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Flax for Hot Flashes

Just a few spoonfuls of flaxseed daily could cool hot flashes in menopausal women, suggests a small study from the Journal of the Society for Integrative Oncology. After eating about four tablespoons of crushed flaxseed each day for six weeks, the study's 21 members had a 50 percent drop in hot-flash frequency and showed improvements in mood and muscle pain. A source of plant-based estrogens, flaxseed shows promise as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy for hot-flash relief, notes lead study author Sandhya Pruthi, M.D.

The high-fiber seed may also help protect against heart disease and some types of cancer, according to dietitian and "The Flax Cookbook" author Elaine Magee. Since your body can't break down whole flaxseed, grind it first (in a coffee grinder) and stir two tablespoons in yogurt, smoothies, or soups twice a day. You can also add ground flaxseed to your favorite muffin and bread recipes.

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