COLUMN: Two tips for healthy aging

Dr Amanda Chay ND
By Dr Amanda Chay ND
April 2nd, 2018

Since spring is in the air, instead of a long article this month I am giving you two quick health tips so you can get out there and enjoy the sun!

Why black cohosh is the number one herb to relieve hot flashes & night sweats            

You wake up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat.  You have sporadic flushes of heat leaving you embarrassingly fanning yourself in public.  Is this what menopause is all about?

Of course not!  Menopause is a normal hormonal shift and a time to embrace a new stage of life.  There is no need to let hot flashes and night sweats disturb your sleep and leave you exhausted during this transition.

              Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) is one of the best herbs for reducing hot flashes and night sweats in menopausal women.   According to Tori Hudson, one of the largest studies showed a decrease in symptoms by 80% after 4 weeks of using a standardized extract1.  It is one of the most studied herbs for menopause—most of these studies show marked improvement in hot flashes and night sweats1. 

In addition to its menopausal effects, black cohosh has been shown to stimulate osteoblasts, increasing bone regeneration, which results in healthier, stronger bones1.  It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic actions, making it excellent for women with osteoarthritis2.

Black cohosh will decrease hot flashes and night sweats, improve your sleep, strengthen your bones, and overall increase your quality of life.


1.       HUDSON, T.  2008.  Women’s encyclopedia of natural medicine.  New York: McGraw- Hill.

2.       HOFFMANN, D.  2014.  Herbs for health aging.  Rochester: Healing Arts Press.


How your fat intake affects your risk of dementia

As we age, the fear of cognitive decline sets in.  Whether you are young or old, one simple (and delicious) diet change may protect your brain from the effects of aging.

Most of us have heard that fat is no longer the demon we once though it was and in many cases it is actually beneficial. According to Todd Caldecott, fat is the best food for your brain since 60% of your brain is indeed made of this nutrient1.  A study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women older than 72 who were are high risk of cardiovascular disease and ate mono- or polyunsaturated fats in place of carbohydrates had slower rates of cognitive decline—this equals 4 to 6 years delay in mental aging2.

Which fat is good fat?

Don’t get too excited—this is not to say that cupcakes, fries and burgers are the way to go.   These foods still contain sugar, refined carbs and rancid oils that increase inflammation in your body and brain, increasing your risk for these diseases.

Low-inflammatory fats such as coconut oil, butter, beef tallow, marrow, olive oil, avocados, fish and ghee help to prevent mental dysfunction1.   Be mindful to limit seeds  and nuts cooked at high heat due to their tendency to go rancid quickly (too much rancid oil=inflammation=damage to your brain.  It is preferable to buy raw nuts and seeds and roast them yourself at a low temperature).

In case you weren’t already interested, increasing your good fat intake can help you lose weight by making you feel fuller for longer and therefore not needing to go for that afternoon coffee and chocolate bar.  Good fats for breakfast will keep you full throughout the day, and sharp for longer in your life.


1.       Caldecott, T.,  2014.  Food as medicine: the theory and practice of food.  USA.

2.       Vercambre, M-N., Grodstein, F., & Kang, J., 2010.  Dietary fat intake in relation to cognitive change in high risk women with cardiovascular disease or vascular factors.  European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 64.  21 July, pp 1134-1140.


Categories: GeneralHealth

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