Perimenopause and changes in hormones can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms. Phytoestrogens, a group of naturally occurring compounds found in certain foods, have been shown to offer several health benefits for menopausal women, including the alleviation of symptoms.
What are Phytoestrogens?
Phytoestrogens are a group of naturally occurring compounds found in certain foods, including soy and soy products, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and fruits and vegetables. They are structurally like the hormone oestrogen and can mimic its effects to some extent.
Flaxseed as a Good Source of Phytoestrogens
Flaxseeds are one of the best sources of phytoestrogens, particularly lignans. However, to access the nutrients in flaxseeds, they must be milled or ground. Whole flaxseeds, which offer fibrous benefits, pass through the digestive system without being absorbed, which means that the body cannot access their nutrients. Milled flaxseeds, on the other hand, are more easily digested and absorbed by the body.
Flaxseed and Linseeds – what’s the difference?
Flaxseed and Linseed are often used interchangeably, but there is a slight difference between the two.
Flaxseed is the seed of the flax plant (Linum usitatissimum) and is typically consumed as a food or supplement. It is also used in the production of textiles and linseed oil.
Linseed, on the other hand, is typically used to refer to the oil that is extracted from flaxseed. It is used in a variety of industrial applications, such as paint, varnish, and linoleum production.
So, in short, flaxseed refers to the seed itself, while linseed refers to the oil extracted from the seed.
However, in some countries like the UK, the term “linseed” is often used instead of “flaxseed” to refer to the same seed that is used for both culinary and industrial purposes. So, the term used may vary depending on the country or context.
How Phytoestrogens Can Help Alleviate Menopausal Symptoms
Phytoestrogens have been shown to alleviate hot flashes, night sweats, and other menopausal symptoms by acting as a weak oestrogen substitute. They can help regulate hormonal imbalances and reduce the severity of symptoms. In addition to their symptom-alleviating properties, phytoestrogens may also improve bone health, reduce the risk of heart disease, and lower the risk of certain types of cancer.
If you’re experiencing menopause symptoms that are impacting your daily life, it’s important to seek out the right medical help. This may involve finding a doctor who specialises in menopause management, such as a gynaecologist or menopause specialist.
You deserve to feel your best, and you don’t have to put up with the discomfort and inconvenience that comes with menopause. With the help of a knowledgeable healthcare provider, you can find solutions that work for you and improve your quality of life during this transition. So don’t hesitate to speak up and seek out the support you need!
A final word on flaxseeds
Milled flaxseed can go rancid quickly due to its high oil content. Here are some tips to help you buy and store flaxseed properly:
- Look for milled flaxseed that has been packaged in an airtight container or bag to help prevent exposure to light and air, which can cause the oils to go rancid. These should be found in the chilled section of the supermarket!
- Check the expiration date on the package and make sure it’s within a reasonable timeframe.
- Consider buying whole flaxseeds instead and grinding them yourself using a coffee grinder or blender to ensure maximum freshness.
- Store milled flaxseed in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer to help extend its shelf life.
- If storing in the refrigerator, use within 3-4 months.
- If storing in the freezer, use within 6-12 months.
- Keep the flaxseed away from heat, light, and moisture, which can cause it to spoil.
- Only grind what you need for immediate use to help maintain the freshness of the remaining flaxseeds.
- Consider adding the milled flaxseed to your diet gradually, starting with small amounts and increasing over time to help your body adjust and avoid digestive issues.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your flaxseed stays fresh and maintains its nutritional value for as long as possible. And you can reap the benefits of adding phytoestrogens to your diet.
Click here to see my Juicy Vee™ muffins – an easy, healthy and delicious recipe for including the daily recommendation of phytoestrogens into your diet!
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