Managing menopause through your diet

Nutritionist Rachel Graham offers her advice on how to naturally manage symptoms of menopause through diet and nutrition - including the addition of flaxseed to the diet.

Some foods contain components with far greater benefits beyond just basic nutrition. Flaxseed is one of those foods. A true superfood that can be included in the diet in a number of different ways, evidence shows that flaxseed can alleviate many of the symptoms of menopause.

Flaxseeds are the richest dietary source of lignan precursors in the plant world. 

linwoods 1As women, we are aware, that the transition to menopause can be a bumpy one and many women are quite rightly focused on the more overwhelming symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, anxiety and problems with memory and concentration. However, during this life stage, we find ourselves at an increased risk for four chronic health conditions, that cannot be ignored.

The 'Big 4' chronic health conditions include:

1. Cardiovascular disease
2. Type 2 diabetes
3. Osteoporosis
4. Alzheimer’s & dementia

I call these the "Big 4", because they are serious, chronic health conditions, that have the potential to shorten our life.

Taking better control over our own health 

Having said that, the Big 4 are predominantly lifestyle-related diseases. This means that we have control over them, based on our diet and lifestyle choices, which is good news. However, if we want to successfully combat them, we need to prioritise our nutrition and make effective lifestyle changes to reduce our risk.

World Menopause Day is an excellent opportunity to highlight the benefit of a really good diet. In my view, nothing else will positively impact your long-term health and well-being as much. It is the 'number 1' way to avoid and reduce many risk factors for heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and dementia.

Linwoods 3Choosing foods with superpowers

Some foods contain nutrients with far greater benefits that go beyond just basic nutrition. Flaxseed is one of those foods, a  superfood that can be included in many ways in our daily diet.

Flaxseed and Lignans – some quick facts

1. Flaxseed is the richest source of lignans in the plant world.
2. Lignans are a component of the plant cell wall ( they make up approximately 15% of the plant cell wall)
3. Lignans are also known as phytoestrogens because of their powerful anti-cancer capabilities
4. Lignans can bind to oestrogen receptors and interfere with the cancer-promoting effects of oestrogen on breast tissue.

Flaxseed has many other nutritional highlights too i.e. they are a good source of fibre, magnesium, potassium and manganese as well as minerals, iron and copper.

The phytoestrogen lignan benefits of flaxseed include the following:

• Improving blood lipid profiles by reducing total cholesterol. The following study: (Edralin A. 2002) demonstrates the effectiveness of flaxseed on blood lipid profiles.

• The significant anti-cancer benefits of lignans as demonstrated by Dr Paul Goss (Goss, Paul E, 2002) the director of the breast cancer prevention program at Toronto Hospital. The results of his study are encouraging. It involved 50 women who had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. While waiting for their surgery they consumed special muffins daily, containing 25g of ground linseed. Post-surgery they determined that these women had slower-growing tumours in comparison to the control group.


Many of my nutritional recommendations for women in this life stage revolve around nourishing your body with key and important foods. This is why I like to recommend Menoligna to my clients. Menoligna is a new and exciting product developed specifically for women in menopause. It contains sprouted flaxseed with 300mg of beneficial lignans per 30g serving (a dessert spoon). This makes it an easy add-in to your daily yoghurt, porridge or smoothies to experience all the benefits.

A 20g portion of Menoligna also contains the following:
• 30mg of CoQ10 for heart health
• 1.3mg/96% RDA of vitamin B6 to support the reduction of tiredness,
• 354mg/100% RDA of calcium for our bones
• 5.6g of omega 3 (ALA) essential fats for heart health and the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels.

Nutritionist Rachel GrahamInternational Menopause Day is a day to take stock of your health and have a health audit. Cleaning up your diet is a good place to start. Any small actions you take now i.e. including lignans from flaxseed in your daily smoothie or porridge is a really easy way to support your menopause transition and potentially avoid chronic diseases in later life. It’s all of these small daily habits that add up in the end so that you see & feel the benefits of your efforts.


(Edralin A. 2002) “A Review of the Clinical Effects of Phytoestrogens”
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 87, Issue 4, 1 April 2002, Pages 1527–1532

(Goss, Paul E, 2002) “Aromatase inhibitors and chemoprevention of breast cancer.” Endocrine Therapy in Breast Cancer, Basel, CH: Marcel Dekker (2002): 309-317.

About Linwoods Health Foods

Linwoods is one of Ireland’s leading health food brands, it aims to enhance the health and wellbeing of its customers through nutritiously dense, healthy foods using the finest quality plant based ingredients and sustainable production methods.

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