Diet can make a big impact on how a women experiences menopause. In addition to relying on natural remedies for hot flashes such as eating the right foods can help a woman sail through menopause whereas eating the wrong foods can increase menopausal symptoms. Certain foods trigger bloating, hot flashes, depression, water retention, and fatigue, and these foods include alcohol, caffeine, fatty foods, sugar, and spicy foods. Likewise, the correct foods reduce menopausal symptoms, so for a great menopause diet, eat these foods:
- Fiber. Besides being low in fat, soluble fiber contains calcium, and calcium reduces depression, nervousness, and irritability. There are a variety of soluble fiber sources, such as bran, Brussel sprouts, whole grain bread, apples, and potatoes. If you want to know more about soluble fiber sources, read Fiber is More Than a Hill of Beans.
- Fish. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty fish, and omega-3 fatty acids can help with depression, circulatory and heart problems, and cancer. Choose fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, trout, or mackerel.
- Fruit. Fruit rich in potassium can reduce bloating and water retention. Choose bananas, apricots, figs, melons, and citrus fruits rich in potassium. Fruits also contain phytogestrogens, and phytoestrogens reduce symptoms caused by lowered estrogen levels. The best phytoestrogen fruits are plums, prunes, grapes, and red raspberries.
- Juices. Women often overlook beverages as a source of menopausal problems, yet they can make or break a menopause diet. For instance, caffeine is a diuretic, and it can result in the elimination of vital and necessary nutrients, such as calcium. Soda pop also contains high levels of phosphorus and that reduces the absorption of calcium. Alcohol doesn’t help your bones either because it uses calcium in the digestive tract. So, replace caffeine, soda pop, and alcohol with juices, such as orange, grape, or grapefruit juice, because they contain phytochemicals with health-promoting properties. If you’re interested in learning more about phosphorus and it’s role in calcium absorption, read Phosphorus Foods.
- Oils. One of the most important things in any menopause diet is avoiding “bad” fats and opting for “good” fats. As mentioned, omega-3s help reduce depression, nervousness, and irritability, and cold-pressed oils also contain vitamin E, which reduces muscle cramps, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness. Select oils such as olive, canola, or flaxseed.
- Nuts and Seeds. Nuts and seeds treat a variety of menopausal symptoms. Choose Brazil nuts, linseeds, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds. Additionally, almonds are rich in boron, and boron helps the body retain estrogen longer and improves the absorption of calcium. To learn more about boron, read Osteopenia, Osteoporosis, and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
- Seaweed. Seaweed contains natural hormones that reduce a variety of menopausal symptoms. Seaweeds can also help thyroid function and prevent fatigue. Seaweed choices to include are hijiki, kelp, nori, or wakame.
- Soy Foods. Soy foods help reduce hot flashes and prevent fatigue. The best soy foods are soybeans, soy milk, and tofu; however, when choosing soy foods, you should look for soy foods that are organic and processed and fermented in a certain way. Apparently, some doctors and researchers claim many soy foods in America actually hinder rather than improve health. If you’re interested in learning more, read Soy, Is it Really Good For You?
- Vegetables. The last food that is important in any menopause diet is vegetables. Vegetables are good because they are low in fat and full of fiber. In addition, like fruit, they contain phytoestrogen, and some of the best vegetable choices for phytoestrogens are bell peppers, cabbage, peppers, tomatoes, and yams. Other phytoestrogen-rich foods that also contain calcium are broccoli and dark-green leafy vegetables, and well selecting calcium and iron-rich vegetables to help prevent fatigue choose beets and watercress.
If you’re interested in learning more about menopausal diets, here’s a website with an article titled Menopausal-Friendly Foods. There are also these two books about menopause and diet. The first is The Menopause Diet, which is written by Larrian Gillespie, who practices urology and urogynecology in Beverly Hills. The second book is The Change of Life Diet and Cookbook. It was written by Theresa Cheung, a nutrition specialist with a master’s degree from King’s College Cambridge.