Best Foods For Menopause
Health and Wellbeing
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Health and Wellbeing
Menopause is a natural phase in a woman’s life. It marks the end of menstrual cycles and is diagnosed 12 months after a woman’s last period. Menopause brings about many changes in the body, and the transition can come with many uncomfortable physical, mental and emotional symptoms which can last for several years.
The good news is that a healthy, well-balanced diet and lifestyle can reduce symptoms and ease the complications during menopause. A diet rich in vegetables, fruit, fish and olive oil (like the Mediterranean diet) is one of the best options for menopause. The Mediterranean diet rarely includes red meat which can raise unhealthy cholesterol levels. The traditional Mediterranean diet also omits processed food like refined carbohydrates and includes healthy fats instead.
There are certain foods which can help to relieve symptoms and we’ve put them together below:
Whole grains are packed with nutrients like fibre and B vitamins such as thiamine, niacin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid. B vitamins play a role in producing brain chemicals that affect your mood, and are important for boosting your mental health. Low levels of B vitamins have been linked to depression, anxiety, irritability and insomnia, the latter two being common symptoms of menopause. Whole grain foods include brown rice, whole-wheat bread, barley, quinoa, sorghum, pearl millet, finger millet, amaranth, buckwheat and broken wheat. Here are some ways to incorporate whole grains into your diet:
Soy products such as soy milk, soy beans, tofu, tempeh, edamame, miso and soy-based dairy alternatives are all great additions to your diet. Soy products contain phytoestrogens (hormones derived from plants) which reduce symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. Soy products can also improve bone health, which is important as the risk of osteoporosis increases during menopause. Here are some soy based recipes to try:
As mentioned above, women are at higher risk osteoporosis during menopause. As levels of oestrogen decrease in the body, this results in loss of bone mass. Dark green leafy vegetables are rich in calcium which is essential in maintaining strong bones. They’re also rich in antioxidants which help reduce inflammation. Add veggies like spinach, kale, mustard greens, collard greens, cabbage, chard and microgreens into your cooking. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Similar to leafy greens, dairy products are also rich in calcium which is vital for maintaining bone density. These can include low-fat yoghurt, milk, cheese and curd. Dairy products also contain vitamin D which plays a role in the production of melatonin, a natural hormone which helps control your sleep cycle. It’s been found that a vitamin D deficiency is linked with a higher risk of sleep disorders. If you follow a dairy-free diet, you can still get calcium from calcium-fortified products such as almond milk and cereals. Here are some delicious ways to add dairy products into your diet:
Nuts are a powerhouse when it comes to staving off menopause symptoms. They contain high amounts of magnesium, a mineral which helps to control anxiety, insomnia, mood swings and depression. They’re also a rich source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and zinc, all of which play a role in reducing symptoms. The best part is that they’re very versatile, and can be eaten as a snack, added to salads, yoghurts and porridge. Here are some more ways to consume nuts:
As the decline in oestrogen during menopause leads to loss of bone strength and muscle mass, it’s important for women going through menopause to increase their protein intake. A diet including adequate amounts of protein combined with regular exercise works to regenerate muscle mass. Some sources of quality animal protein include chicken, turkey and fish like salmon, herring, sardines, trout and mackerel. If you’re following a plant-based diet, you can get enough protein from food like eggs, legumes, beans and nuts. Here are some tasty dishes rich in protein:
Foods which contains healthy fats are beneficial for women going through menopause, as they can decrease the frequency of hot flashes and night sweats. Healthy fats are also beneficial for brain function, joint health, weight control and hormone production, all of which are affected during menopause. Foods which contain healthy fats include avocados, nuts, dark chocolate, fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon and anchovies, and seeds like flax seeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds. Take a look at these recipes filled with healthy fats:
This vibrant, fragrant spice is a powerful ingredient as it metabolises oestrogen and decreases the severity of menopause symptoms. Turmeric’s active ingredient is curcumin which has powerful anti-inflammatory benefits, and can be used to fight off joint pain and stiffness which are caused by reduced levels of oestrogen. The spice also balances serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline levels which help improve low moods and anxiety, as well as easing brain fogs. You can add turmeric to all kinds of dishes and beverages. Here are some delicious recipes to try out: