Menopause means different things to different women.
Some find it an extremely liberating time when they no longer have to deal with their periods, while others dread “The Change” as a sign of aging and horror symptoms.
No matter how you approach it, menopause is a natural transition and it’s really not something widely discussed and understood enough.
What should I eat during menopause? is a question I’m asked ALL the time, so let’s jump in!
The Ups and Downs of Menopause…
Some of the more negative effects of menopause often (but not always!) include weight gain, hot flushes, blood sugar imbalances, osteoporosis and increased risk of heart disease.
The good news is that these effects are closely linked to our diet and lifestyle choices, including the foods we eat. These symptoms can be managed, and even completely avoided, by supporting your body with all the nutrients it needs during this time of hormonal flux.
We all know what healthy eating looks like. Including plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, protein and healthy fats. These become even more important as we get older and later in life when disease risk factors start showing up.
In addition to the basics of healthy eating, women who are going through menopause should pay close attention, making sure there is enough fibre, phytoestrogens, and calcium (not necessarily from dairy) in her diet.
What to Eat During Menopause
Fibre is famous for keeping us regular. It acts as a “broom for your bum” and keeps everything moving through. During perimenopause and menopause, fibre also helps to remove excess estrogen and cholesterol from your system, keeping hormones and heart disease in check. Soluble fibre is the most effective type of fibre for this important job.
Great sources of fibre include:
Oats, sweet potato, psyllium, chia, flax or linseeds, bran, apples, beans and legumes.
Not to forget all of our beautiful leafy greens including broccoli, Asian greens, baby spinach, rocket and kale.
Phytoestrogens are literally “plant estrogens” which mimic the action of estrogen in the body.
During perimenopause, they bind to oestrogen receptors, so that any excess estrogen (a key cause of estrogen dominance) is available to be removed from the body (see fibre above – you literally poop it out!)
During menopause when less estrogen is being produced by the body, phytoestrogens also bind to estrogen receptors, acting as a protective form of estrogen.
Key phytoestrogens are isoflavones known as genistein and diadzein, which are linked to lower breast cancer risk and a decreased incidence of osteoporosis.
Great sources of phytoestrogens include:
Whole soy foods such as organic tofu, tempeh and edamame
Flaxseed or linseeds, either soaked or freshly ground
Dates, prunes, and dried apricots
Cruciferous veggies such as cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage.
Speaking of osteoporosis, calcium is ubiquitous to bone health. However, it’s also a critical nutrient for maintaining healthy blood pressure and a strong heart. Women over 50 do need more calcium than their younger counterparts (1500 mg per day).
Great sources of calcium:
Nuts and seeds, such as almonds and sesame, chia and hemp, tahini,
Sardines and salmon with bones
Beans and legumes
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach.
If you’re looking for specific direction on what foods to eat during menopause and what foods are right for YOUR body, then look into Well Balanced Woman? This is our comprehensive 12 week program designed to help balance your hormones and reset your metabolism.
You can find out more >> HERE.