We're always told that good diet and lifestyle habits are the foundations of a healthy life, and with research showing that eating well may help reduce some menopausal symptoms - there is a lot on the line. Yet with so many different diets and tips out there, it can get quite daunting.
A great place to start is by being thoughtful about what you eat and then consciously adding a few of these 5 foods to your weekly shopping lists or favorite meals:
These have the potential to reduce menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and vaginal dryness. Here are three phytoestrogen rich foods to add to your diet.
Studies of both vegetarians and those eating a plant rich Mediterranean diet show they have a lower body weight and improved blood sugar levels. The message - eat a wholefood diet that includes whole grains, seeds and nuts, legumes, vegetables, fruit and good fats such as olive oil. This diet will naturally be minimally processed, with healthy levels of meat and dairy products.
Liven up your cooking by adding culinary herbs and spices such as ginger, cumin, chilli, cardamom, coriander, garlic, fennel seeds, bay leaf, allspice, anise and turmeric. These have been shown to reduce the risk of developing metabolic syndrome which is increasingly prevalent in menopause.
Eating enough calcium containing foods is important to maintain bone mass at midlife and beyond. Foods rich in calcium include yogurt (choose those naturally sweetened with fruit or a little honey), tofu, Chinese cabbage, rhubarb, spinach, white beans, bok choy,kale, broccoli and beans (especially pinto and red beans). Also, matching your calcium intake with adequate magnesium is also important and you will find this mineral in whole grains (such as oats and rice) and vegetables.
Protein gives us energy and is needed for many body functions including growth and repair, it helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels, immune function, hormone production and fluid balance. Protein is found in meat, seafood, dairy, eggs, soy products, nuts, seeds and legumes. Aim to have some protein at each meal and also in your snacks.
Many of the B vitamins (especially vitamins B6 and B3) along with vitamin C are important for happy, healthy moods:
References available on request.