Health: Slice of life to ease the menopause

An addition to the myriad cures for the menopause was launched yesterday in the shape of a loaf for ladies of a certain age. Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor, looks at modern remedies for an age-old problem.

Hot toast can help ward off hot flushes - but only if it is made with the right kind of loaf. That is the claim made for Burgen bread, a whole- grain loaf launched yesterday and made with soya flour and linseed oil, both sources of plant oestrogens.

Increasing plant oestrogens in the diet is believed to help restore natural oestrogen levels, which decline at the menopause, causing the familiar symptoms of hot flushes, night sweats and rapid mood swings.

The makers claim that in China, where more soya is eaten, the problem affects fewer than one in five women and in Japan, which has the highest consumption of plant oestrogens in Asia, there is no word to define the menopause. They say four slices of Burgen Bread give two-thirds of the amount of plant oestrogens of a typical Japanese diet.

The bread, launched by the ageing celebrity novelist Jilly Cooper at a supermarket in west London, joins a range of other foodstuffs, vitamin supplements and treatments claimed to help women gently into their post- childbearing years.

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