Menopause can be a struggle, with a seemingly never-ending list of symptoms to contend with on a day to day basis. From hot flushes to weight gain, it is easy to not feel like yourself anymore. There is a simple way to help ease symptoms. Read on to find out how to eat healthy to minimise menopause symptoms.
Eat Healthy To Minimise Menopause Symptoms
Eating healthy, nutritious foods is beneficial for the brain and the body, particularly for women dealing with perimenopause symptoms. A healthy diet can minimise hot flushes, prevent hormonal weight gain and insulin resistance, help with sleep and keep the bones and heart healthy. Lots of foods have multiple beneficial effects for the body. It should not be difficult to eat healthy to minimise menopause symptoms.
Incorporating dairy products into your diet is essential for maintaining healthy bones, as dairy products are an excellent source of calcium. Pre-menopause, it is recommended that women consume around 1000mg of calcium every day. During perimenopause, this recommendation increases slightly, to around 1200mg, to combat the negative effect that reduced oestrogen has on bone health. Upping your calcium intake with milk, cheese and yoghurts reduces the risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis.
As well as decreased bone density, menopause also has an effect on muscle mass. Incorporating quality protein sources into every meal is the best way to eat healthy to minimise menopause symptoms and maintain muscle. Menopausal women can increase their protein consumption with a variety of food. Lean meats, eggs, fish, dairy and legumes, such as lentils and broad beans. Women who find it difficult to achieve the recommended daily amount of protein can also use protein powders to boost their intake. Generally, menopausal women need 20-25g of protein per meal.
Omega-3 fatty acids, also known as healthy fats, are essential for cardiovascular health. Oestrogen protects the heart, controlling cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of fat build up in the arteries. When oestrogen drops during perimenopause, the risk of fat build up increases considerably, increasing the risk of coronary heart disease. Studies associate eating fatty acids such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies, flax seeds and chia seeds with better health during menopause. Those who do suffer from coronary heart disease during menopause are found to have lower levels of omega-3. So, consider your weekly menu, and eat healthy to minimise menopause symptoms.
Fruits and Vegetables
Eating a rainbow diet of fruit and vegetables is key to living a healthy lifestyle, typically with more energy and more time spent feeling good. Eat leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, cabbage and kale, to have the greatest effect on reducing menopause symptoms. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower, positively impact oestrogen levels. All fruits and vegetables are packed full of fibre, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants to improve health and wellbeing.
Whole grains are also key to feeling good during menopause. You can easily be incorporate whole grains into a healthy diet by making some easy swaps. Eating brown rice and whole wheat bread instead of white rice and bread is beneficial as whole grains have high nutrient levels, such as fibre and vitamin b. There is a link between a whole grain diet and improved heart health. Therefore, minimising the risk of heart disease so you can eat healthy to minimise menopause symptoms.
Recent studies find women who eat more vegetables, fruit and whole grains, and less processed foods are better equipped when it comes to menopause, experiencing less symptoms on average.
Phytoestrogens are found in some foods, and are compounds that act as weak estrogens in the body. The most recent research suggests phytoestrogens do benefit peri-menopausal health, particularly bone and cardiovascular health. Sources of phytoestrogens include: chickpeas, peanuts, flaxseed, barley, grapes, berries and soybeans. The extent of the effect of phytoestrogens for menopausal women is currently debated, with more research necessary. However, each of the foods containing phytoestrogen are great to be incorporated into your diet, so you can eat healthy to minimise menopause symptoms.
Foods to Limit
To feel good during menopause, there are some foods that you can limit or avoid completely. Limiting highly processed foods, such as sweets, crisps and fried food, is a good idea. There is a link between processed foods and more intense menopause symptoms. You should also limit food and drinks with high levels of sugar or salt. E.g. fizzy drinks, energy drinks, baked goods and pretzels. Avoiding spicy foods, hot drinks, caffeine and alcohol can help to ease hot flushes and night sweats, as these are common triggers.