Home In Memory The Incredible Anti-Inflammatory Power of Flaxseed in Women’s Health

The Incredible Anti-Inflammatory Power of Flaxseed in Women’s Health

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Inflammation is one of the ways that your immune system helps protect you against disease or infection. It sends white blood cells to the site of infection or injury to help the body heal itself. When this happens, you will notice pain, swelling and redness where the infection or injury is – a sore throat or swollen ankle, for example. This is acute inflammation and is a short-term fix to help you get better.

Chronic inflammation is a long-term inflammatory response, and diet and nutrition have an important role to play in healing and managing symptoms.

Chronic (or systemic) inflammation is at the root of many health conditions and diseases. Early signs of chronic, low-grade inflammation can include aches and pains, digestive problems, skin issues, low mood and depression, fatigue, brain fog and even weight gain. When inflammation becomes more deep-rooted and long-term, it is a key driver in conditions as diverse as cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.

What role does inflammation play in various women’s health conditions?

Inflammatory conditions that particularly affect women include PCOS, PMS, period pain, endometriosis, adenomyosis, and pelvic inflammatory disease, but we also know that women are at higher risk of pro-inflammatory auto-immune conditions like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

After menopause, women are also at increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, both of which are driven by inflammation, so adopting habits that help balance inflammation is essential for our ongoing health and wellbeing.

What is the connection between hormonal balance and the inflammatory response?

Women with inflammatory conditions may notice flare-ups at different times in their cycle as the balance of oestrogen and progesterone changes.

Oestrogen and progesterone both have an influence on the inflammatory response in our bodies. We know that women with inflammatory conditions like asthma notice symptoms vary in severity across their menstrual cycle, and that many women can be more affected by inflammatory conditions at significant times in life like pregnancy and menopause.

How can we manage chronic inflammation?

If you suspect that you are affected by chronic inflammation, the first thing is to have a chat with your GP, who can run tests and help you with diagnosis and treatment.

Making changes to your diet and lifestyle is an important way to help manage symptoms.

  • Anti-inflammatory diet
  • Regular exercise
  • Manage stress
  • Prioritise sleep and rest

What components in flaxseed contribute to its anti-inflammatory properties?

There are plenty of foods that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, including flaxseed.

It is likely that there are several nutritional factors found in flaxseed that may have a modulating effect on immunity and inflammation.

Milled flaxseeds are a great source of ALA, an omega-3 fat that has anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Look out for Linwoods Flaxseed with coQ10, an important antioxidant for immune support.

Phytoestrogens called lignans are a key component in flaxseed. Given what we know about the modulating effects of oestrogen on inflammation, adding milled flaxseed to a woman’s diet could help manage inflammation related to hormone fluctuations in women.

Fibre helps support and balance the bacteria in our gut microbiome. Supporting an abundance of beneficial bacteria has a balancing effect on inflammation.

What are some practical ways to include flaxseed in a diet for anti-inflammatory purposes?

Start a healthy habit by adding flaxseed to your morning routine. Here are some simple ideas to get you started:

  • Build an anti-inflammatory breakfast bowl, starting with some natural or plant-based live yoghurt. Add a cupful of berries and a tablespoonful of Linwoods milled flaxseed.
  • Stir a couple of spoonfuls of milled flaxseed into jumbo oats when you are making your porridge. Top with your favourite fruit and a sprinkle of spice – try ground ginger or cinnamon.
  • Pop a spoonful into your blender with your favourite smoothie ingredients

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