Foods That Help With Menopause Naturally & The Ones That Don’t
– By Priyanka Sawant
While menopause might be a phase that naturally dawns in the life of every woman, it can alienate you from your body. Courtesy of your beautiful menopause symptoms, you might look in the mirror and not recognise the person looking back at you. The same exercise routine and diet you’ve always followed might not be able to make a dent in the fat of your body.
Fret not. You can still get a handle on that extra bit of love sitting comfortably atop the rim of your jeans. There are various foods that help with menopause naturally. But before we delve into the solutions, let’s get a quick look at the cause to understand your body and it’s needs better.
What Is Menopause?
Menopause is the entity that struts into your life in your early 40s and takes you on a new adventure. It scrambles everything you’ve known about your body and thrusts you into a new dimension of perimenopause and menopause symptoms. Menopause starts initially with your periods becoming irregular. This phase is called perimenopause. Along with your periods coming for a surprise visit whenever they want, several other menopause symptoms tag along too.
During menopause, that starts after your periods have stopped for 12 months, the oestrogen hormone begins to decline, thus disrupting your normal cycles of oestrogen and progesterone. A nose dive in your oestrogen can hit your metabolism and lead to weight gain. It alters the way your body digests carbs.
Your new reality is filled with hot flushes, cold flushes, night sweats, insomnia, low sex drive, irritability, being prone to depression and anxiety, bloating, amongst a thousand others. Of course, every woman experiences their unique blend of these symptoms with varying degrees of intensity. So you might just experience a couple, or them all. It’s a roll of the dice. Except there is no dice and you’re in hell. A regulated diet to accommodate the ever changing needs of your body is the best weapon you have to win your body over from the clutches of perimenopause and menopause symptoms.
There is evidence that certain foods help relieve perimenopause and menopause symptoms.
Food Containing Phytoestrogen :
The age of perimenopause and menopause symptoms lead to a decline in oestrogen. Phytoestrogen rich food, while considered a controversial addition, might just be the blessing you’d been praying for. Phytoestrogens make up for the absence of oestrogen, thus thus lending a helping hand to lift you out of the pit of perimenopause and menopause symptoms.One of the phytoestrogen rich foods is flaxseed. Flaxseeds are known for preventing heart diseases and constipation due to their high fiber content. It contains elements similar to oestrogen that help ease menopause symptoms. There’s a possibility of flaxseed turning toxic, so it is advisable to grind and store them in a cool place like your refrigerator.Soy is another controversial food that has oestrogens that might reduce the intensity of menopause symptoms in certain women. Edamame and tempeh are highly recommended soy food.Other foods that help with menopause naturally include chickpeas, plums, barley, berries, tea of the green and black variety, barley and grapes are known to lower menopause symptoms like hot flushes.
Whole Grains :
Old age makes you prone to fractures and other bone related issues. Menopause symptoms not keen to be left behind in the race to kick your arse further go and make your bones brittle due to a distinct decline in oestrogen. Dairy products are your new best friend. Get acquainted with milk, cheese, and yogurt, as they are the key to unlocking the wonderland of calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and K, as well as phosphorus and potassium. They are essential for making your bones stronger and preventing breaks.
It is also believed that consuming dairy products help maintain and increase the bone density of women in postmenopaual phase.
Dairy also aids in sending you right off to sleep. Hence, it was recommended to have a glass of milk right before bed at night. The amino acid glycine found in milk and cheese helped combat perimenopause and menopause symptoms like insomnia. Dairy also shields you from getting bit by the menopause bug early and reduces the risk of early menopause by 17%.
Healthy Fats :
Fat might be taboo in your menopausal household. Gaining weight by merely smelling the food you actually crave might have made you abolish fats in all forms from your diet. But not all fats are harmful and lead to weight gain. Infact fats are some of the most important component of your diet that aids the normal functioning of your body.
Omega 3 is one of the fatty acids that can help to smooth out your menopause symptoms by decreasing the frequency and severity of night sweats and hot flushes.
Flax seeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds, as well as salmon and anchovies are a powerhouse of omega 3 fatty acids you need to incorporate in your diet stat.
Fruits And Vegetables :
An abundance of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals are the reason it is recommended that half of your plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are known to reduce hot flushes and weight loss and it also leads to a healthier diet that aids in weight loss. Specific vegetables like broccoli are helpful in maintaining the levels of oestrogen that help prevent breast cancer. Adding the amount of fruits and vegetables also lead to fewer hot flushes, aids in curbing insomnia and lowers rates of depression.
Whole Grains :
Whole grain food like rice, barley, wheat, rye and whole wheat bread, are rich in fiber and vitamin B nutrients. Ingraining these into your diet helps combat the possibility of developing heart disease and cancer. They may also help prevent early death.
A dip in oestrogen leads to brittle bones and a risk of developing osteoporosis. There also reigns the possibility of a decrease in muscle mass. If you have listened to your mother all these years and had your daily glass of milk, along with other protein rich food, you might find your menopause symptoms banging their heads against your strong bones to no avail. It also helps develop a resistance to osteoporosis. If you’ve been a little young rebel and refused to listen to momma, it’s still not too late. Fill that plate up with dairy products, fish, meat, and eggs. Plus protein shakes are not just for gym fanatics. Add some to your smoothie to be the strongest boner in your menopause cult. it is recommended that women experiencing menopause symptoms should eat around 20-25 grams of protein per meal.
Food To Be Avoided
Certain foods end up making your menopause symptoms even worse. These foods need to be used sparingly in your diet or avoided altogether.
Alcohol is known to trigger and make the intensity of hot flushes worse in women plagued with menopause symptoms. Alcohol also disrupts the R.E.M. pattern of sleep which adds to fatigue and feeling of never getting enough good quality sleep. Altered coordination, thinning Bones, sexual dysfunction, stomach distress, and weight gain, are some of the ill effects of alcohol on your body.
Caffeine is known to make menopause symptoms like hot flushes worse. It is also recommended to avoid beverages with caffeine in them before bedtime as it stops you from falling asleep and messes with your sleep cycle.
Spicy Food :
Spicy food might make some of your menopause symptoms even worse than they already are. A high level of spice in your food might make your hot flushes worse and induce anxiety. The amount of spice your body might be used to and can tolerate can differ from person to person, but in any case it is better to lower the spice in your diet.
Added Sugar :
Added sugars do you no favours at any point in your life. A higher amount of sugar in your body might lead to more incidences of hot flushes. It also makes you more susceptible to getting diabetes and leads to weight gain. Processed carbohydrates have a similar effect on your body. So it is advisable to avoid both in order to minimise the wrath of menopause symptoms.
Foods High In Salt :
Old age fucks with you bones and makes them vulnerable to breakage. Menopause symptoms further increase your tendency towards bruising and fractures. A heavy intake of salt leads to lower bone density. So if you’re in the habit of topping all your dishes with an extra zest of salt, you might want to rethink it. Menopause leads to high blood pressure on it’s own due to low levels of oestrogen. Salt adds to your woes by raising it even higher. A diet with controlled amount of salt not only helps control your blood pressure but also makes your mood better.
Menopause symptoms walk in uninvited and wreak havoc in your life. While you cannot exactly shut the door on their face entirely, you can still limit the wreckage by altering your diet to include foods that help with menopause naturally and avoiding those that make them worse. Like they say, A minute on your lips, a lifetime on your menopausal hot flushed hips.