Women who are suffering from menopause symptoms often look to more than one natural outlet for symptom relief before resorting to hormone replacement therapy (HRT), diet being one of them. Continue reading to learn about what foods to add and eliminate from your menopause diet so that you can eat your way to mid-life peace and tranquility.
Foods to Eat During Menopause
Soy products are rich in phytoestrogens, plant-based estrogens that fill the hormonal gap caused during perimenopause, thus allaying symptoms of hormonal imbalance.
A recent scientific study has proven favorable effects on hot flashes' frequency and severity in perimenopausal women who consume soy. Also, it has been shown that those raised on a soy-rich diet have lower rates of hot flashes and breast cancer.
Soy products to include in your list of foods to eat for menopause are miso, tofu, tempeh, soy milk, soybeans, and more.
Beans & legumes
Beans and legumes are some of the most instrumental sources of plant-based protein, which is encouraged over animal-based protein sources during the menopausal transition.
Various research studies have shown that menopausal Asian women experience less hot flash occurrences in comparison to menopausal women in the United States, some 20 percent compared to 75 percent. This is mostly due to consuming a majority plant-based diet over animal-based.
Some of the best choices for a perimenopause diet are lentils, chickpeas, green peas, kidney beans, black beans, and pinto beans.
Whole grains are an essential part of a menopause diet because they are high in nutrients - fiber and B vitamins - as well as are good sources of slow-release carbohydrates. Slow-release carbs help women stay fuller for longer, thus satiating any need for empty carbs and helping evade menopause weight gain.
Moreover, research has found that diets rich in whole grains are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, a major concern of menopausal women as lowered estrogen levels compromise cardiovascular health.
Research goes on to note that whole grains help stabilize blood sugar levels. As such, those who eat at least three servings a day of whole grains have up to a 30 percent lower risk of developing diabetes in comparison to those who consume refined carbs.
Whole grains can be found in quinoa, rye, brown rice, whole wheat bread, and barley.
Foods rich in calcium
It is not secret that calcium is necessary for optimal bone health throughout women's reproductive lives, and lower circulating levels of estrogen can lead to loss of bone with aging.
Because calcium is not produced by the body, it is crucial to consume enough of the mineral so that the body does not source it from the bones to fulfill its needs.
Commonly consumed through dairy products, calcium can also be found in plant sources, including green leafy vegetables, like kale, collard greens, and turnip greens; broccoli; Brussels sprouts; and green beans.
Foods rich in vitamin D
Likewise, the body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. Without enough of it, there will be insufficient calcium absorption in the body, thus causing it to steal calcium from its stores in the bones.
Although sunshine is the best way to get vitamin D, the vitamin is present in the following food sources: egg yolks, saltwater fish, liver, and fortified options, such as milk, breakfast cereals, and orange juice.
Foods to Avoid During Menopause
Just as there are foods that help with menopause naturally, there are also an assortment of foods to avoid during menopause if women desire an easier transition. They include:
Menopausal weight gain is a symptom that many women suffer from mid-life due to hormonal fluctuations, specifically settling in the abdominal area.
Seeing as added sugars account for about 300 calories a day in the average North American diet, cutting down on sweets would bring down daily calorie count substantially.
Caffeine is a weak diuretic that causes calcium loss via the kidneys. Also, although classified as a depression, alcohol also has stimulatory effects; its excessive use contributes to excess calories and might worsen depression. Both caffeine and alcohol can increase the severity of hot flashes. Do yourself a favor by cutting down on both of them.
Numerous studies have shown that spicy foods increase the frequency of hot flashes, making this common recommendation a valid point to consider when constructing a diet of foods to help menopause. Use your best judgment concerning the amount of spice you can consume without it causing unwanted side effects.
Extra Menopause Diet Tips
Keep in mind that the best diet for menopause is not only one that keeps the aforementioned foods in mind to structure a well-balanced plate, but also one that abides by wholesome eating practices.
In general, it would be wise to eat smaller portions more often throughout the day so as to keep a steady blood sugar level and to prevent sudden cravings. Also, balance your plate to include all of the macronutrients (lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs), and remember to stay properly hydrated.
Furthermore, women who are considering the best foods for menopause should keep in mind that symptoms such as weight gain, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and more can be relieved more efficiently by tackling the root cause of hormonal imbalance.
Menopause symptoms treatments focus on lifestyle changes - a menopause diet, regular exercise, and healthy habits - paired with alternative medicine shown effective in combatting symptoms.
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