Mood swings are a common occurrence among women transitioning through menopause. In fact, nearly 50% of menopausal women experience them. These rapid shifts in emotion can be caused by the natural fluctuation in hormone levels.
Many women often feel like there aren't enough effective treatments available, so they turn to hormone replacement therapy (HRT), but a more natural way to treat mood swings and other menopause symptoms is by making smart lifestyle choices. If you aren't ready to turn to HRT just yet, keep reading to discover what foods are best for combating mood swings.
Milk and Dairy Products
Milk and other dairy products boost your mood. These are not only a good source of calcium and protein, but they also contain the compound tryptophan, which helps you sleep and improves your mood.
Soy products, such as tofu, are rich in phytoestrogens. These plant-based compounds act like estrogen in the body when its estrogen levels are low. Soy also contains lecithin, a nutrient that can help boost mood.
Omega-3 and other essential fatty acids are not produced by the body, but are needed to help maintain overall health. They help protect the heart, improve brain function, and boost mood. Fish such as mackerel, salmon, herring, and tuna are good sources of omega-3.
Increase your consumption of foods that are rich in nutrients like whole grains. Whole grains are complex carbohydrates that also contain tryptophan. The majority of the calories you consume daily most likely come from carbohydrates. However, complex carbs are more difficult for your body to break down, which means that it takes longer for energy to be released, and your blood sugar levels remain stable.
Dark chocolate is better for you than other chocolates because of its high content of antioxidants. It signals your body to release serotonin, the "feel-good" neurotransmitter.
If you have tried altering your diet and adding exercise to your daily routine but mood swings persist, you may want to discuss other treatment options with your doctor. Research has shown that stress-reduction techniques like yoga and massage therapy are effective ways to treat mood swings. There are also natural options like herbal supplements that have been known to help many women. For more information on mood swings, follow the links below.
- Amin, Z. , Canli, T. & Epperson, C.N. (2005). Effects of Estrogen-Serotonin Interactions on Mood and Cognition. Behavorial and Cognitive Neuroscience Reviews, 4(1), 43-58. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15886402
- Edge, J. (2003). A pilot study addressing the effect of aromatherapy massage on mood, anxiety and relaxation in adult mental health. Complementary Therapies in Nursing & Midwifery, 9(2), 90-97. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12697161
- Love, S. & Lindsey, K. (2003). Dr. Susan Love's Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press.
- Moré, M.I. , Freitas, U. & Rutenberg, D. (2014). Positive effects of soy lecithin-derived phosphatidylserine plus phosphatidic acid on memory, cognition, daily functioning, and mood in elderly patients with Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Advances in Therapy, 31(12), 1247-1262. doi: 10.1007/s12325-014-0165-1
- Streeter, C.C. et al. (2010). Effects of Yoga Versus Walking on Mood, Anxiety, and Brain GABA Levels: A Randomized Controlled MRS Study. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 16(11), 1145-1152. doi: 10.1089/acm.2010.0007