As we near the end of World Menopause month, I would be amiss if I didn’t talk about the topic of FOODS for Menopause Symptoms. What we put into our bodies and what we are leaving out of our diets. These can both have a great effect on our symptoms and how we feel during perimenopause and menopause. Hippocrates once said “Let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food”. But Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius also said “What is food for one man may be bitter poison to others”. What I am trying to really get at here is food and what we eat can help us in this journey, but everyone is different so what may work for Linda next door, may not work for you.
Let’s start with…
What is Our Trigger?
Its the worst feeling when you are out with friends, enjoying dinner, a glass of wine and you start stripping off your clothes as you are feeling a hot flash rear its ugly head.
- Spicy Foods
- Fatty Foods
These are just some of the most common food triggers out there. No one really knows exactly why they trigger these symptoms but it could be due to increased heart rate as with caffeine and spicy foods. Or maybe the impact these foods have on our liver (alcohol, sugar and fatty foods). The liver is the powerhouse of our bodies and is constantly working on detoxing and filtering hormones and the foods we eat. You can read more about the liver and how to keep it healthy in the post Warning: This May Contain hot Flashes.
So if you are struggling with reoccurring symptoms, then reducing some of these triggers may help.
Foods for Menopause Symptoms
There is a never ending list of menopause symptoms that happen when our bodies are changing hormonally. At a certain age, usually at some point in our 40’s, our ovaries slow down in the production of hormones. Now it isn’t only estrogen produced by the ovaries. Our ovaries are responsible for DHEA, testosterone, and progesterone. The androgens (DHEA and testosterone) decreasing put more pressure on our adrenal glands to pick up the slack, sorta speak. So as you can see there is a complex matrix trying to keep our bodies hormonally operational.
Eating a clean diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats would be step one. DRINK YOUR WATER!! Being dehydrated, can amplify symptoms. But let me touch on a couple key foods we should all be incorporating.
There are many plant based foods out there that can help balance our estrogen. These are called ‘phytoestrogens’. A great example of this would be the cruciferious family (broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage). These foods have a compound in them called ‘indole-3-carbinol. This compound supports the livers ability to detoxify estrogen by increasing the good estrogen and decreasing the bad. Therefore reducing some of your menopausal symptoms.
My favourite way of eating these vegetables is be grilling our sauteing them…YUM! Or you can give Christine’s Cauliflower smoothie a try from the post – Three Hormone Balancing Smoothies.
Magnesium Rich Foods
Magnesium is the mineral that we always seem to forget about. Did you know most women are magnesium deficient? We need magnesium for hundreds of different uses and reactions in our bodies. Protein synthesis for growth and repair, neurological signals throughout the body, maintaining blood pressure levels and even serotonin (the happy hormone).
Symptoms or perimenopause/menopause that may be contributed to a magnesium deficiency could be:
- Anxiety and Panic Attacks
- Heart Palpitations
- Muscle Cramping
Adding magnesium rich foods to your daily routine may involve including molasses, almonds, greens, tofu, avocadoes, brown rice, pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate. Have your tried our Power Cookie recipe. Made with molasses, chocolate and pumpkin seeds. Check three off the list!!
Being that my passion is food, I could go on and on and on. But I won’t. And I have realized over time too much information can overwhelm. And being overwhelmed, can lead to making no changes. Just remember that little changes over time can make a big difference in how we are feeling and lessen our symptoms.
If you are looking for some more reading on the subject, foods for menopause symptoms, I HIGHLY recommend the book by Dr. Christiane Northrup MD – The Wisdom of Menopause.
I will leave you with one last quote – “ROME WAS NOT BUILT IN A DAY” and our menopause symptoms will eventually subside as well.