecol Surv (2002, May). 57(5): pp 306-13. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11997677
Dew, T.P., et al., “Controlled Flax Interventions for the Improvement of Menopausal Symptoms and Postmenopausal Bone Health.” Menopause. (2013) 20:11, pp. 1207-1215.
Accessed on March 23, 2016.
Botanical-online.com “Mucilage Properties” Accessed on March 24, 2016. http://www.botanical-online.com/english/mucilage.htm

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