A natural transition every woman goes through at some point in her life, menopause signifies the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle. It also brings a plethora of changes in the body which are often followed by menopausal symptoms. The symptoms and the overall transition can be uncomfortable at times, but with proper nutrition, they can be made easier to cope with.
Introducing more plant-based foods high in phytoestrogens into a diet can be a great way to alleviate some of the symptoms women may experience during menopause (e.g. hot flashes). This is because phytoestrogens, which are naturally occurring plant compounds, help balance the level of hormones in a woman’s body by imitating estrogen and the effect it has in the body.
This is possible thanks to their similar chemical structures which cause the body’s estrogen receptors to treat phytoestrogens as estrogens.
Although there are different types of foods that naturally contain phytoestrogens, its content largely depends on the processing methods. Some of the phytoestrogen-containing foods you should consider incorporating into your diet include:
This is general health advice to adhere to, but menopausal women can significantly benefit from avoiding processed carbs and added sugar. These types of food result in high blood glucose levels which can mess with the hormones in the body and trigger menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. The more processed the food you’re eating, the bigger the impact it will have on the blood sugar levels.
Sweet desserts, pastries, and foods made with white flour are examples of refined sugars and carbs that offer no value in terms of nutrients, so you’re better of limiting them or eliminating them completely from your diet, if possible. Stick with fresh fruits and nuts as healthy snack alternatives to help reduce hot flashes during menopause and consider keeping a symptom diary so you can easily eliminate or reduce the intake of particular foods that trigger menopausal symptoms.
Supplementing your diet with natural probiotics can be a great way to relieve menopausal and reduce health risks associated with menopause. Other than being an effective remedy for combating hot flashes, incorporating probiotics menopause supplements into your daily routine can also help balance your hormones.
Moreover, probiotics help promote gut health by creating a proper bacteria balance, helping the body metabolize foods and absorb nutrients.
Finding the right probiotic supplement can prevent weight gain, reduce inflammation, boost your immune system, promote better skin health, as well as help you sleep better.
Refined sugars and processed foods aren’t the only known triggers of menopausal symptoms. Alcohol and caffeinated drinks can have a similar effect on menopausal women, and, according to a study, can result in increased intensity of hot flashes. That being said, another study found that caffeine may actually lower the frequency and intensity of hot flashes.
The best way to go about it would be to try eliminating caffeine to see whether it affects your hot flashes.
Alcohol and caffeine intake can also result in sleep disturbances in menopausal women, so it’s best to avoid alcoholic drinks and caffeinated beverages in the evening. The same goes for large meals before bedtime as well as hot and spicy food.
The hormonal changes caused by declining estrogen levels lead to decreased bone density, and while the risk of osteoporosis increases as we age, menopausal women are more prone to developing it due to lack of estrogen.
To ensure good bone health and prevent thinning and weakening of the bones, menopausal women should focus on incorporating more vitamins and minerals into their diet, especially vitamin D and calcium. Some examples of calcium-rich foods include dairy products (cheese, milk, yogurt), leafy greens (spinach, kale), vegetables such as pumpkin, broccoli, sweet potato, beans, as well as tofu, sardines, and calcium-fortified foods (fruit juice, cereals).
Preventing vitamin D deficiency can be as easy as going for a walk or spending 15 minutes in sunlight. Vitamin D is also found in foods such as egg yolks and fatty fish (mackerel, salmon, tuna).
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (fatty fish and chia, flax, and hemp seeds) and protein (meat, fish, dairy, eggs, nuts, and legumes) can also be effective in alleviating certain menopausal symptoms such as night sweats and hot flashes.
Menopause is a normal part of every woman’s life, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Stick with the tips above to cope with menopause more easily and stay healthy as you enter a new chapter of your life.