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With so many people affected by menopause, what can be done at home to alleviate symptoms?
Thanks to a number of pioneering women, magazines, doctors, even TV shows, menopause is discussed far more openly these days. It’s encouraging to see that employers are taking it more seriously, and that new solutions for symptoms are being explored. We wanted to look at some of the foods that can help with menopause symptoms.
Menopause affects around half the population, with a variety of different symptoms. The most common being hot flushes, insomnia, sweating, anxiety, and fatigue. But that list is by no means exhaustive – The Menopause Charity has quite a list, if you’re interested…
HRT is a popular choice, but if you’re looking for something else to either support this, or offer an alternative, you can look to your diet. What you eat could help to reduce symptoms, and make menopause less taxing on your health and your body. You may not have realised, but adapting your diet to support your body going through menopause can have beneficial affects.
The Organic Pharmacy shares the five types of food that help aid menopause symptoms. Including exactly what to add to your diet.
Protein rich foods
Serotonin production will also be aided by keeping regular mealtimes
Eating enough foods that are rich in protein and the amino acid tryptophan, which helps to manufacture serotonin, which a neurotransmitter that gives your mood a boost. It also helps to regulate your appetite and sleep cycles. Protein will also keep you full for longer, making you feel more energised.
Foods that contain notable amounts of protein and tryptophan are turkey, oats, cottage cheese, and legumes. Serotonin production will also be aided by keeping regular mealtimes. It keeps your blood sugar stable and should help you feel less irritable throughout the day.
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Consuming multiple sources of calcium
It’s important for everyone to have enough calcium, but it’s particularly pressing for women to have enough calcium as they go through the menopause. This is because women are more prone to losing bone density at this time, and so having high levels of calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin E can help to build up bone strength and combat this. Having magnesium and zinc in your diet is also useful.
Foods that you can find these nutrients in are apples, grapes, dates, pears, raisins, legumes, and nuts. You can also speak to your doctor about whether you would benefit from a calcium supplement, which can assist with making sure your intake of these nutrients is adequate.
Get more phytoestrogens
You might not have heard of phytoestrogens, but they are a very important aspect of our diets. They are compounds that bind with the body’s oestrogenic receptors, increasing the overall oestrogenic effect. This is the reason that menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes occur less in populations that mainly consume a plant-based diet, as these phytoestrogens are mainly found in vegetables and fruit.
…menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes occur less in populations that mainly consume a plant-based diet
So, to increase your intake of phytoestrogens, you can eat more tofu, tempeh, and miso, as well as pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds. Celery, rhubarb, and green beans are good choices too, and can be added to lots of dishes as extras.
Incorporate omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are a good addition to anyone’s diet, but they can be particularly helpful for women suffering from menopausal symptoms, as they can help reduce hot flushes and night sweats. Omega-3 fats can also help us feel more energised, and aid with mood regulation.
So, make sure to include enough sources of them in your meals. You can use supplements such as cod liver, flax, and algae oil, but it’s good to start with your food. Include fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna, or a vegetarian source like chia and flax seed.
Focus on whole foods
It can be tempting to use processed foods as a way to make meals quick and easy. But particularly during the menopause, it’s much more helpful to consume whole foods and keep things as natural as possible. This is because whole foods such as wholegrains, home-cooked meals, vegetables, and unprocessed proteins, like good quality meat, are much better at regulating our blood sugar.
As the menopause is already a tiring time, you don’t want to combine it with the spikes and lows in blood sugar
As the menopause is already a tiring time, you don’t want to combine it with the spikes and lows in blood sugar that can come from relying on processed, sugary food. Instead, focus on wholegrains, cooking as much as possible, and eating balanced meals throughout the day.
If possible, go for brown rice, bread, and pasta over the white versions, and minimise cookies, cakes, and other sugary snacks. This will also bring the benefit of keeping you feeling full for longer, which will reduce irritability throughout the day.
Lana can usually be found spinning her collection of records, or writing odd poems in her phone notes. Her mixer of choice is a ginger beer, and you’ll never find her away from the sea for more than a few weeks.
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