Dealing with the ups and downs of menopausal mood swings can be physically and emotionally exhausting. Mood swings are primarily caused by hormonal transitions during menopause. As the body decreases production of estrogen, there are many physiological changes that result, such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, irritability, and mood swings.
Regulating your diet can help you maintain hormonal balance and control your mood swings. Additionally, experts believe that mood swings can be provoked by other menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and fatigue. For many women in their 40s and 50s, mood swings can also be exacerbated by stress at home and at work, as well as by irregular sleep patterns. Read on to find foods that will boost your energy and alleviate menopausal mood swings.
Best Foods to Help Menopausal Mood Swings
The causes of menopausal mood swings cannot be attributed to a single source, since most women do not have control over the changes taking place in their body. As women enter the perimenopause stage, there are decreased levels of estrogen and serotonin (the neurotransmitter in the brain responsible for elevating mood). As a result, the body loses its efficiency and is no longer able to produce, distribute, and breakdown serotonin.
As the levels of estrogen and serotonin fluctuate, a change in mood occurs, triggering emotional outbursts. A change in diet can help alleviate mood swings and other menopausal symptoms. Nutritious foods that can combat mood swings include:
Complex carbohydrates. Bagels, sandwiches, whole grain breads, and cereals help raise serotonin levels and can reduce depression.
Omega-3 Fatty acids. Salmon, tuna, walnuts, almonds, and flaxseeds are all rich in this essential fatty acid.
Foods to Avoid during Menopausal Mood Swings
To ease mood swing symptoms, avoid the following foods:
Packaged meats. Limit consumption of meats like beef, pork, and chicken because they contain high amounts of saturated fats and decrease the body's ability to metabolize estrogen.
Sugars. Eating excessive amounts of sugar can impair the immune system and limit the liver's ability to metabolize estrogen.
Caffeine. Avoid caffeine entirely or consume in moderation.
Fast Food. Trans fat can clog arteries and consumption can also lead to weight gain and imbalanced hormones.
Learning to cope with your menopausal mood swings by eating right is the first step on the road to relief. Click on the links below to read more information
- "Adult Mood Swings". The Health Center. www.thehealthcenter.info.
- Dr. Love, Susan, and Karen Lindsey. Dr. Susan Love's Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.
- Amin, Zenab, Turhan Canli, and C. Neill Epperson. "Effects of Estrogen-Serotonin Interactions on Mood and Cognition". Behav Cogn Neurosci Rev 2005; 4; 43.
- Molecular Psychiatry.(n.d)."Estrogen Promotes Gender Difference in Brain's Response to Stress".Retrieved from www.psycheducation.org.