Integrative medicine specialists like Dr. Andrew Weil say several natural remedies can ease the symptoms of menopause. An article published on women’s health site EmpowHer quotes Weil as recommending therapies like black cohosh, soy, and flaxseed to battle hot flashes and other conditions provoked by menopause’s hormone fluctuations.
Black cohosh is a herb Native Americans have used as medicine for hundreds of years. Though medical studies performed on the herb have so far been inconclusive, it’s said to have estrogen-like effects on the body, regulating hot flashes. It may also have an effect on serotonin, and therefore act like an antidepressant. Another potential benefit of black cohosh is the possibility it may prevent bone loss and stave off osteoporosis.
Soy contains isoflavones, which may have a similar effect to estrogen on the body, and help to rebalance hormone levels. Weil says eating soy may help to protect against hormonally driven cancers. On his website, Weil recommends eating one to two daily servings of soy, and suggests these servings include a cup of soymilk or half a cup of tofu, tempeh or green soybeans (edamame) or roasted soy nuts. Weil advises against using soy supplements, since we’re not yet sure how safe they are, and advocates eating whole soy foods instead.
Flaxseed is full of substances called lignans, which are phytoestrogens: in other words, they help to regulate hormone metabolism, as well as acting as antioxidants. Improved hormone metabolism can relieve menopause symptoms like irritability, insomnia and mood swings. Grind up flaxseed in a coffee grinder and add 1 to 2 tablespoons a day to smoothies, sprinkle on top of yogurt, and mix into pancake or muffin batter.
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