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Really? Chocolate cake for hot flashes?

By Brierley Wright, November 30, 2009 - 11:06am

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Really? Chocolate cake for hot flashes?

Feeling hot, hot, hot? When menopause is the cause, who wouldn’t be up for trying a natural remedy to cool down?

Research suggests that lignans, estrogen-like compounds in flaxseeds, may help relieve hot flashes. Boost your flaxseed intake with these 8 yummy recipes, including the Essential EatingWell Chocolate Bundt Cake.

In one study, women consumed four tablespoons of ground flaxseed daily—two in the morning, two at night. (Are store-bought pre-ground flaxseeds as nutritionally effective as buying whole seeds and grinding them yourself? Find out here.)

After six weeks, the frequency of their hot flashes dropped, on average, from 7.3 to 3.6 a day. Intensity of the hot flashes decreased too.

The researchers think the lignans in flax offer a “natural,” less potent estrogen effect on hot flashes than synthetic hormone therapy. (If flaxseeds aren’t for you, here’s another natural remedy for hot flashes: omega-3 fatty acids, the healthy fats in fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna. Find out how much you need.)

Flaxseeds are also one of the best plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids and they provide both soluble fiber, linked to reduced risk of heart disease, and insoluble fiber, which provides valuable roughage. But for your body to absorb the benefits, the seeds must be ground. (Preserve the health benefits of flaxseed with these storage tips.)

Want to try this natural cooling solution at home? Start with two tablespoons daily and work up to four, recommends one researcher. (Note: 4 tablespoons = 190 calories.) Flaxseeds are rich in fiber—2.5 grams per tablespoon—so increasing intake too quickly can cause bloating.

Get the recipe: Essential EatingWell Chocolate Bundt Cake

TAGS: Brierley Wright, Health Blog

Brierley Wright
Brierley's interest in nutrition and food come together in her position as nutrition editor at EatingWell. Brierley holds a master’s degree in Nutrition Communication from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. A Registered Dietitian, she completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Vermont.

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